Colorism Definitions

Colorism definitions vary. People have defined colorism in different ways over the past few decades depending on time, place, and purpose. Here’s a sampling of definitions compiled from books, articles, and websites since the early 1980s. Leave a comment and tell us which definition you prefer. Colorism Definitions: •• “Colorism—in my definition, prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on their color” —Alice Walker, In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens, 1983, United States •• “For this discussion I’ll use the word colorism to mean an attitude, a predisposition to act in a certain manner because of a person’s skin color.” —Edward W. Jones, “Black Managers: The Dream Deferred”… Read More

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100+ Colorism Questions: Take Discussion to the Next Level

Wondering how to start a discussion about colorism? Looking to conduct research or interviews on this topic? Tired of the same old questions and conversations about “light skin vs. dark skin”? Wishing the colorism conversation would actually get somewhere? I feel you! So I’ve compiled a list of 100 colorism questions that address the above concerns. These questions will help you start, continue, broaden, deepen, and advance discussions about colorism. General Colorism Questions: Who coined the term “colorism”? Who benefits from colorism? What is colorism? What is the history of colorism? What is the history of colorism in [specific location]? What’s the difference between racism and colorism? What’s the difference… Read More

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Ultimate List of Colorism Books for All Ages

Looking for colorism books? You could spend hours searching online until you find exactly what you’re looking for, or you can simply scroll through this list of over 50 books I’ve compiled. The list includes a variety of books about Colorism and Colorism related issues ranging from illustrated children’s books, to fiction novels, to academic and scholarly publications. These books also span a range of cultures and ethnicities. When you’re done browsing, leave a comment and let us know which books seem most interesting to you! Books About Colorism: Adams, Michael Vannoy- The Multicultural Imagination: Race, Color, and the Unconscious, 1996, Non-Fiction “…He does not assume that racism or ‘colorism’ will simply… Read More

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Our First Ever Twitter Chat! 9-6 8pm EST

Colorism Healing is hosting its first ever twitter chat! Topic: Colorism and Parenting Date: Sunday, September 9, 2015 Time: 8:00 p.m. EST Place: Twitter using #ColorismChat Follow @ColorismHealing Here are some pre-chat readings to get you ready: ♦ Mothers and Colorism ♦ Are You Doing Enough to Help Your Child Deal with Colorism? ♦ 8 Tips for Dealing with Colorism in Families ♦ When Should Parents Discuss Colorism with Their Children Please join us!

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Brave Love is Beautiful

“I wrote these words for everyone who struggles in their youth.” –Lauryn Hill, Miseducation For me (and I suppose for some of you too) true love is an act of intense courage. This first occurred to me in high school when one of my classmates called me brave for wearing my naturally textured hair. I simply let my hair grow the way it naturally grows from my scalp, as it always has since birth. And for that, I was considered… brave. Even as recently as this year, people still refer to my choice of personal style as an act of bravery. While it seems to defy gravity, my hair in… Read More

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Colorism is a Symptom and System of Oppression

Colorism is a symptom of oppression as well as a system of oppression. The specific oppression I speak of here is racism or “white supremacy.” Colorism is both a product and a tool of the umbrella institution of white supremacy. When I began reading Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, I did not expect to find so many ideas relevant to colorism and colorism healing. Freire wrote Pedagogy in 1968, and it was translated from Portuguese to English in 1970. The book is based on Freire’s work with poor working people in Brazil. However, that very specific context of oppression has parallels with many others, and lots of people have… Read More

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Is Colorism Affecting your Relationship?

Not long ago, a theology student in Atlanta emailed to ask my opinion on how colorism affects couples and how pastors could help couples dealing with colorism. Though I’ve previously written about colorism in relationships, this email and a recent conversation with a friend prompted me to revisit the topic from a slightly different angle. We usually discuss how colorism influences people’s decisions on who to date or marry, but we rarely hear discussions about how colorism continues to affect relationships beyond the initial decision to be or not to be with someone. If colorism is an issue for a couple, here are five ways it might negatively impact their… Read More

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#Lighten Up: Visual Essay by Artist Ronald Wimberly

Artist Ronald Wimberly was working on assignment for Marvel (X-Men) when an editor asked him to lighten the skin color of a biracial female character. That experience inspired Wimberly to create a visual essay titled “#Lighten Up.” The best word I can think of to describe the piece is smart. Wimberly clearly knows his craft, but he also understands his craft in relationship to the politics and history of color, ethnicity, and race. I’m particularly impressed with the rhetorical use of web-based color codes (such as #ffffff or #000000 which are the online color codes for white and black) and with the allusion to art history. Using these various artistic and rhetorical techniques, Wimberly… Read More

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Colorism on Film: Yellow Fever by Ng’endo Mukii

Yellow Fever is an international award winning film by Ng’endo Mukii. This short film (less than 7 minutes) is a mixed media work of art. I think the film is unique in that it really zooms in (sometimes literally) on the unsettling emotional and psychological experience of internalized white supremacy.   Yellow Fever: FULL from Ng’endo Mukii on Vimeo.

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