Allow me to introduce you to colorism, racism’s fucked-up cousin
A whole other ‘ism’ to worry about
As if we didn’t have enough problems with tax cuts, hair-touching, and student loans. Throw in the idiotic belief that one POC’s skin shade is prettier, nicer and superior to others, and what a world we've got. It's called colorism, and it sucks.
Colorism isn't a new concept, and in actuality, it's not even a real word — your computer will try to autocorrect it for you. It sure as hell gets little to no coverage, and many people of color don't want to address the issue at all. But I will.
If racism and colorism sound the same to you, it's because they're part of the same horrible family.
Racism is defined as prejudiced attitudes and/or discriminatory acts against people based on their actual or perceived racial status, while colorism is based on the color (shade or tone) of their skin.
In other words, I may be dark-skinned and my sister is lighter skinned, but we're both African-American. Lemme break it down for you like this:
Growing up, my sister and I were always jealous of each other. Not because of your everyday "she's older, so she has more freedom" blah blah blah, but because she loved and envied my darker complexion and I believed myself to be ugly because I didn't have her lighter complexion.
And despite going to a school filled with students of all different shades, that didn't mean shit, for I was constantly reminded of how dark I was.
You may see more about racism than you do colorism, but the idea of colorism has been very well embedded into the cracks of racism.
As humans, we're visual beings and continuously believe in the "like belongs with like" theory, which not only confirms why racism is still very alive and well, but also why its shitty cousin colorism is thriving.
Back in the (more) racist days, colorism showed its ass at many historically Black college parties and within its Greek life system.
Admittance into these parties or frats and sororities required a black person or a person of color to pass what's called "the brown paper bag test." In other words, you'd only be admitted into said party if your skin color was the same or lighter than a brown paper bag. Even worse, black fraternities and sororities would specifically pick out the lighter students to get a seat at their table. Pretty fucked up, I know. I definitely wouldn't have gotten in.
Despite being a person of color, there are certain benefits to being the more socially acceptable "light-skinned" person in America. I only say this because according to the color wheel, lighter-skinned P.O.C are technically closer in color to white people. Hence why every makeup brand has pretty much catered their darkest shade to lighter skinned P.O.C. Once again, thank you Fenty Foundation.
Dating isn't any less shallow either. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the "you're cute for a dark-skinned girl." First of all, fuck you to anyone who's a culprit of this because at the end of the day, we're all in the same boat. Or should I say, the same cargo ship. Yeah, I had to go there.
I was already insecure about whether or not the cute white guy in my local coffee shop was even interested in dating a black girl, but now I have to worry about not being "light-skinned" enough.
To make matters worse, women of color have been using skin bleaching products as a means of achieving a lighter complexion. One celebrity in particular who's been under fire for this is Nicki Minaj:
Celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim have probably felt pressured to bleach their skin to appeal to the (white) American market. They are rappers, after all.
The constant back and forth between who qualifies as #teamlightskinned and #teamdarkskinned amongst people color is even more bothersome because it's really just a modern-day take of who's #FieldSlave and who's #HouseSlave. Are we really going to keep this up? You don't see white people repping #TeamTan or #TeamPaleAsFuck. So let's cut it out altogether, shall we?
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