Racism is more than just black and white. Colorism is the discrimination against someone with a dark skin tone, most often within the same racial group. In my own experience, colorism is far too common in the black community.
Society tends to favor African Americans who have lighter skin, for no other reason than the fact that they appear somehow “less black.” Why do you think we rarely see dark-skinned men and women in movies and TV shows, let alone playing lead roles? Why do you think so many of the people who claim they are attracted to African Americans seem to only like the lighter ones? It is not because they are smarter, or more attractive or better in any way for that matter. It is because they are light skinned and deemed more acceptable by society.
The world has been brainwashed into falsely believing that lighter is better. “Yeah, they’re black, but they’re not really black.”
Except ... we are.
The saddest thing about colorism is the fact that colored people are the biggest perpetrators. We fail every time that we choose to ignore colorism.
I am guilty of this myself. I am a light-skinned, mixed-race black woman. Up until a little over a year ago, I ignored the fact that colorism existed. I ignored the many times people used “light skin” or “mixed” as a compliment toward me. Ignored the times people would compare me to darker girls. I completely failed to understand how this fetishizing of light-skinned black people would affect the self-esteem of those darker than me.
Just because we think it doesn’t affect us — when in reality it really benefits us — doesn’t mean that we can just ignore it. Ignoring colorism means that you are OK with being a fetish, with letting people talk down on dark-skinned people in order to lift you up. Being a light-skinned black person who ignores colorism is selfish and wrong. How can we claim to be against racism but perpetrate a different form of it within our own community?
It is important for us to all understand our worth and know that we are more than jusr a shade of brown. We have to stop letting people feed us this messed up idea that you aren’t valuable unless you’re light.
We have to push the entire black community to stop embracing colorism. We have to end the rhetoric that light skinned is better, and that “dark” means “ugly.”