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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.