‘Colourism; Prejudice against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among the same ethnic or racial group.’
What are the roots of colourism? How has it impacted dark-skinned women vs light-skinned women?
Well, the media creates an atmosphere where light skinned women are perceived as the “goddesses” of the black community. Dark-skinned women are a rarity appearing in the media; they are often marginalised and not seen for the power that they have.Colourism originated from the roots of slavery; slave owners primarily gave preferential treatment to black women with lighter complexions; they would work indoors as maids. Whereas, dark-skinned women would be given complex tasks and work outdoors in the fields, generally doing more laborious tasks.
From European colonialism, there is an ideology that light skin is superior to darker skin. Dark skin was associated with lower classes and light skin was associated with belonging to the upper class.
In the present day, it is the lighter and white skin which connotes to better employment opportunities, because they are deemed to be the “better candidate”.
The media influences society into believing everything is based on the colour of your skin.
“The lighter your complexion, the easier it is to be successful.”
This has caused people to bleach their skin, or get skin lightening creams/products, just because they want to be accepted by society’s norms. They don’t recognise the value that they have, because the agenda perpetuated throughout the media does not place any value on them. The media portrays an image that if you possess Eurocentric features, (small nose, fair skin, straight hair), you will be accepted in society. Consequently, it oppresses and diminishes darker-skinned women, who don’t have all those features.
We need to remember to work hard in everything we do and remember our worth. Your melanin is not a flaw, it is beauty.
If you walk down town in different UK cities, you are likely to meet different kinds of people whether Black, White, Chinese or Indian; you will not be concerned if you see a woman who is of a different race to you, speaks a different language and wears different clothes to you.
Unfortunately for black women, cultural diversity stops on the high street, this is not reflected in influential areas of British life.
Being a dark-skinned black female makes you have to work twice as hard to achieve half as much in the world of business.
Oppression will always occur at the hands of shallow-minded individuals, but without hard work there is no success.
All in all, there is power in our melanin. There is success. We can make it, together.
Taraji P. Henson, Serena Williams & Oprah made it. So can we.
You just have to believe in black girl magic.