Colorism, Racism’s evil cousin that lurks around in the shadows and causes havoc subconsciously in the black community. Colorism has caused an interesting social division especially in the African American community whereby lighter skinned Black people tend to be seen as relatively superior to their darker skinned brothers and sisters.Unlike her cousin racism that attacks from the outside, colorism has found a way to work her way into our communities and eat at us from the inside.
In America the divide began during slavery whereby the Lighter house negro who often tended to be mixed children of their master, were treated better than the darker field negroes.
Scholars even argue that catastrophic events like the Rwandan genocide was caused by colorism whereby the more negroid looking darker Hutus were taking revenge on the Tutsis who had been favored and been in control for the longest time during colonial rule simply because they were lighter and more Caucasian looking.
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder they say, and logically there should be different ways of seeing beauty. In Mauritania for example thicker women are considered more beautiful, which goes contrary to the mainstream western convention that the skinnier you are, the more pretty. However unfortunately some 500 years ago a group of people decided that anything that doesn’t look like them is inferior and must be oppressed and this has carried on though not as blatant today.
In the mainstream media light -skinned is celebrated as the ideal black person or at least inferred as so. Rarely do you find Dark skin being glorified as something of beauty in the mainstream media. For example recently Zoe Saldana a light-skinned black woman was cast to play Nina Simone, a Dark skinned black woman in a Biographical film about her. Zoe had to wear blackface makeup and an Afro wig in order to look like Nina. Why didn’t they just simply cast a dark skinned woman to play the role? I will let you decide.