The Concept of Colorism

"We’ve all heard of black on black crime, but there’s more. We hate each other because of our complexions. This is colorism, the form of discrimination that involves favoring lighter skin over darker skin." –Yasmine Saibou

With Black History Month concluding just last month, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss colorism and the effects of the Willie Lynch syndrome on our people, in America and abroad. For starters, Willie Lynch was a British slave owner who delivered an infamous speech on the bank of the James River colony of Virginia in 1712. The speech titled “The Making of A Slave,” was intended to teach his fellow owners how to remedy the problems that were occurring on their plantations; problems of disobedience and fear of rebellion. On the topic of colorism he states, “You must use the DARK skin slaves vs. the LIGHT skin slaves, and the LIGHT skin slaves vs. the DARK skin slaves.” As we know, this is still a phenomenon seen in cultures around the world. Although we are no longer in bondage, we still see the separation due to complexion. The issue is seemingly more pronounced in those of African descent, we’ve all probably observed and witnessed accounts of those amongst us who are of a lighter shade being deemed more beautiful or being welcomed more graciously by White people.

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The Concept of Colorism

"We’ve all heard of black on black crime, but there’s more. We hate each other because of our complexions. This is colorism, the form of discrimination that involves favoring lighter skin over darker skin." –Yasmine Saibou

With Black History Month concluding just last month, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss colorism and the effects of the Willie Lynch syndrome on our people, in America and abroad. For starters, Willie Lynch was a British slave owner who delivered an infamous speech on the bank of the James River colony of Virginia in 1712. The speech titled “The Making of A Slave,” was intended to teach his fellow owners how to remedy the problems that were occurring on their plantations; problems of disobedience and fear of rebellion. On the topic of colorism he states, “You must use the DARK skin slaves vs. the LIGHT skin slaves, and the LIGHT skin slaves vs. the DARK skin slaves.” As we know, this is still a phenomenon seen in cultures around the world. Although we are no longer in bondage, we still see the separation due to complexion. The issue is seemingly more pronounced in those of African descent, we’ve all probably observed and witnessed accounts of those amongst us who are of a lighter shade being deemed more beautiful or being welcomed more graciously by White people.
continue reading