Colorism

Back to Article
Back to Article

Colorism

Sasha Legagneur, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Colorism is the preference of light-skinned individuals instead of dark-skinned individuals. It is also becoming an increasingly larger issue in a number of ethnic groups, particularly in the black community found in the United States. This ideology serves as a way to separate African Americans. Historically, African Americans were discriminated against by opposing ethnicities; however, colorism separates the black community within itself. It takes one black man and puts him against his brother due to his shade of black. The issue traces its roots back to the days of slavery in the Americas and also appears to be connected to lower incomes, longer prison sentences, and fewer job opportunities for dark-skinned people.

The roots of colorism are found in American slavery. Slave masters expressed favoritism towards slaves with lighter complexions. Their jobs were often less intense and less grueling. Frequently, slave owners mated with their African slaves, who had a darker complexion, resulting in a light-skinned child. These children were then given special treatment compared to their darker-skinned counterparts, who were often seen as threatening.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, light-skinned black Americans saw more job opportunities. They had a larger chance of being employed by Caucasian employers because they were seen as resembling the white race more than a dark-skinned American. They were seen as less African, and more American. As time went on, light-skinned Americans became part of the elite class more often than dark-skinned Americans would. Often, a dark-skinned man would marry a light-skinned woman as a means of social mobility.

Colorism has one purpose: it serves to separate and segregate brothers and sisters of the same racial status. During the slave trade, any person with an ounce of black in them, whether light-skinned or dark-skinned, whether a slave or a mulatto, was labeled as black. Although the context is horrendous, this ideology shows that black is black. The black community is one, and it should not be separated into different factions. Everyone, no matter what race, ethnicity, or skin tone, is beautifully and wonderfully made.