We’re Cancelling Colorism in 2018

Some things should be left where they are, some ideas should just remain dead. In order to maintain our sanity, there are aspects of our lives that we must let go of to free ourselves. You must understand that the Black experience is very diverse, yet we still go through the same things; that’s one of many things that makes Blackness so versatile. A huge hindrance to our growth is the colorism.

History is doomed to repeat itself if people are ignorant of their past. Back in the day, plantation owners would try to separate slaves. To accomplish this they would make them hate each other-and ultimately themselves. The number one threat to White people is Black unity.

Are You Light Enough To Pass The Test?

The Brown Paper Bag test was made to use as discrimination. If the slave was lighter than a brown paper bag, they were held as a “house nigger.” They were told that they were better because they resembled the white men more than the darker slaves. Today, we still see these color struggles amongst ourselves. We hear idiotic phrases such as “light-skinned people do it better.” This is repulsive. I am a light-skinned-yellow-toned woman and it has never crossed my mind that light-skinned people are better. My Dad, sister, and little brother are brown. Thinking that the lighter the skin, the better and prettier you are is illogical and absolutely incorrect. We have internalized the idea that the closer you are to paleness the better you are.

Anti-Black Is Global

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Colorism is also seen in other cultures. Indians are as dark as Black people yet they don’t like being compared to us. Anti-Blackness is global, in India there are commercials promoting skin-bleaching products. Celebrities are photo-shopped to look paler in the media, and many Indian women are pressured to be lighter. Why is this a thing?  It’s because people deem Black as ugly. The notion is: the darker you are, the uglier and more masculine you are.

A prefect example of this is Serena Williams, one of the greatest athletes in history, spent her whole career defying odds, shattering records, and being an inspiration to young Black girls. She has also spent most of her career being bullied and taunted by people telling her she’s a man, a gorilla, or that she was ugly. Who are the culprits? White people and Black men. Surprise, surprise! Look at all of the how-did-we-lose-a-Black-woman-like-Serena tweets when Williams announced her engagement to a White man. These are the same men that called her ugly during her ENTIRE career.

The Black community also shares this messed up anti Blackness state of mind that darker skin equals masculinity. Hypermasculinity, the idea of what is appropriate behavior for men. Is forced on dark men more often than it is on lighter men. Lighter men are seen to be too “sensitive”, weak, or thought of as being feminine. This steals the inherent manhood of these men. This is ignorant and continues the cycle of bashing Black men. Light-skinned people are told to “shut up” on Black matters because we are not seen as “Black enough.” We sometimes have our Blackness revoked from us because we are lighter.

Blackness Today

Today, Blackness is trending Black men and women are being fetishized. We can speak and praise those individuals with darker skin because their melanin is poppin’, but this wasn’t always the case.

I graduated high school in 2014, and back then, it wasn’t cute or sexy to be dark-skinned. Your melanin wasn’t popping and you weren’t allowed to flex in your complexion. As a dark skinned person, you were ridiculed and taught that you are ugly. These same people have a lot of psychological damage because they were tormented for decades. I remember girls being made fun of in 3rd grade for being “burnt” and “nappy-headed.” These are the same women that people are fetishizing today. I love this sudden praise of darkness, and I hope it never stops. Dark-skinned people are more of a target to police and face heavy ridicule. People bash Lil’ Kim for bleaching her skin but don’t bash the society that made her feel the need to!

This is not to say that light-skinned people don’t face grievances in the Black community, but it is a known fact the dark people get treated the absolute worst. I have never known what it’s like to be deemed ugly because I am dark, and I’ve never been bullied because of it. It is this fact that makes me fight against colorism on a DAILY basis.

Black is Beautiful, We Are Beautiful

All Black people are stunning; we are all beautiful. There is inherent beauty in Blackness. People that are dark with blue undertones leave me in awe. Light-skinned people are just as beautiful. There is beauty in the millions of complexions and undertones of Black people. I may not know what it’s like to be called ugly because I am dark-skinned, but I do know what it’s like to be considered ugly because I am Black with 3c/4a type hair.

Black people are picked apart every day by everyone else who secretly wants to be us. People get plastic surgery done to their hips, lips, butts, etc to look just like Black women, and they are praised more than we are. Other people hate on us enough, so why must we do it to ourselves? We must love one another, uplift one another, and protect one another. At the end of the day, whether you’re light-skinned, dark-skinned, or anything in-between, you are still BLACK. As DeRay McKesson always says, “I love my Blackness. And yours.

 

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Raquel White

Raquel White is a student at Grand Valley State University majoring in Criminal Justice and African American Studies. She is a womanist and loves the Black community.

Raquel White

Raquel White is a student at Grand Valley State University majoring in Criminal Justice and African American Studies. She is a womanist and loves the Black community.