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Quiet as It's Kept, C is for Colorism | Part II

Quiet as It's Kept, C is for Colorism | Part II

Part II

This series focuses on colorism as experienced by girls and women within the diaspora; specifically those whose locale is result of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism. 

Who is impacted by colorism? For some readers the answer may obviously be, dark skinned women. But, other readers may beg to differ. The goal of this series is not to provide a single diagnosis, but rather to provoke thought around the topic. And hopefully provide ways that we as a community can minimize and even possibly rid ourselves of colorist practices and mentalities.

A common saying that our community likes to apply to people is, “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.” But the lived experience of people with dark skin (especially women) isn’t always sweet. I would answer the question of “who is impacted by colorism?” with this phrase, “The blacker the berry, the more potent the sting.” I believe this phrase captures the range of ways colorism can be dished out. For example, if you are caramel complected* girl amongst fair skinned and what we call “redbone” girls, you would be the darkest of the group, thus you could be subject to the negative impact of colorism. Moving down the color spectrum, if the caramel color girl is now placed in a setting with medium brown girls, she is now considered lighter skinned and could now be the benefactor of colorism, with the medium brown girl being the victim. Continuing down the spectrum, if the medium brown girl is now placed in the setting with dark skin girls, she can now be the benefactor of colorism with the dark skin girl being the victim. Within this spectrum and cycle, dark skinned individuals always fall victim to the ways of colorism.

Colorism is quite frankly and endless Game of who’s the lightest and who’s the darkest.  In this game, the darkest skinned individuals are always the losers. In this game, our community pits us against ourselves. In this game, our community embraces the ideals and mentalities that were instilled in us by our captors, rather than OUR forefathers. In this game, we as a community are saying whoever’s the (closest to) whitest is the rightest. In this game, we minimize and diminish the beauty, power and strength that is dark skin. In this game, we act as though dark skin is a stain on Blackness, as if dark skin is something one should be shamed to have. In this game, we choose to tear down our own instead of lifting them up. In this game, we choose to highlight our meaningless differences, rather than cling to the things that bind us together. In this game our community always loses. 

Channing and Chelsae Moreland

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