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WHAT IS COLORISM?

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If you live on this planet, it is very difficult for a person to not acknowledge that there are a large number of "biases" and "prejudices" that occur around them. Most of the time, terminologies are used to describe a person who treats a person less than they deserve to be treated based on their personal "ignorance" regarding the other individual's ethnic background. This is pretty typical behavior from someone who exhibits racism or other types of prejudice. EVERYONE exhibits some type of prejudice in some way. We are all ignorant to many cultures. Therefore ignorance can often breed  insecurity, and sometimes hatred if we are not careful. 


The term "colorism" is different from the  word "prejudice". The major difference between colorism and having prejudices is that colorism introduces hatred specifically towards people with dark skin tone, hair, eyes and overall features. Victims of colorism are generally treated as the bottom level of society, and are not recognized as someone who is capable of  being  intelligent, beautiful or successful. This is not just a definition for black or African Americans, but it encompasses EVERYONE from all over the world that is enduring significant hardships because they have darker skin. Many regions that have this problem include Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East.  Research has shown that those who are born into this world with the  darkest skin, have the lowest income, education status, marriage opportunities, and are more likely to be incarcerated. 


"Colorism" is rumored to have been around since slavery in the United States. During this time, it was not unheard of for the slave owners to give preferential treatment to the slaves who had lighter skin. If a slave had lighter skin, they were allowed to work inside, while those who had dark skin were required to work mostly outside. Many people question why dark skin had anything to do with being treated badly during slavery. The answer is simple. Most of the slaves who had lighter skin were family members to the slave owners. It should not be a surprise that many slave owners were engaging in relationships with some of the slaves, often resulting in the births of lighter skin children or offspring. However, in countries outside of the United States, colorism is more related to class rather than white supremacy. For example, people from other countries would automatically look down on a person with darker skin because they assumed that their skin color equated them to being poor and working outside. Historically, if an individual had lighter skin, this meant that they were not slaving outside, but rather they were holding jobs inside and not as slaves.


When slavery ended in most countries, colorism did not. It still has a strong presence on this earth and has destroyed many lives. As mentioned earlier, we are have prejudices to a certain extent, especially when we lack the appropriate information when it comes to people of different ethnic backgrounds. This can only be used as an excuse for so long. It is time to take the information that you have learned and put it to good use. Stop the hatred towards people because of the color of their skin....light or dark.

"If you're black, stay back;
"If you're brown, stick around;
"If you're yellow, you're mellow;
If you're white, you're all right."
(OLD CHILDREN'S RHYME)


LOVELY BROWN SKINNED BEAUTIES...AGAIN














CNN presents...



Indian View on "Colorism"
Written By: Te-Shandra Haskett, MBA



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