The truth behind the light skin vs dark skin “beef” & colorism.
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Light skin vs dark skin & colorism is still alive and well.
Skin tone is a significant marker used by others to evaluate and rank the social position of Black people.
The light skin vs dark skin “beef”, war or internal battle within the Black community is something many of us are aware of, even if we try to ignore it and act like it doesn’t really happen or exist.
Many people in the Black community act as though colorism is not that serious. Light skin vs dark skin is seen as a little joke between Black people.
But how many of us really take in to consideration he affects of this “battle”?
In the marriage market, it is stated that dark-skinned women are less likely to be married than lighter-skinned women. Colorism also shows up in even starker ways. The difference in pay rates between darker-skinned and lighter-skinned men mirrors the differences in pay between whites and black people. It is also noted that darker-skinned women are given longer prison sentences than their light-skinned counterparts. This discrimination starts young, if you are a dark-skinned girl, you are three times more likely to be suspended from school than your light skinned peers.
What is colorism?
Colorism is a form of racism which is usually seen when people are negative towards people who have a darker skin tone. It also includes people that treat others with a lighter-skin tone better. This brings in the idea of light skin privilege.
To understand colorism, we have to understand self-perception.
Different communities define colorism differently. There’s no clear lines about those definitions. The best research tends to use color palette to ask people how they see themselves. Because whether or not you say you’re light skin or dark skin is relative to your social context and that varies by what kind of community you live in.
Colorism even affects how we are remembered. Lighter-skinned black people are perceived to be more intelligent and educated. black people, regardless of their actual skin color, are remembered by job interviewers as having lighter skin, if they so happen to be a good candidate.
Darker-skinned people report higher experiences of microaggressions; heavier-set dark-skinned men report the highest levels of microaggressions. All of this affects our mental health and wellbeing. Darker-skinned black women report more physiological deterioration and self-report worse health than lighter-skinned women.
Also we have to realize the importance of distinguishing between colorism as practiced by white power structures like courts, schools and businesses, and colorism as practiced within the black community.
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