The term colourism describes prejudice or discrimination among people of the same ethnicity against individuals with a dark skin tone. It is a problem that has been going on for decades, if not centuries and it is evident across the globe.
Almost every dark skinned woman has at one point hated herself
I wouldn’t say that I have hated myself for being dark skinned, but there have been times that I wished I had a lighter complexion. And I'm not the only one. We were taught that lighter equalled prettier, smarter and more desirable and like any young person, I had my insecurities.
Colour was the main one.
I once watched a video of a psychologist doing a doll test on children. In the video, two dolls of different skin colours are put on the table and children of different races are asked different questions about the dolls.
One of the questions was "which doll is prettier?" Without fail they all pointed at the lighter one. When asked why they chose that doll again they all answered with: “It's white”
The fact that children grow up with these misconceptions and hating their skin tones makes me ache in the deepest part of my soul. You can watch the video here.
Social media reflects our colourist attitudes
Social media has become a platform where people practice colourism. “ When girls are dark, boys are few,” “ Dark skinned girls be like...”
People post these on social media, and we laugh and entertain these posts without realising that the younger generation will grow up believing that beauty is measured by the colour of one’s skin.
We even divide ourselves in groups with hashtags like #TeamLightSkin or #TeamDarkSkin hashtags.
The only way to end this is to start by evaluating ourselves. We need to quietly check ourselves.
We need to evaluate why we lighten our selfies, why skin-lightening is a thing and why we ascribe certain behaviors to certain complexions. Saying things like “she’s pretty for someone so dark:” or “she thinks she’s pretty because she is light-skinned” needs to stop.
These remarks only reinforce the idea that complexion matters and it really doesn’t.