I didn’t know the term for it was colourism. I just remember my mother giving my older sister a very strong lecture after she came home to visit and we could barely recognise her. She hadn’t been home for over a month and it looked like she had gone from a brown skinned girl straight to “yellow bone”. That wasn’t the term used back then but you get what I mean right? Whatever product she was using only worked for her face so the rest of her body was dark and her face as bright as the morning sun. She tried to defend herself and claim that she wasn’t using anything but my mother knew better. Thankfully my sister listened and stopped using the product and was back to being chocolate skinned like the rest of the family.
I took this extract from my friend Tina’s blog; www.lifewithdimples.wordpress.com
I went to a lovely wedding a few months ago. I was sitting there enjoying myself when I overheard two ladies talking to each other. “Iiiiii ende akazviwanira kamukadzi kake kakanaka wena, katsvuku tsvuku futi, kaFanta chaiko!” Translation: “Ooo, he has really found himself a beautiful wife! She is light skinned too, just like Fanta!” They went on to discuss how her being light skinned was a relief as the groom was dark and so her genes would make sure the children wouldn’t be as dark as their father. I chuckled to myself and found it quite amusing that black people still actually thought like that. The more I thought about it though, the more I realised that colourism is a real cancer in our society which does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it seems to be getting worse.
Methinks colourism affects almost every black person. From young to old, men and women; somehow, somewhere the effects of colourism are there. We have not yet embraced our magic. There is a message that was drilled into our heads that being black is a sin, being black is dirty, being black is ugly, being black is of no value. The stereotype message is that white is beautiful. Think all things black people term as “the best”, believe me there is some whiteness associated with it. It can be the school you decide your child to attend(so that they can get an accent), the area you decide to stay(because black neighbourhoods have too much noise), the hairstyle you choose to wear(so that your hair is straighter and close to the ideal “good hair”); the list is endless…
I took some time to watch this video and you should too. You will be amazed at what children have to say about colourism.
I believe we still have a very long way to go where colourism is concerned. Children are exposed to different messages that come in the form of toys, music, cartoons and other different forms of media that leave them believing that light skin is beauty. However, as a parent I believe it is mostly my duty to raise a daughter who loves herself just the way she is. Her complexion should not be used as a measure of her beauty. I will continue to teach her to love herself loud and proud. It took me a whole 30 years to finally realise that I didn’t need to conform to most of the standards set out by society and I have been the happiest person ever since! The advantage that my daughter has is that I’m on a mission to promote the magic of being black and she is very much a part of the movement and she doesn’t even know it!
“Beauty has no skin tone.”
“Colour is the skin of the world.”
“The best foundation you can ever wear is healthy glowing skin.”
“Black women are made of brown sugar, honey, cocoa and gold.”
What have been your experiences with colourism? I know this is a very intrusive topic but I know there are a lot of stories to share on this. I would love to hear from you.