Colorism in America

As a young African American woman, colorism within my race has become more and more apparent to me as I have grown older. As technology has enhanced throughout my life, I have seen cell phones develop into smart phones, computers develop into laptops, and face-to-face interactions develop into social media interactions. Social media has become sort of a holy grail for events, celebrities, news, and keeping up with everyday life; even I am guilty. As a follower of many pro-black blogs and Instagram pages, my eyes have been opened, and I have noticed something that I found out to be true. Every magazine, movie, commercial, and advertisement has been white washed. Even with an African American woman as the focus, she is light.

Colorism exists on the cover of the magazines as my inspirations like Rihanna, Zendaya, Beyoncé, and Gabourey Sidibe are made lighter.

It exists in Hollywood, as actors that are not the correct race or skin tone are cast to play roles just because they are fair skinned, and many talented actors and actresses are not getting nominated for awards because of their darker color.

It exists in average life, as people have been telling me my whole life I was “pretty for a dark skinned girl,” but now I know that is not a compliment. I love my darker skin, and it pains me to see others do not feel the same about theirs. As women post photos on social media stating that they have to have a mixed child for it to be beautiful with curly hair and light skin, my feelings are hurt because women are beginning to believe that to have a beautiful child, it cannot be fully black. My siblings and I are beautiful, my family is beautiful, and so are my friends. We have the same history and struggles, I do not believe that the color of your black changes your roots or makes you better than anyone of the same color.

I believe that in order to somewhat fix or at the least improve the idea of colorism within the black community, we must eliminate light skinned and dark skinned, and just be “black.” There seems to be complete division within our race, almost like a civil war, completely unnecessary considering the fact that so much negativity has impacted us in the past few years especially. As we move forward, we must unite, educate each other on how colorism is hurting us, and reach within ourselves to change it. Beginning with ourselves, we can take over social media, then move up to the magazines, advertisements, television, and award shows. If we change individually, we can begin to change as a whole.