Colorism is defined as discrimination based off of skin color; it’s a form of prejudice that is usually from members of one’s own race. I know this term by heart now. If you asked me what colorism was three years ago, I would have stared at you, waiting for an explanation. Before I had seen it for myself, I never separated black people by light skin, dark skin or brown skin. I thought we were all just black.
Colorism, like most other problems in America’s black community, is a direct product of slavery. The slave owners treated the lighter-skinned slaves better than their darker counterparts, partially because they probably fathered them, and partially because they looked more white. Back then, it was driven into the minds of the society that “white is right.”
The ramifications of that mindset are still present today and worsening with social media. Even though its effects are bad for black men, they are worse for black women. Black women are constantly being disrespected by people from their own race. I have even seen “dark skin” men say that all “dark skin” women are ugly. It has gotten so bad that dark skinned black women were rated the least attractive out of all other races and ethnicities on dating apps.
However, mixed kids are all the rage, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Just look up “fetishization of mixed-race children” and you will come up with dozens of articles about how messed up this really is. People trying to plan their future partners based off of the physical characteristics of their unborn children is really strange. You can even find “jokes” on social media about people who married their partners because of their race, “throwing away” their children if they are “too black.” The amount of times I have heard people say “I want to marry a black guy so my kids will be mixed,” has been way too many. It’s not only annoying, but also super creepy.
I have read articles before about how some black women prayed that their descendants would be white to “purify their bloodline.” Call it what you want, but colorism is self hatred. Society has drilled into the minds of so many Black people, both young and old, that their skin is not good enough. Colorists hate themselves so much that they hate anyone who shares their features.
I don’t blame colorist people for thinking this way. I blame society, European beauty standards, and the media. In most shows, the “token black girl” is usually someone that looks like Zendaya or Amandla Stenberg, and not someone that looks like Ryan Destiny or Aja Naomi King. Even though the industry is changing and more dark skin models and actresses are taking the spotlight, we still have a long way to go in changing the viewpoint of the population.