This post is a list of light skin privileges I created a few years ago. Because of the recent discussions on colorism in our media I feel they are very relevant today. Some may disagree and I expect that however it doesn’t make light skin privilege any less real. FYI, this post doesn’t come from a place of hurt or jealousy that I have been accused of. It comes from my own observations and studies I citied in the original post. Click here for the original post which includes studies proving the existence of light skin privilege. If colorism is the child of White supremacy then light skin privilege is its grand child. During the antebellum period, colorism was used to divide 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. If you look at Black media, read studies and listened to our friends and family you can still see it alive and well today. Here is a list of 30 light skin privileges:
- Having the ability to deny or not acknowledge that colorism exists.
- Be recognized as a symbol of post racism.
- It is assumed that you are race neutral when issues of race are raised.
- Being standard of beauty in the Black and Latino community.
- Being called Black based on the antebellum era one drop rule.
- Being racially ambiguous.
- People automatically assuming you are mixed and it is seen as a positive attribute.
- It is automatically assumed that you are more intelligent than the darker members of your racial group.
- Not being seen as angry unlike the darker members of your racial group.
- Being considered less threatening by the Eurocentric mainstream based on the color of your skin.
- People not making the assumption that you grew up poor unlike your dark skin counterparts.
- Being allowed to recognize the variety of your racial/ethnic heritage without ridicule.
- Within African American culture being called a “redbone” is regarded as a compliment while being called “darkskin” is considered derogatory.
- Having someone tell you that your light skin is better than dark skin.
- Can color, dye, relax, or weave your hair without it being seen as an act of self-hate.
- The assumption that your relaxed hair and chemically processed curls are your natural texture.
- Not being told that, “You are pretty for a dark skin girl.”
- Your skin color being valued by some who purposely wants to erase their ethnicity and hates their own skin color.
- Taking advantage of skin color privilege depending upon the situation. For example, applying for scholarships for African Americans and Latinos and later passing for other than a minority.
- You have a better chance of landing a job than a darker person with the same credentials.
- You have better opportunities for education and jobs prospects.
- Because of your light skin your relatives may of have had access to Black sororities, fraternities, and other organizations that promoted intraracism.
- Your images are reflected in all forms of the Black and Latino owned media.
- People who look like you rarely portray the stereotypical maid, downtrodden, Sapphire, and dysfunctional Black women roles on television.
- You always play the Black and Latino wife on television.
- Being able to be biracial, multiracial, or light skin and still play a Black, Asian, Latino and White person on television when people of a darker hue cannot.
- Not having people in entertainment making songs or comments disrespecting your skin color.
- If you are light skin Latino you don’t have to prove it.
- If you are a light skin Latino it is automatically assumed that you speak Spanish.
- You or your family have much more likely have immigrated to America leaving your darker skin counterparts behind.
If we really care about Black unity we will focus on the topics that divide us and yes, colorism is one of them. If you ignore colorism you are a colorist. If you say it doesn’t exist regardless of the evidence you are a colorist. If you support people who promote colorism you are a colorist. If you see it happening and do nothing to stop it, you are a colorist. If you are silent about it you are complicit and you are a colorist. There is no room for negotiation or compromise. There is no middle ground. This is a great evil the must end. Read the countless studies on colorism here. Now you are wondering what we can do to end colorism. Take a look at 11 things you can do right now to end colorism.
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