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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What it really takes to End Colorism

So, you want to know how to end colorism? Well, if you were looking for a quick fix, I’m sorry to tell you there’s no easy answer. The issue is as complicated as any other social problem. But we must start somewhere. And the fact that you’re here reading this is a good sign that we can and will make progress in our efforts to stop the cycle of colorism. There are various strategies, practical things we can do to end colorism. I get into some of these in other blog posts. Here I want to talk less about how to end colorism and more about what  it takes to end colorism. Courage and Honesty Courage and… Read More

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Light Girls Documentary Selfie Campaign

Remember the Dark Girls documentary? Well, there’s a sequel in the making called Light GIrls! The creators of the film, including Dark Girls producer Bill Duke, have launched an incredible effort called the Light Girls Selfie Campaign.  The campaign asks men and women of all shades to respond to a set of given prompts in a one minute video and share it on the Light Girls Facebook page. I was inspired to record the following video:   I encourage you to create a video for this campaign as well. When you do, please leave a comment so we can watch and share! To learn more about the Light Girls Selfie Campaign, visit www.facebook.com/LightGirlsMovie

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For a Brown Girl: who committed suicide when her rainbow wasn’t enough

“& this is for colored girls who have considered suicide / but are movin to the ends of their own rainbows” —Ntozake Shange In 1975 the poet Ntozake Shange published For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf. In April 2014, the rainbow proved insufficient for one colored girl, Karyn Washington, creator of the online communities For Brown Girls and The #DarkSkinRedLips Project. Like most of her fans, I didn’t know Karyn personally, but we exchanged a few tweets and emails about our common interests in colorism, self-love, and empowerment. I got the news of Karyn’s suicide on Friday afternoon and struggled to fight back tears the rest of… Read More

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Racism Isn’t Our Only Problem

By Sarah Fears The campus of DePauw University has been swarmed with accusations of minority students not being heard by the administration and White students. There have been allegations of students and faculty being racist toward minorities on campus, and that the current cultural climate is hindering the performance and rise of underrepresented students. Yes, I can attest that there have been racist incidents on DePauw’s campus. I can say without hesitation that I have been subjected to offensive and demeaning comments while sitting in the classroom or walking through our dorms by White students. However, while I may have had only a handful of racist comments made to me… Read More

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5 Lessons on Colorism from Lupita Nyong’o’s Essence Speech

The talk continues about Lupita Nyong’o. Over the past few days, however, it’s gotten deeper than just her Hollywood stardom and high fashion domination. Ever since Lupita’s powerful speech about the effects of colorism at Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood event, more people are weighing in on the issue. Some, like me, are openly excited about this moment. Some might be a little more skeptical. Others are probably unaware that anything is happening. Regardless of what we ultimately believe about Lupita’s role in fighting colorism, it’s clear that she’s helping to spark discussion about colorism in ways that very few other celebrities have. After watching and reading Lupita’s speech, I… Read More

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Colorism Poetry Contest Judge: Sharon G. Flake

Colorism Poetry Contest Judge: Sharon G. Flake I’d like to introduce the second judge for the Colorism Poetry Contest, Sharon G. Flake! Sharon G. Flake is a prolific, award winning, Young Adult novelist, and author of The Skin I’m In. I really believe in the power of literature to help use heal from colorism and to change our attitudes about ourselves and others. Flake’s novels should be on every young person’s reading list. To learn more about Flake and her work, click here. Don’t forget that you can start submitting your poems to the Colorism Poetry Contest on April 1, 2014!

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brief introduction to colorism for children and young adults

A Brief Introduction to Colorism for Children and Young Adults

I. The Purpose of this Resource The purpose of this Introduction to Colorism is to help parents, educators, mentors, and counselors facilitate discussions about colorism with young people of all ages. The following is meant to give youth an introductory glimpse of what colorism is, where it comes from, and how it affects people. This is done primarily through literature and discussion/written responses. Whether or not they’ve ever heard of the term “colorism,” you will find that many people have observed or experienced acts of colorism at some point in their lives, while others have not. These materials are designed with both sets of audiences in mind. II. What is Colorism?… Read More

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Colorism in Relationships: Preference or Prejudice?

Why do we date who we date? What’s really behind our choice of marriage partners? Is love truly blind? And more to the point of this post, is there colorism in relationships?  If there is colorism in relationships, how can we tell the difference between a person who coincidentally falls for someone of a certain skin tone versus someone who is color struck? Here I present one perspective on this matter. Of course there are other viewpoints out there. If you’re new to this issue, I encourage you to explore those as well, after you’ve considered the following. Is there Colorism in Relationships? Yes. As Kola Boof says in this… Read More

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black girl with plaits via blue skyz media on flickr; help your children deal with colorism

Are You Doing Enough to Help Your Child Deal with Colorism?

“I always tell my daughter she’s beautiful,” said one father in response to our discussion about colorism. He, like many parents, believed that she was too young for any discussion beyond that. Like many parents, he thought that this vague show of affection was enough to ward off the world’s animosity toward dark skin and Afrocentric features. Yet despite his regular proclamations of his daughter’s beauty, she herself actually saw very little beauty or worth in dark skin. I could see it, but he was clearly in denial. If you really want to help your child deal with colorism, it’s time to stop relying on the easy excuses. Why merely… Read More

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colorism in families a fair skinned girl and dark skinned boy

8 Tips for Dealing with Colorism in Families

Sibling rivalries. Estranged parents. Favoritism. Neglect. Abuse. Family should be the place where everyone can experience unconditional love and acceptance. Unfortunately, a lot of folks feel anything but that. Trouble at home can arise for many reasons—one of them is the existence of colorism in families. As Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman (2013) says, “In families, love is present, but … what love looks like may depend, in part, on what you look like” (p. 14). While many families of color around the world think it’s common place to hear casual comments or jokes about skin color, hair, or other features, there are far too many instances where colorism goes beyond mere words and results in… Read More

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