Friday, June 22, 2007
This has been something that has been heavy on my heart for quite sometime. I first researched this "phenomenon" while in college. Colorism is basically skin color prejudice within a certain racial group. As I flipped though the channels on my television I tuned in to BET (Black Entertainment Television). I can recall hearing at least 3 popular songs using language such as "redbone, yellowbone" which denotes lighter skin. Here in 2007 you still hear people (especially guys) making such comments. Why did they not say the same for darker skinned girls. As I watched closely the lead girls on the majority of the videos where lighter complected. This observation actually started when I was in college. I was raised in a family that had a multitude of skin colors. It was no big deal, no one cared if you were light, dark, brown, purple, green, or blue. However, when I got to college I discovered otherwise. I all of a sudden became this light skinned girl with long hair to people in my dorm. I have always been used to people describing me as the slim girl, or the quiet girl, or the nice girl. All of a sudden I was the light girl. I then experienced jealousy initially from certain girls in my dorm. They would mistake my quietness for conceit. When they got to know me better they would tell me that they thought I was stuck up because I was light skinned. I also remember this stage on campus around 2000/2001 that it seemed "fashionable" to be "mixed with something". I had always defined myself as being "black" but I noticed that people would look at my hair length and asked me what I was "mixed" with. I would tell them that I was black. Some would look at my almond eye shape and think I was part Asian or part Native American. One day I was getting my makeup done and this man (the makeup artist) insisted that I must have been a quarter Native American. I thought I looked like the average black girl. He then implied that I should claim Native American ancestry anyway. And then he begin to proudly give me his family pedigree emphasizing the non-black ancestry. Why do we as blacks do that? I recently did research on my family tree and I discovered different races also, but that has not changed how I feel about myself. I was proud of their character not their "race". It is though many of us want to dismiss our "blackness". It is ok to embrace all of your heritage, but to be obsessed with light skin, or looking exotic in denial of your blackness is not right.
I am working on an article dealing with offenses.
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