Colorism Essay

1070 words - 4 pages

What if all African Americans were the same skin complexion? What if we never used the terms light or dark skin? What If we didn't judge or imply that darker skin black people are less desirable? That Obama though qualified to run; he is "the right shade" to be president, he passed the "paper bag test". Basically, what if we never experienced any form of colorism. The term black people are used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups. Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black".The worst classification and the greatest divide with in the African American culture has come through Colorism; light skin versus dark, a form of discrimination within one's own ethnic groups. Colorism is a term to describe prejudice or discrimination in which human beings are treated different social treatment based on skin color. It is in almost every race, but it is more predominant in the African American culture within the United States. Discrimination within and outside African American's dates back to slavery and is still happening now, more than ever. We have been brain washed through generations, teachings, peers, parents and the media.The light vs. dark topic has been apparent since the time of slavery, but its problems and consequences are still very evident. During the time of slavery African Americans were not only segregated with white people we were also segregated within our own race. There were two types of slave's, house slaves and field slaves. The field slaves would have a darker skin tone and would have the task of working outside, for an example, picking cotton, tobacco being outside, from sun up, to sun down. The houseslaves, lighter skin lived inside the house with the slave owner and obviously, doing house work duties such as cooking and cleaning. During that time it was said that there was animosity between the house and the field slaves. One reason was because the house slaves were treated a little better than the field slaves. The slave owners would treat the lighter skinned black people better and the darker you were the more you were treated like scum. The light blacks were taught to think of and treat the darker people like the slave owners thought of them. If the fields slaves weren't already dark completive, being outside for ten to eighteen hours would make them a darker skinned complexion. People would look at them as the dirty "lower class slaves". Being a slave was unimaginable, but placing a label of better and less than based off of skin tone was more damaging. The wounds healed, we have over come the slavery era but we will never break the bond that binds with Colorism.Dark-skinned blacks in the United States have lower socioeconomic status, more punitive relationships with the criminal justice system, diminished prestige, and less likelihood of holding elective office compared with their lighter counterparts. (hochschild...

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