11 things you can do right now to end colorism

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Yesterday I had posted several items on Facebook about colorism. At first, the discussion was great but it eventually began to go to h-e double candy sticks when the beneficiaries of colorism started saying they were victims too.  Like the lady in the Essurance commercial said, “That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.”

Instead of listening to our sisters, they made it all about themselves. Some even started accusing dark skin women of being jealous and angry. Sounds like they fell back on that old racist Sapphire stereotype. One poster, who happened to be light skin even wondered why dark skin women do not smile at her because Black women are oh so angry. Madness! As if we are obligated to do so. You see even Black people are capable of antiBlack racism aka intraracism.  Sounds familiar right? It should. Well if you know the pathology of White privilege, those are the same tactics Whites in denial use when they do not want to confront their racism and privilege. If we really want Black unity we must confront even the ugly things that divide us and that includes colorism. Here is a list of 11 things you can do to end colorism.


This crap was floating around Facebook. Most of the people who shared it were Black. But colorism isn’t real?

  1. Start acknowledging colorism exists. Here I list several studies that show that colorism is rampant within the Black community. If you don’t believe studies ask yourself why people skin bleach. It is not because of fashion. It is because light skin privilege exists and they want that privilege.
  2. When people call out colorism listen. Don’t fall back on old divide and conquer line. It is a silencing tactic. When you silence the voices decrying colorism you are doing what White people do when they say “we are all human. They do this because they do not want acknowledge White privilege exists and you are doing it because you refuse to acknowledge colorism exists. Or maybe you want it to continue because you either benefit from it or believe that “that’s just the way things are.”
  3. Stop calling colorism a preference. It is not a preference. It discrimination based on skin color. Like racism, colorism is the child of White supremacy. During the antebellum period, it divided the house slaves who were usually the off spring of the slave masters from the field slaves who were dark skin. It was later practiced well into the 20th century by Black civic, political and social organizations. Where do you think the paper bag test came from? Ask yourself do you really want to model your beliefs after racist slave owners who were brutal rapist and torturous murderers?
  4. Stop associating everything with Black with poverty, hood or ghetto. While being hood and ghetto is subjective last I checked my most poor people in the USA are White. If you seen the Pumpkin Fest riots I’d certify that was hood as hell.
  5. Admit that you are colorist and stop worshipping light skin. Ask yourself why you feel the way you do? It has taken centuries of conditioning to do this. Now that you have admitted that you have a problem you have the power to change it.
  6. Surround yourself and if you have children, your children with positive images of Black people of every hue. My sons believe, besides me, Michelle Obama is the most beautiful woman in the world. Their mother, my image, the woman who gave them life and is raising them is most beautiful. That is how it is supposed to be. Teach them that all Blackness is beautiful including their own.
  7. When someone tells someone she is “pretty for a dark skin girl” shut it down. It is insulting. If you don’t you are being complicit in promoting colorism. Stop putting caveats on Black beauty.
  8. Stop supporting colorist entertainers and media. If they have no audience they have no platform. Black Americans have over $1trillion in spending power. It is time to use it. Support artists and media that uplift Blackness. If you are not sure who is a colorist in the entertainment industry here are two lists to start with here and here.
  9. Stop sharing memes or posts that promote colorism. It hurts everyone of us. Imagine if you were one of these people being ridiculed. Now imagine if one of these people were your babies.
  10. Open a Black history book. You will see Black people of every shade improved our lives. Look around you. We are more than a racist antebellum stereotype. We are full of creators, producers and innovators. Without our ancestors you would not be here today.
  11. Finally truly believe that every shade of Black is beautiful including yours.

Read more about colorism on this site here. Let this list be the start of a well needed conversation. Feel free to add more. Remember every revolution began between two ears. Start yours today.



  1. Tia 27 October, 2014 at 14:14 Reply

    Great post again BBG! I’ve noticed the same victim crying from some light skinned Blacks, and thought the same thing. No different than when Whites attempt to deflect and maintain their privilege.

  2. Tony Williams 27 October, 2014 at 14:22 Reply

    SO am confused, is colorism something only we black men do? or do black women do it too, because an an African dark skin man. and i have had brown skin American black women , tell me i was too dark to date. And she wouldnt date An african? and i was midnight dark . and she said my skin was too ashy and she didnt want kids who would be ashy too? Are you only going to focus on black men? or we going to tell black women to not be colorist too? and why do black women get a pass. Kola boof goes on twitter and does nothing but bash, attack put down african men dark skin men and black women support her. Kinda makes it hard to listen to black women like you when black women look up to kola boof.

    • Reese 27 October, 2014 at 14:35 Reply

      No some women do it too. But it is done mostly and more extremely by black men. All you have to do is look at the videos. Black women do not do it to the same extent. Black women it is the exception and black men it is the norm.

  3. Tony Williams 27 October, 2014 at 15:22 Reply

    I dont know. I remember seeing on twitter, one of this Pro Black love women had a page where 90% of the time she was calling out black men for colorism, And then she posted one day ” America has the hottest black men ” we all know what she meant by that Light skin /mixed black men are what she was saying, they she joked about loving midnight dark men, she was being sarcastic so again. How can we black men take this seriously when black women lowkey mock my dark skin? double standard no?

  4. Tony Williams 27 October, 2014 at 15:24 Reply

    I will admitt that Black men are more vocal about it, ” oh she lightskin so she better ” or she cute for a darkgirl.

    but i think womendo it too, women do it too each other,

    go back and watch School daze. the Spike Lee movie, Lightskin girl only group, and dark skin only group. Black people love to separate blaming only black men is kinda wrong, goes all the way back to slavery house blacks, vs field blacks.

    • Lady A 28 October, 2014 at 03:52 Reply

      That’s because black men have internalized a lot of the white man’s “isms” and have for a long time, and then inflicted them on black women, because they needed something to control to match white men. Black men and white men operate with the same mentality “Beta/Alpha” male mentality. Colorism and racism are one in the same, and black men use both against black women. Black women do not do this to black men AT ALL. Not historically, not now.

      • Brian 19 January, 2015 at 02:23 Reply

        Actually, quite a few Black women will only marry light or mixed race men. I’m from South America (Caribbean coast) and it’s a realitr.

  5. Von 27 October, 2014 at 17:59 Reply

    Again, you have presented another eye-opening topic that has to be addressed. COLORISM makes black people look at their own faults when it comes to promoting their own brand of racism. The guilty ones can deflect all they want to, but the finger always points right back at the perpetrators and it’s always other black people.

  6. Ritchie Mayes 27 October, 2014 at 18:09 Reply

    The issue of colorism has pervaded black perspectives on acceptability for many years. I agree that we need to admit that we perpetuate stereotypes based on hue. Some do not like to admit it, this ongoing problem has been studied and research by white academia. Now we face a behavioral problem that has foundations is observed behavior. Yes! Many do imitate observed behavior. That behavior can become detrimental to understanding motivating factors, which influence positive self-efficacy in emotional and psychological growth. White supremacy does play a role in attitude orientation on acceptance of differences based on societal definitions of acceptability. William Cross Jr.s’ 5 stage model of African American Identity Development goes a long way in helping individuals move through the different stages of identity development. It is not enough to say that “I know what it is to be black.” Individuals need to understand how they develop along an axis of ethnicity recognition.

    Ritchie Mayes MS., AE.

  7. Yvonne Jackson 27 October, 2014 at 18:09 Reply

    If you are looking at colorism as a offspring of white supremacy and white supremacy enforces a patriarchal system, then yes men both blk and white men use colorism as a means to oppress, objectify and shame black women…it just is. Please let’s not water this down with that #notallmen tag. We we know.

  8. Lynne 27 October, 2014 at 19:03 Reply

    How do you suggest light-skinned women join the conversation? Because in my experience, we are not allowed to have any say in any way, whatsoever, without someone saying ‘you’re light, so you need to be quiet and sit down with your privilege.’ This conversation needs to be happening in both directions. Light-skinned blacks are still black, and still experience plenty of racism, from both sides, while admittedly having privilege.

    • robynaware 28 October, 2014 at 00:54 Reply

      I don’t agree with you Lynne that that’s the message. I think the message is listen and accept there is light skin privilege! When light skin women are told to ‘sit down’ it’s because they are outright denying the obvious issue of colorism and some of us, of all hues, are angry about this. It is really hurtful and some of you need to stop playing the victim in this. It’s like comparing the black backlash against white racism to actual white racism instead. Sorry, as a light skin woman you do not experience ‘plenty of racism’ from the black side!

    • The Alchemist 29 October, 2014 at 13:58 Reply

      A lighter skinned black woman can experience interpersonal prejudice from other black people, however, it isn’t systemic the way anti-black colorism is against darker skinned black women. The failure of some lighter skinned black women to understand that what they experience is very real but not the same as the systemic colorism dark skinned women face has created this, “shut up with your light skinned privilege”, mind set in some darker skinned people.

      • Lynne 29 October, 2014 at 16:24 Reply

        There should be no comparison between what two people experience. Growing up, my aunt owned an african art store with images of all shades of black people and black families. I grew up around mostly white people, with the exception of my very large multi-hued family. There were only 8 black people in my graduating class of about 375 in high school. The 8 of us ranged in the spectrum from light to deep dark chocolate. The commonality in this situation, was we were all the black kids, together. That’s my point of reference.

        Colorism is perhaps more easily noticed in large groups of blacks, which I was not familiar with until I reached college. I received a rejection of sorts when I attempted to reach out and be friendly with darker black women. They were not having it. I did not understand where it was coming from, because I was raised under an umbrella of unity. This attitude does not advance the cause of all of us getting together to address the very real, ugly issue of colorism.

        I do understand that being light has advantages, and agree that colorism is a very real systemic issue in our community.
        Which is why I asked how we, light skinned women can be involved in the conversation. And notice the responses to my original question are still implying that I am somehow not willing to give up my privilege, or not admit that colorism exists.

        Still waiting for someone to answer my question…

  9. Lady A 28 October, 2014 at 03:43 Reply

    I’ve noticed how light skin women down right deny their benefits and participation in colorism.

    It’s because of two things:

    1. They want to protect their pedestal and privilege as well and maintain their “angelic” image, meaning the clean, pretty, good image.

    2. They don’t want to be outed as someone who benefits from a form of oppression that destroys another group.

    Dark skin men do this equally if not more. Because one, they’re black men and two…well they’re black men. Dark skin men like latching onto the stereotypes of being the most desired, sexual bulls, and masculine(which is dehumanizing). They feel it’s a slap in the white man’s face using their sexuality to get his women and all women. And plus it strokes their egos and magnifies their narcissism.

    Light skin women don’t want to have dark women to gain any type of ground on them and their pedestal. How do they shout “We’re all black” but won’t share the spotlight? They want to sit on their pedestal comfortably and watch the men drool and put down dark skin women over them.

    I’m sure you all have social media, correct? I never see light skin women (Latina, black, biracial, whatever) take up for dark skin girls when dark skin men and social media post some of the most foul stuff about dark skin women.

    They mainly under the pictures laughing and cosigning until someone says something about them. Then it’s “All my life I hads to fight cause I’m light skin, and da dark black gurls be hatin on me”.

    What’s scary is seeing dark skin women tell dark skin girls talking about their hardships of discrimination to “Shut up”. They do because of fear of being seen as inferior “Even more”. They’re so embarrassed it’s like “Geesh we’re already at the bottom don’t make it worse by making us seem weak and have people pity us.”

    Did you all see the response to dark girls opposed to “Dear white people” by black people?. Black people loved Dear white people because it addresses the white man’s racism, but hated “Dark Girls” because it addressed the black man’s intra-racism and colorism. Black people got so offended by the addressing of colorism in the “Dark girls” documentary because it’s airing our dirty laundry. Laundry dark skin men and light skin women wear all the time. It also proves that we give not one eff about black women’s issues.

    Colorism is nothing more than racism’s offspring. Black people and their intra-racism towards black women needs to be publicly addressed. If we can get mad about racism we can get mad at it’s children colorism/intra-racism.

    • Nia 30 October, 2014 at 00:18 Reply

      “Light skin women don’t want to have dark women to gain any type of ground on them and their pedestal. How do they shout “We’re all black” but won’t share the spotlight? They want to sit on their pedestal comfortably and watch the men drool and put down dark skin women over them.”

      Are you serious? This is very ignorant perception of light skinned Black women. It’s an assumption on your part because I have a family FULL of light skinned Black women and this is none of our sentiment. Our existence is based around what Black men think of us. Gaining ground? How many light skinned Black women have said these words to you or is this just something you’re assuming? I’m willing to bet top dollar it’s the latter.

      Is this about healing or just spewing your assumptions about light skinned Black women knowing we’ll be silenced in the conversation. Sisterhood will ALWAYS trump some dude who is objectifying you because they’re conditioning’s been conditioned.

      That thought process is counterproductive.

  10. MixedUpInVegas 28 October, 2014 at 19:12 Reply

    If we don’t involve all hues of Black people in the issue and discussion, there will never be a solution to the problem. Telling light-skinned Blacks of either gender to shut up will not contribute to resolution of the matter. Light-skinned Blacks need to quit whining about their comparative abuse. A united effort is needed to change attitudes.

  11. Shay 29 October, 2014 at 19:12 Reply

    In my opinion light skin women and other women who are not dark skin can aid in support of their dark sisters by speaking up when someone says something disrespectful about dark skin women in person or on social media. The act of speaking out and standing up against these stereotypes is a start. There is no shame associated with insulting a dark skin woman, and that is what needs to change.

  12. Nia 29 October, 2014 at 19:21 Reply

    “It is because light skin privilege exists and they want that privilege.”

    No. Really, we don’t. It’s nothing worth having believe me.

    Light skinned privilege does not make us exempt from racism or sexism. Nor does it mean we can’t/don’t empathize with our darker skinned sisters and brothers. All people of color should be included in the conversations and all of our experiences should be considered. I’m absolutely happy we’re having conversations about colorism. I hope it leads up to healing. To imply that light skinned Blacks have only gained and never any struggles because of colorism just isn’t fair or true.

    Many people derail the meaningful conversations to a light skinned comeuppance drag fest. That’s not “playing the victim” that’s just the truth. I’ve been silenced out of the conversation when blatant untruths and false perceptions were told. Light skinned privilege isn’t some shield from society. I still experience racism on a grand scale everyday. People who were snaking me out of jobs and creating drama could care less about a paper bag tests. We’ve had our fair share of trauma but it’s not about playing Mr. Me Too and it’s not “whining.” It’s speaking our truths too.

    Having said that, it pains me to see the dumb shit people say about dark skinned Black people especially women. I use my light skinned privilege to go in on anyone who tries it in my presence. I’d like for people to realize that the general perception of light skinned Black people is false but there’s no way of knowing if we’re silenced. We’re allies. It’s more productive to fight the system than individuals.

  13. CG 3 November, 2014 at 13:21 Reply

    I commented several times on the previous post about 30 Light Skin privileges. I wonder what BBG is referring to when she says that light-skinned women who commented started accusing dark-skinned women of being jealous and angry and of not smiling at them. I re-read all of the comments and did not see the latter stated anywhere. In my own posts, I mentioned how white people expect me to smile all the time. Maybe that was misinterpreted? I also stated that I have dealt with anger and resentment from darker-skinned women. I did not say that they were jealous. I was referring to–and I think I stated this fairly clearly–my difficulties finding acceptance among by black women because colorism has created such a hurtful dynamic (e.g., the comments on this very thread and on the prior posts).

    It is interesting that BBG did not choose to point out any of the comments I made that were supportive of her original points. I clearly and unequivocally stated that colorism was real and supported by research evidence. I also reiterated my solidarity with all black women and acknowledged that I have benefited from privilege. The tone of this post suggests that BBG is motivated to support a perception of light-skinned women as unmitigated supporters of colorism. So be it, but I find it difficult to see how my posts could have been read that way.

    I’m probably older than everyone on this thread, given that I had no idea what people say about light or dark girls on social media. As a result of reading these comments, I did a search on Twitter for relevant hashtags, and I was stunned by what I saw. There is actually a hashtag for light-skinned girls that supports everything the posters here have been saying. There are black men and light-skinned women out there on Twitter engaging in all kinds of celebration of light skin. That was a real eye-opener. I don’t know how representative these people are of black folks in general. I have noticed recently that the “redbone,” light skin terminology has made a comeback in hip hop, which really bothers me.It’s as if colorism within the community is simply growing stronger.

    I now have a better understanding of the contexts of these posts. If you are a dark-skinned woman and you are angry and resentful, you damned well have a right to be. If you are a light-skinned woman and you are not angry and resentful about this, you should be. It doesn’t make us stereotypes. It’s simply human.

    So I will back off defending myself and say, “I get it.” I get why this would hurt. You are right. I don’t have to deal with that level of nastiness and pain. My light skin has protected me. But please keep in mind that many black women of lighter hue support you and believe that you are beautiful. When I see you, I see myself.

    I hope that is clear enough and that nothing I have said herein will be interpreted as a defense of my privilege or an attack on other black women.

  14. pookie 7 November, 2014 at 22:22 Reply

    Great article, but it’s light/dark SKINNED not “lightdark skin” there should be an -NED at the end.

    There is a difference between “you have light skin” and “you are light skinned”.

    Sorry, but this urks me soo much!

  15. Shay Ren 1 December, 2014 at 21:36 Reply

    I don’t like discuss my skin tone, but as a black woman I would rather be darker. Darker skin looks and feels smoother and small blemishes and acne scars do not show as much.
    I find it disheartening to see that we can’t get over this. I have friends who avoid the sun in the summer time because they don’t want to get darker.
    I hate it when friends of mine tell me men think I look cuter because I have a golden complexion. If a man only finds me beautiful because of my skin tone I am instantly not interested. I become brokenhearted when my darker toned friends tell me they see themselves as ugly, my own mother feels this way about herself. I do my best to tell my friends how beautiful they are but sometimes it goes in one ear and out they other.
    I live in Iowa where it is mostly white and you know how they see me? A black woman, not a “light-skinned” woman but just a black woman. We all look the same in their eyes so what is the point of colorism within our own race. I have faced racism more times than I can count. I am seen as a threat to some of them and they try their best to tear me down but I have thick skin and I choose not to let it get to me as much. I am the mother of a caramel brown daughter and I make it a must to tell my daughter every day that she is beautiful and I always will.

  16. i love the rain 24 December, 2014 at 05:28 Reply

    Thank you for opening this discussion.

    While it has already been talked to death as far as I am concered, there is clearly a far ways to go.

    I am also tired of hearing black men make excuses for why they can’t just marry a nice black woman and be done with it, continuing and continuing to insist on dragging all these poor little mixed kids into the equation

    Seriously. It IS on them, and I really do not care what anyone says.

    Look at the Obmas is right.

    I don’t have time to pour over every article and comment and rebuttal in this “thread” – I have already spent countless other hours on other articles and web content related to the same issue –

    SO – I don’t know that I will be reading anything new.

    I feel I have heard every side of everyone’s argument.


    Black folk; stop crying and carrying on. It’s embarrassing.


    Make the black race one that is to be regarded with pride and respect just like numerous other cultures, MAKE IT SOMEWHERE PEOPLE WANT TO BE!! ie: Jewish people, Chinese people, some of the Europeans.



    YES, I am a “redbone”, or “Bi-racial” person, since it matters so much and if you must know.(which of course you want to know), who really doesn’t want to be guilted everyday for so much as riding a bike (“oh, she’s trying to be white!”), and really didn’t ask to come here to listen to that, or be the ONE’S EXPECTED TO FIX THESE ISSUES –

    DON”T YOU THINK WE MAY FEEL “:USED” ? Do you know anyone who LIKES that feeling? SURE, of course, not in ALL cases. However – do you know, again, as I asked, anyone who LIKES that feeling?

    Please Black people. do what I said and try to move forward!! There will be less people hurt in the cross fire for no reason.

    Thank you.

  17. i love the rain 24 December, 2014 at 06:19 Reply


    Stop making music and videos about whores, pimping and drugs and guns if this is not how you want your culture protayed on the world stage.

    Obviously, as a woman, I take offence to being called a “ho”, etc.. But, regardless.

    It’s just called…(Hello?).

    THe Jeswish, nor Chinese, nor any other culture (WHO< KEEP IN MIND _ WHERE ALSO PERSECUTED by white people at one or SOME point. Without getting into the disparity degrees, or comparisons or competitions as to who had it worse) , they don't even MAKE videos or music.

    THEY DON"T NEED TO BE FLASHY, they JUST DO THEIR THING,in construction, electronics, or whatev
    er it may be ( and yes, maybe by prostitution, drugs, or whatever else – but they don't NEWS FLASH IT then COMPLAIN that people think that is how they all are .. to again, put it maybe mildly, but in the interest of expediency, and not wasting time splitting hairs here which would TAKING AWAY FROM MY POINT –

    I ALREADY TOLD YOU , something will be found to "pick on", but just IGNORE IT and become SELF SUFFICIENT. START BUSINESSES. SUPPORT EACH OTHER, count your money, if THAT is what you want; and keep it moving!

    Just like "them".



    The other cultures usually keep DEEP TIES to their mother countries.


    READ IT three times, if you need to. Five times. Just get it.

    But Black men: YOU ARE THE EXAMPLE. 2014 or not, feminism or not, independent, equality, or not – the fact remains the same; that you are supposed to be the ‘head’ o;f the family; there shouldn’t be so much single parent-ness, or grandmothers raising children. Without getting into arguments about the pros and cons of that; or any other side-tracked arguments. It just shouldn’t be. Or should be less of what you hear.

    Come on now guys. Re- read all again before you start accusing me of perpetuating anything.
    I have a mixed male friend – he makes me laugh. I just observed him pull a bait and switch. y accident or on purpose – BUT – the point is: he paid his dues”, with “them” as a young person – and set himself up in a position where he does not automatically, blindly , go along now with any or every thing “they” say. He has his own business, it is on his terms; when people around him try to talk about Santa – do you know what he does? He posts a black Santa on Face book.

    Sure, old friends be like ? – but he says “THAT”S WHAT MY DAD TOLD ME”. Topic closed.

    Get insidious if you have to. Just like “them”, and just like my mixed friend there.

    There are ENOUGH RESOURCES NOW – IF YOU HAVE PAID YOUR DUES (just like every other culture) _ THEN GET OOOOOUT” now, and take back your pride. Have a Black Santa. Stop hurting kids, etc. Let them be one thing or the other.

    Follow what I’m saying now?

    I hope so.

  18. Kyla 5 January, 2015 at 20:59 Reply

    I never understood what was so great about being light skinned. I’ve always wanted to be darker. So people could stop telling me that I wasn’t black enough. Then I moved to Austin where most of the black kids here are mixed and I was told I was too black. I don’t care if I have light or dark skin. Why can’t I just be black.

  19. Deborah 23 January, 2015 at 20:22 Reply

    Colorism is larger than a celebration of light skin versus dark skin. It is about playing to the celebration of how color can separate all of us. It happens on both ends of the spectrum. We need to stop saying one is better than the other – both dark or light. We can’t lean to one site to over correct the other, it just reverses the trend – it heals nothing.
    To fully heal you have to first investigate how as a collective whole we are all complicit in its existence. Everybody in this collective African American community have something to atone to.
    No one is the greater victim or benefactor. Not really.
    Celebrate al of the hues. Don’t put one up on a pedestal over another.

  20. TY 2 March, 2015 at 18:11 Reply

    Hate to break you lady’s hearts but, a truly gorgeous woman is not trying to compete with you. Gorgeous women that are really sweet, kind, smart and intelligent generally get treated than woman who are less attractive. Notice I said “really sweet.” Society values kind pretty ladies. Biracial and fair black women draw a lot of attention because the pretty ones have beauty that exceeds both their parents (that is pertaining to the lucky ones I guess you could say). No amount of chanting “we are all beautiful” will change rather or not you truly are in the eyes of the majority. What is more important is to focus on those other qualities, those that attract marriage partners and lead to building good business networks, such as: gentleness, kindness, thoughtfulness, patients, being slow to anger and quick to forgive, crying at sad movies, laughing at your man’s silly jokes, etc…

  21. david 2 December, 2015 at 17:11 Reply

    this is good info to tell are youth and future gens but you should add less personal thoughts and make it more broad with more facts and actual ways to stop colorism instead of ways to cause more violence and create an uproar in modern society

  22. Carole Dearmon 24 July, 2016 at 15:10 Reply

    I guess I qualify as light skin; my color is caramel but my family members’ have white skin. I grew up in a black community, and my family was always subjected to over zealous scrutiny. Nasty remarks, hair pulling and fights. When I began to understand the dynamics of colorism (darks isolating lights and badly mistreating them when they get the chance, I have concluded that colorism is here to stay. No rational person will put up with the stuff my family experienced.

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