The Symbolism of Color

“Black and ugly.”

“Light and pretty.”

As a black woman, I am interested in addressing colorism in the black community primarily out of my personal experience and professional interest.

I often hear the dark and light skinned narrative, the biased based on the phenotypical appearance in black communities.

Model: @Kemmy

I notice how these narrative has shaped our community and have remedied harmed against dark-skinned women, such as the damaging trend of skin bleaching and self-hate.

I remember being in a solon listening to a woman describing her eldest daughter, indicating that one daughter started driving. The stylist asked intriguingly if it was the daughter that the woman took to the salon previously. The mother responds…no, not the light pretty one, it is the dark one. Indicating that there is a color differential and that our skin tone serves as the most apparent standard of evaluation.

In our community, we have allowed society to dictate to us about our beauty and worth that we somehow practice these narratives in our community. It is not until we correct the discourse that lighter is better and darker is a mark of disdain, failure and social oppression that we will decrease self-hate, skin bleaching, and generational colorism in our community.

Model :@Kemmy

I call color differentiation in black community intra-colorism. The social privileged, and approval/ liking of lighter skin over darker skin in black families/communities. To change this narrative, we need to get to a place where it is intolerable to judge someone based on their skin color. If we support judgment base on skin shade, how can we be discomposed when someone outside of our community remark that “you look beautiful for a dark skin person” when we have used our skin color as a faction of good or bad, beautiful and ugly.

One response to “The Symbolism of Color”

  1. It is true that blacks are looked down on. I can say for a fact that this is even so in the classroom. I experienced this in the classroom years ago. The students who were light skinned were the teachers favourite and considered beautiful. I stand as a proud black woman. I am a proud Jamaican. Thanks for this post. I’m sure our blacks stand in solidarity.


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