How Colorism Hurts The Black Community

hands of different skin tones united
Via Pixabay
Leslie Taylor-Grover
March 20, 2021

Colorism is extremely dangerous to the well-being of our people. Dividing ourselves based on the color of our skin weakens us, turns us against each other, and interrupts the unity needed for Black liberation. 

But where did colorism come from anyway?

Lies about our skin tones started during enslavement. When white slave owners sexually assaulted Black women, their lighter-skinned offspring were often treated better or given special privileges because they were the “family” of white people. But that’s not all.

Separation of our people continued after enslavement. Lighter-skinned people had more opportunities to work, which meant they could build wealth. Light skin became associated with being well-off, and whiteness was the standard of power and beauty – while darker skin was linked to unemployment and poverty.

Our people were forced to survive like this. Sometimes light-skinned people excluded their dark kin in order to avoid white violence!

Colorism was put into place by racists to keep their economic and social power and to disenfranchise us from full American citizenship. So how can we move past this problem?

We have to keep exposing the fact that colorism was created to keep us infighting, unable to organize in unity against white supremacy. We must reject it – and remember that we can build our community the strongest when we work together and fight against anything that would divide us.

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