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Combating Ignorance with Knowledge in the Black Community: Colorism

It is a sad phenomenon in the black community that affects all generations across all boards across all nations. It is an unfortunate system, an unfortunate way of thinking that has plagued all communities of color since the dawn of colonialism. Black is ugly white is beautiful.Of course it is known that in our communities of color there is a beautiful and broad spectrum of different shades and hues that makes communities of color so beautiful. However colonialists took this beautiful characteristic of communities of color and used it for their own ugly agenda.

In the black community, during slavery times, it is well known that the white colonist and slave owners and slave masters would intentionally bed with black women to create mulatto or mixed children. This practice was basically rape and sexual assault on black women for generations and generations. However it is true that their children were treated differently from darker skin slaves, because they were given different privileges and responsibilities.

Photo via Pinterest

It is a misconception and an unfortunate misunderstanding that the white slave masters pumped into the minds of all slaves, that it is a privilege or a blessing to be closer to the white man. You should be grateful to work in the masters house, to take care of the masters children, and to be forced to bed with the white slave master. That propaganda-like rhetoric is what fueled almost a century long misconception That lighter skin is better than darker skin. But the truth of the matter is it didn’t matter whether you were a light skin slave or a dark skin were still a slave.

18th century photo via Pinterest

Fast forward to the 21st-century and you can still see how the propaganda like rhetoric that being closer to white people is better. You see it in Hollywood, you see it in magazines; black women with European like features and lighter skin are given more air time and are given more screen time then actresses or models with traditional African features and complexions. Why is this? Why do we have to further support this toxic rhetoric? The damaging affects can be found in young black girls all over the world with a phenomenon of bleaching creams, skin bleaching soaps, whitening agents, and all of these toxic chemicals that young girls put into their skin just to achieve the lighter complexion. The effects can also be seen in the communities social dynamics as well.

my father and me as a baby

I am light-skinned, with European and Asianic features. My last name is “McFadden”...I grew up attacked and constantly put down for things I had no control over by my darker skin peers. Why? I just wanted to be their friends. To me I didn’t understand the difference between light and dark skin. It hadn’t been taught to me that light was better than dark until the bullying started in grade school. I would come home crying to my mother saying that these girls would make fun of me and call me Chinese and call me white girl and say I sounded and looked like a white girl and I would get so frustrated, because I knew I wasn’t white. My family is black, I was black and I was screaming to the top of my lungs to my grade school peers that I am black, I am black, I am black! And yet they didn’t understand.

My maternal grandfather and his brother

These experiences growing up alienated me from my black peers. I felt like they wouldn’t accept me. I felt like they didn’t like me for things that I had no control over and it led to me resenting myself and being black. That is the goal of this propaganda like rhetoric that is the goal that the white colonists had from day one; they wanted us to hate each other for petty things that we cannot control and they want us to hate ourselves for those same things.

My paternal grandmother

I say that this is the day that we start to fight back. That we start to realize that all of the hues; the deep, the browns, the reds, the golds, the honey… All colors of the black spectrum are beautiful, welcomed, wanted, praised and celebrated. It doesn’t matter if you have a little bit of Asian, or if you have a little bit of Latina, or if you have some white in you; the truth is you cannot control your genome anymore than you can control the weather. Let’s stop punishing ourselves and punishing our peers for these things!

Photo via Pinterest

Nobody is better than the other, nobody is worse than the other. It is all about the character and all about what is inside. That is the message we need to teach our children so we can stop the cycle of hate.

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