There are plenty of ways to fight colorism in our everyday lives, and technology is obviously one of my favorite.
Technology, when available, is a great tool for fighting colorism because it engages your creativity, promotes media literacy, and connects you to people and information around the globe.
Here are 7 ways you can use technology in your daily life to help heal colorism.
1. Research your family history.
Researching your family history is a way to deal with personal struggles related to colorism because it can give you a better sense of self. By reconnecting with your roots, you gain perspective on where you came from, where you are, and who you’ve come to be up to this point.
If relatives join together to research their history, it can foster healing, growth, and bonding for the family. If your family has a wide spectrum of skin tones, hair texture, and facial features, this could also explain and encourage discussion about those differences.
Ancestry.com is my personal recommendation for a great way to start researching and documenting your family tree. Many local libraries also have special genealogy sections that are free and open to the public. However, there’s nothing like sitting and listening to the older relatives impart their own knowledge about the family history.
But even the old fashioned oral histories can be recorded and shared through the use of modern technology, which is probably a good idea so that stories remain long after the storyteller is gone.
2. Start or sign petitions.
The online tool for petitions that I’m recommending is Change.org. This site comes with lots of features that allow you to search for or get notifications about causes and issues you care about. It also helps you create and spread the word about your own petitions.
Some of the more popular petitions addressing colorism have to do with casting, such as the Straight Outta Compton casting call and the casting of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone.
However, there are many other worthy causes pertaining to colorism and other issues that you can throw your support behind with a simple “signature.”
3. Download or stream movies, shows, videos, or songs.
I choose Netflix for watching movies and some shows. When I first signed up, I searched specifically for movies made by and about people of color in all countries. I created a really long queue of such films and watched them one at a time.
I’ve also streamed television shows and movies on Amazon. I discovered it when one of my coworkers was showing her students the movie Roots on Amazon Instant Video.
I buy songs either from iTunes or Amazon. Unfortunately, there are many songs I haven’t been able to access due to country restrictions.
Also consider subscribing to YouTube channels that post thought provoking, inspiring, or relevant content.
Because we have a little less control over what airs on television or what’s featured in movie theaters, the internet is a good alternative source for media that is affirming and that tells the often untold stories.
Obviously, the internet is also filled with a lot of “bad” stuff, so you must put in a little extra effort to sift through some junk until you find some gems.
4. Share positive posts, especially about people of color.
Okay, this seems so easy, yet we don’t do it enough, probably because we allow so much junk and negativity to clutter our social media timelines that we don’t see nearly enough good stuff. I know I’ve been guilty in the past for focusing on the sad, troubling, or controversial posts on Facebook and Twitter. But we’re making changes, right?
Sharing (or retweeting) positive posts starts with populating our news feeds with more positive, productive, inspiring content to balance out the other stuff.
Follow people who post non-junk and be on the lookout for an inspiring story or motivational quote to share. If you’ve found great content suggested in tip #3, share that too.
Notice I say SHARE, not like, favorite, or even comment (although these things are good to do in addition to sharing). If we want to spread the positive stuff, then liking, favoriting, and commenting aren’t going to help as much as sharing or retweeting.
Also look out for actual photos and images of people that main stream media don’t publish often, or people who represent a type that was once invisible (and still drastically underrepresented) in main stream media. Share those.
5. Buy products.
You’re probably going to buy a book, or a T-shirt, or a doll, or jewelry, or a piece of artwork at some point, right? You can search online for retail products that affirm the heritage, skin tone, hair texture, or features that you have, or that your children have.
There’s now a line of nude colored bras for black women.
You can also search for these products to help you and your family become familiar with, comfortable with, and appreciative of people’s differences.
Many small, local, minority owned businesses have online retail options, so you’re also not limited by transportation or location.
6. Create collages.
Because main stream media does a poor job showing positive images of people of color, especially those with dark skin, we must be more proactive in surrounding ourselves and our children with such imagery. Creating collages is a great way to do this.
I made this collage with Photovisi. It’s super simple because it’s all done online and there are very few features to distract and confuse you.
I used a slightly more complex Collageit program to make this one. Collageit requires downloading software from the internet, which should be done with caution. But overall, I love the features!
I used stock photos and photos from Creative Commons to create these. Learn about other collage makers here.
7. Create Songs or Videos.
The first thing I recommend is that you create a YouTube channel. Simply sign up for a free YouTube account if you don’t already have one. This is easier to do if you already have a Gmail account.
YouTube will allow you to capture, create, edit, and share your video. You can keep the video private and only share it with people you choose, or you can make it public for anyone to see.
If you want fancier videos, there are plenty of video editing programs you can use to create the video and then upload the finished product to YouTube. Such programs can be pretty pricy, though, so I recommend using those only if you’re serious about your video making. You may also find free access to video editing software through school or another institution or organization.
These seven tech based ways to fight colorism are simple and fun places to start. Explore these strategies, and your sure to discover even more creative things you can do.
How do you use technology to spread positivity?