I remember when miskellaneous first suggested I write about this topic. I thought to myself how much can I possibly write? But I was very wrong. The topic of colourism is not as simple as one may think at first. It is a global phenomena that effects our lives, especially the lives of those who fall on the darker spectrum. It runs deep in our history and has been impacting our lives for generations.
I can’t remember my first experience with this thing, but I do remember as a child looking at my skin and realising that it was darker than previously when I was younger. The colour of my skin wasn’t something that occupied my mind a lot but, there were times even now that I wished it was lighter. There are too many incidences I can recall when the topic of darker skin colour was approached with negativity. Where can I even start?
There was the time when my cousin and sister talked unkindly of the skin colour of the contestants in a beauty pageant, the time when a classmate commented on how a certain person should have been ‘grateful’ of the light skin she was born with instead of bleaching her skin to lighten it further, the time a group of girls at class sat down in a circle at talked about just how they could not understand how white people would want to have tan skin and the time when a cousin insinuated that it was sad that I got darker as I got older. But there is no need for listing all of these occurrences, because these incidents are all too familiar to us, whether it was from a relative, friend or even our own selves.
Beauty is a social construct and Society seems to put certain people on a pedestal, which is to me, messed up. It’s messed up how we normalise making people feel less than they are due to a small aspect of their actual self while we make others feel special for the opposite and showing little girls at such a young age that the white blond blue-eyed dolls they play with are what they are supposed to strive to be like.
When you look at the world it everywhere. You see more and more darker and African women alike, bleaching their skins. Lighter skin Indians discriminating against darker skin Indians, Arabs lightly calling people of African descent ‘abeed’ (slave). All of this because we continue to uphold such ideals within our communities and since we were colonialized by Europeans people who worked the fields were the ones who got tanned and recently, that is what we see on the media. Tanzanian actresses and actors lightening in colour through the years right before our eyes. In some Asian countries, television is crammed with skin lightening product commercials skin s cannot win, they are put down because of their skin and if they subscribe to this ideal they are ridiculed while putting their own health at risk. Some people who have bleached their skin and are now suffering from skin cancer. Featuring famous Bollywood actors which we’ll not mention telling that success is attained much faster when you have lighter skin.
It sometimes seems like people (especially girls) with dark colour talk about how you should love and accept your skin, but how can one successfully do so when the world is constantly telling them not to.
It is far past the time where we should stop putting people down for their skin colour. If you can’t change your mindset at least realize that your words and actions can impact how a person feelings causing an affect upon their self-esteem and self-worth. Studies have shown that in the US black children are treated differently than white children and are seen “significantly less innocent” than others. After all isn’t the epitome of innocence, a little white girl? This may actually be a form of racism but it does correlate with colours.
It just shows how this form of discrimination goes beyond beauty and effects our normal everyday lives. It’s indeed sad that we choose to let something like the pigmentation of our own skin impact our lives and self worth.