Colourism

Colourism is a hot topic in social circles these days, with plenty of ‘celebrities’ landing themselves in hot water because of their negative opinions on darker skinned people. Through the historical searches of social media platforms, these ‘celebrities’ have been found out to have said derogatory things about dark skinned people, specifically darker skinned women, and now they’re being chastised for it. Colourism is a more specified type of racism or discrimination, similar to dropping a radar guided missile as opposed to a normal one, as it’s discrimination or prejudice specifically against dark skinned people which typically comes from members of the same ethnicity or race. This is a phenomenon which has been going on for centuries, and even though there may be some historical or even scientific context explaining the reasons why, I would like to focus on the contemporary uses of colourism by members of the black community. There have been apologies, separations and some very red/embarrassed light brown faces due to their comments about dark skinned people.  I believe when you are younger, comments like these can be sworn off to immaturity, lack of empathy, misunderstanding and personal insecurity ( because a lot of what we say about others speaks loudly about what we think of ourselves). This should change when we get older as we learn to consider the feelings of others, understand racism and feel more confident about ourselves (because often when we feel better about ourselves we treat others with dignity and respect).

Yes, we have a seemingly uninformed and childish minority of black people who continue this concept of colourism as they age, however as someone who is dark skinned myself I can say that it isn’t the minority. Not only from my personal experience but also from research, friends, family and strangers, I have witnessed colourism throughout my life from nearly every light skinned black person I’ve met and plenty of dark skinned black people too. It’s not just ‘celebrities’ who do this, but everyone has been doing, it and as long as you can find someone who is darker than you, you are no longer the most vulnerable target, because society puts such a heavy emphasis on that which are obvious human features. Black people seem to have widespread feelings of self worth and even self hatred which manifests itself in gaining acceptance from white people to the detriment of our own, disowning our own or trying to make ourselves look better than other black people. This translates to our obsession with material things (cars, clothes & jewellery), bleaching of skin, plastic surgery to make us seem feel more attractive and a fixation on racial disparity. Self hate amongst black people is rampant and colourism is just another tool for the black self hate toolbox to deal with.

Black women seem to have the biggest issue with this, as a lot of colourism is targeted towards females who have are generally inclined to consider appearance as a higher valued trait than men. This is evident in consumer society when we look at fashion, advertising and the ‘beauty’  industry. Therefore black women have become the obvious targets for the colourism propaganda storm because being  too black is deemed as ‘unattractive’ in nearly every culture including European, Asian, American, Oriental and African. Black women therefore seem to the bear the brunt of the black bashing, but really, an attack on black women for being black is an attack on everybody who is black. Unless, you’re one of those who creates a divisive shade spectrum in the mind placing yourself with others underneath you helping to separate you from the constant reminder that the world thinks you’re ugly. I know this seems unfair but we have multi-billion dollar industries encouraging identity inferiority and it’s not their fault. Don’t blame the magazines for not having enough dark skinned models and don’t expect pop/hip hop culture to incorporate dark skinned women into their productions. Skin whitening creams will still sell and advertisers will never pander to dark skinned audiences because it doesn’t make sense. The sociological framework we all play a part in fuelling is built on consumerism and dark skin doesn’t sell. I think, in trying to incorporate it looks forced, desperate, and tokenish, which is difficult to accept but necessary for the fear and self loathing to stop. Colourism is an issue specifically conjured for people of colour and now has become weaponised for the purposes of temporary self gratification. People of colour give it power due to the constant resurfacing of the concept as an issue. The more you care about something, the more that something is legitimised as real issue, but it’s not. Poverty is. Classism is. Opportunities for young people is. Violence is. Education is. Happiness is. Advancement of technology is and future use is. Global warming is. Politics is. Colourism is where you should spend a small amount of time.

What I find most interesting is the focus on dark skinned being shunned. Society’s moralistic values are changing rapidly, and in many places not for the betterment of the human race. Your skin colour will have some influence on the life you have but it’s not entirely deterministic. The choices you make as an individual are a better measure to how you end up.  This is why we have white people who also feel they’re ugly, dark skinned black people who do feel they’re beautiful and many variances in between. The world may deem dark as ugly, but there’s a lot of stupid people in the world and there are so many other characteristics that a person can be identified by which will give a better understanding of who that person really is, and these are the traits that women should also focus on. I’m not saying don’t strive to be pretty in society’s eyes but compliment it, put just as much effort into your intelligence as your physical appearance. If people aren’t attracted to your because of the shade of your skin, then that should show you how shallow that person is. If you are still attracted to someone who has hatred to others because of their skin then you must have issues yourself. Ambitious, sense of humour, kindness, conscientious, height, religion, intelligence, health, job, money, prudence, hobbies, attentive, risk taking, mind expanding, chilled, animals, sports, television, music choice, concerts, travelling, conversation, learning, discussion, confidence, anxious, depression, anger, calmness, problem solver, joyful, sadness, fashion sense, family, love of animals, do they want pets, vegetarian, smoker, curiosity, earnest, drug taker, drinker, controlling, passive, weak, strong minded, fair, careless, dopey, playful and the list can go on. These are things you should consider when picking a potential partner or even a friend. Skin colour can be considered as everybody is allowed a preference,  just as much as eye colour, height and body fat levels. Don’t feed the colourism consumer machine and make choices based on individual preferences as opposed to what society wants. All women should be sparring with their time and only give it to those who reciprocate positivity. If the men you’re around don’t want to date you because of your skin colour then they’re probably not the best person for you anyway. Why waste time trying to change people who don’t care about changing themselves. There are plenty of people out there of all races and skin tones who will desire you, and the human journey is all about finding those people and not expecting the person next door to accept you because you look the same. All brains are grey, that should be the focus.