Shades of Colorism

February strikes Black History Month, a time to celebrate black culture, drive black empowerment, highlight black success and salute black heroes. It began in a way of paying homage to important people and events in the history of the African Diaspora.

Black people have faced many challenges over the years and we slowly but surely triumph. However, one of the biggest issue we face in today’s society is Colorism.

Colorism, not to be confused with racism, is a form of prejudice or discrimination in favor of lighter skin tone. Racism is the reliance of ones social status based on race. Colorism is the reliance of ones social status based on skin tone only.

How has Colorism affected Black People?

Lighter skin tones are preferable in many countries and as result people who are of darker tones are usually treated unfairly in both social and professional environments. Research has shown evidence of discrimination based on skin tone in real estate, media, politics, health care and in the labour market. As a result, we tend to see lighter skin tones when we turn on our TVs, hear artists and hosts of lighter skin tones dominating the radio, and so on.

Could this be the reason why black people bleach their skins ?

Recently, Beyoncé’s father, Matthew Knowles, implied that his daughter may not have been as successful as she is today if she was darker skinned. While speaking to Ebony magazine, Mr. Knowles said that the industry favors lighter women like his daughter.

Cardi B also shared her views in an interview with VLADTV on Colorism in Strip Clubs.

“…sometimes it makes you feel like damn, you not even good enough”

Love & Hip Hop Miami star Amara La Negra had her share of colorism as seen in the series last month. The Afro-Latina Singer was told by a producer that “she needs to look a certain way… a little bit more Beyoncé, a little less Macy Gray.”

J.Cole said in an interview with BET that being light skinned helped Obama win his presidency. Do we believe this?

“That brainwashing that tells us that light skin is better, it’s subconsciously in us, whether we know it or not. But Barrack Obama would not be President if he were dark skin. You know what I mean? That’s just the truth. I might not be as successful as I am now if I was dark skin.”

“She encounters lessons that we learn as children and spend our lives unlearning. This is a story for little ones, but no matter the age I hope it serves as an inspiration for everyone to walk with joy in their own skin.”

– Lupita Nyong’o captioned on her Instagram under her post about her book-titled Sulwe- that explores the experience of a 5 year old Kenyan girl with the darkest of skin in her family.

I respect the few people who shed light on the situation and those who provide the platform for people to express their dislike for it and rally for it to die down.

But will we ever root out Colorism?

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