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Colorism: A Conversation



Black women all over social media have been conducting conversations about the effects of colorism. Facebook groups, youtube videos, TikTok uploads – all pointing out colorism from one side or the other. By side, we mean from the lighter-skinned persuasion, the darker-skinned persuasion, and sometimes even from the “reddish brown-skinned” or Le Roux women in the middle.

What is Colorism?

Colorism is the bastard child of racism. If racism is the preference of persons based upon race, then colorism is the preference of persons based upon their proximity to said race. Due to colonialism, racism has its roots in white supremacy. Closer to white is closer to right when it comes to colorism. Entering the dialectic is a term called featurism – where features associated with whiteness; thin lips, narrow noses, brightly colored eyes, straight/wavy hair, are preferred to physical features more commonly associated with Sub-Saharan Africa like thick lips, broad noses, afro-textured hair, and dark skin.

Physiognomy Based Interactions

In spite of how people identify, the world tends to interact with them based upon their physiognomy. A Mexican man who looks like a white American will be treated as such. His or her legal status and origins will not be questioned in the same way his identifiably Mexican mothers would be, for example. Black American women all over youtube have tried to have this conversation only to end up isolating one another further.

Youtube Content Creators to Look out for

While some YouTubers have made valid points about colorism being a colonial shadow that looms over all cultures, some of their content has served to further divide black women. Mixed and biracial women cry the Keri Hilson refrain “Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful.” While monoracial dark-skinned black women say ” but you’re not, you look normal, you’re just mixed.” Many of the deeper-hued ladies feel that they are facing a colorist tax where they have to be twice as beautiful and accomplished as a lighter-skinned black woman to secure a black husband, while paler women can present themselves with far less to offer and still attain the same caliber of man.

If you are interested in the conversation black women are having in relation to colorism and black men, look for content creators on youtube such as Chrissie, Exoticals United, and Rashida Strober. Mocha Mommy, Uppity Unicorn, and Real Talk with Yanie, create similar content as well.


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