Monday, April 9, 2012

Colorism: A Black against Black Reality

Colorism is a problematic issue in the AA community. For so long, "light" skin has been deemed beautiful while dark skin renders someone ugly or unattractive. Sayings like "light is right" or "she's pretty.....for a dark-skinned girl" are all common amongst those of all shades of black in regards to colorism. Not only that, but many lighter skinned males AND females have a false sense of superiority that's not only birthed by society but also supported by general society as well as parents, siblings, friends etc. The more harsh treatment of darker skinned blacks than lighter skinned blacks has been evident for years and years and years. One can only wonder if it (colorism) began with slavery* when the white slave owners separated what was known as "field niggers" (darker skinned blacks) from the "house niggers" (lighter skinned blacks.) Lighter skinned blacks worked in the houses on the plantations while the darker skinned blacks worked in the fields. Although both the darker skinned blacks and lighter skins blacks were raped by slave owners producing biracial children, the lighter skinned blacks were preferred by the whites.**


*No, I'm not generalizing in regards to slavery. I'm being specific here.Yes, I know that blacks were not the only race of slaves and whites were not the only race of slave owners.

*I left a lot of specifics out because I wanted to focus on one thing. I hate to do this, but I'll assume that readers know the REAL history of slavery (not what they teach you in school) as well as the genetic history of man.

Is this just history repeating itself? Is this why we hate our dark skin? Is this why we separate ourselves from one another according to skin color? Is this why lighter skinned blacks are revered? Is this why dark skinned blacks want "mixed" babies so bad?.

Ever since I was a child, I've witnessed this "war." I'm sure a lot of us deeper brown girls have experienced the reality of colorism. I know I have. I was never bullied or anything in school because of it but as I got older, I started to really understand what this separation was all about. In my teens this war finally had a name. In my late teens this war had a face. The faces were all black; all beautiful but so insecure...so hurt....so confused...so ignorant. Now that creeping out of my mid 20's into my late 20's I understand where all this self hatred is coming from. I can see why the little dark girl wants lighter skin and will do anything to get it. Even damage the beautiful dark skin that she already has. I understand why these cosmetic companies are making so much money from products that promise to lighten skin fast. I understand why some of our darker skinned black men don't want to father darker babies so they wont date/marry/have children with girls of their own deep brown color. I understand why the mixed baby is automatically gorgeous and the darker baby is just cute......for a dark skinned baby. I understand why people are lying about their race because mixed males and females are seen as exotic and highly sought after to produce "pretty" babies. I see it now and I hate it.

How do we fix this? How can we celebrate our dark skin without being told that we are just bitter, black women with a grudge against society? How can we celebrate our dark skin when not celebrating light skin makes you a "hater"..??

I love my brown skin and I'll celebrate it no matter what. I dare you to celebrate with me. Will you?




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