Who is Affected by Colorism? Part 1

There are some misconceptions about who is affected by colorism. Some people think it’s just a dark girl’s problem and that everyone else has not place in the discussion. There’s strong opposition to letting so-called “outsiders” handle situations that they have “no experience” with. I believe the insider/outsider dichotomy is a slippery slope because it impedes social unity and social responsibility. In the case of colorism in the United States, the outsiders are usually white people, and the insiders are usually black people. Similar situations might exist in other places with different groups of people. Among black Americans, a different insider/outsider distinction exists. People assume colorism is unidirectional, only relevant to dark-skinned… Read More

Continue Reading

Mothers and Colorism

I’ll start with mother. Before children recognize themselves in mirrors, they recognize themselves through their mother’s eyes. My heart breaks when I hear stories of mothers consciously or subconsciously conditioning their children to adopt the attitudes of colorism, to adore light skin and despise darker skin, adore light eyes and think little of dark eyes, adore straight hair and hate kinky hair. Previews of Dark Girls the movie, the responses to it, and life observations reveal that too many mothers are complicit in their children’s pain. The relationship between mothers and colorism is clear. Several women describe their most potent experiences with colorism as experiences when their mothers failed to… Read More

Continue Reading

Shadeism

The group of young people behind Shadeism is doing some amazing work. When I first saw this video a couple of years ago, I was very pleased to see the kind of work that was being done to heal our communities, and I loved the fact that it connected the issue across nationalities and locations. Even though they’ve chosen to use the term “shadeism,” the message is still the same: all shades of skin are beautiful. I’m glad they haven’t just stopped at this one film. From what I can tell, they’ve recently raised enough money to do more documentary work, but also take their efforts beyond film to include things like… Read More

Continue Reading

5 Reasons To Talk About Colorism

Deep breath. I’ve procrastinated on this one while I cultivate the courage to write it. Yes, I want to talk about colorism. As I type this around 11:11 pm, I’m sending my mom the following text message: “It helps to talk about it. I’ve kept a lot of pain to myself throughout my life and that silence hasn’t helped the pain go away. Talking about it validates [my experience and] validates how I feel.” I know what you might be thinking. I shouldn’t be seeking “external” validation, right? That’s easy to say at the intellectual level, when we’re removing ourselves from the situation. However, when dealing with chronic pain rooted… Read More

Continue Reading

An Interview on Sisters and Colorism

Two girls of different skin tones, growing up together as sisters born of the same mother AND father. Sisters and colorism collide, creating a unique relationship. This is a glimpse into the mind of the lighter skinned sister as she reflects on colorism. Describe your home/family and work life. I have been married for five years and am expecting my first child in March of next year. I am the middle child of three children and grew up in Baton Rouge, LA with my mother. My parents were divorced when I was 11. I currently practice school social work at a high school in southern Louisiana. I am a social… Read More

Continue Reading

Colorism: 5 Reasons I Haven’t Said Much… Yet

I’ve addressed colorism in my fiction, but with the growing anticipation of the Bill Duke documentary Dark Girls, I feel it’s safe to speak more directly about the issue. Surprise! I’m dark-skinned. Being so, I’m often apprehensive about speaking candidly of colorism for the following reasons: Complexion is complex, and I’m not sure how to begin. I didn’t want people to dismiss me as merely hating on light-skinned girls. People often have the attitude that “If you love yourself, you wouldn’t make it an issue.” Since I didn’t want anyone to perceive me as “not loving myself,” I kept silent. My mistake. People often deny me the opportunity to discuss the issue… Read More

Continue Reading

New Site!

Welcome! I’m pleased to present the brand new site and community, Colorism Healing. This site fills an important need in the blogosphere. While you can find many individual pieces of information about colorism online, there isn’t a place that compiles, synthesizes, and regularly updates the conversation. Scroll to the bottom and Subscribe Now so that you don’t miss a beat!

Continue Reading