The Effects And Implications Of Colourism

1096 words - 4 pages

Colourism, a little word that harnesses pain, as well as confusion amongst many people both of the past and present. This concept is nothing new, it is something that has and is being felt by plenty. It plagues nations and is caused by imperialism, self-hatred, self-degradation, envy, greed, along with lust. It’s fueled by ignorance, stupidity, blindness, unobtainable white beauty standards placed onto unsuspecting people once simply absorbed by their own society, and now compelled to fulfill these standards, which are unobtainable for many.
As topics such as sexism and racism, colourism reaches beyond just one medium. It affects many areas of life as well as hinders the quality of life of those negatively regarded. One of the strongest and most effective ways to implement the ideals of colourism (i.e. “[That] lightening the black physicality is socially acceptable because white skin is the superior and sought after ideal unlike black skin which is inferior.”) is through media. Hip-Hop, which has grown exponentially through the past 20 years, has used it’s great following to pursue spread ideals that have been implemented through the music. Emphasized by the rhetorical analysis written by VaNatta S. Ford; where she keys in on a statement: “There has not been [...] a rhetorical examination of the ways in which colorism impacts rap lyrics”; as well as the rampant destruction of the image of darker skinned women in particular. Time and time again, they lyrics of many superstar in Hip-Hop/Rap, calls the fairer of black women in particular the better. Though this idea of placing lighter people on a pedestal is nothing new, but through this musical movement the classifications of blacks has evolved. Term such as “Red bone” and “Yellow bone” have been created, along with the trend on social media sites of tagging statuses and photos as “#teamlightskin” (team light skin) and “#teamdarkskin” (team dark skin); furthering the gap in a set group.
Studies have also shown that it’s harder for darker blacks to obtain jobs, as well as receive recognition for their work, the darker they are. Even outside of the black community, as summarized by Shilpa Banerji’s study stating: "We found that a light-skinned Black male can have only a bachelor's degree and typical work experience and still be preferred over a dark-skinned Black male with an MBA and past managerial positions, simply because expectations of the light-skinned Black male are much higher, and he doesn't appear as 'menacing' as the darker-skinned male applicant”. And Nyama McCarthy-Brown’s study with black ballet dancers, after highlighting that there have been few black prima ballerinas in the world, she continues with: “The interviews offered insight into another aspect of the African American dance experience. African American dancers contend not only with the racism of society in general, there are also divisions within the African-American community, both social and dance communities, based on skin...

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