Colourism Within The Black Community

Colourism is the belief that light skin is better or more attractive than dark skin, and is a major topic of discussion within the Black community today.

There are several key points which are regularly brought up when discussing colourism, including the death of dark skinned actresses, or lyrics in rap that only sing the praises of those who are fair. It has been argued that the negative portrayal of dark skinned women in the media, and in society in general, represents deeply-rooted self-hate within a community that should be nothing but harmonious at all times.

For years, lighter-skinned men and women have been more valued and celebrated than darker-skinned men and women, giving rise to the term "Light-Skinned Privilege". After having conversations with numerous dark skinned women, it has become apparent to me that many of them have been in situations where they've been told that "they look pretty for a dark-skinned woman". This further emphasizes the standards in society that dark-skinned women are generally not perceived to be as attractive as light-skinned women, and are often overlooked by many men as they are not seen to be as "beautiful".

After having conversations with various dark-skinned women, many of them have made their experiences clear where they are portrayed as more "aggressive", "loud" or hostile". 

The issue of colourism can be looked at even further in regards to the success of lighter skinned men & women in showbiz and entertainment, particularly in music and film. Many of them are provided with more opportunities based on the fact that they are light skinned, where many dark skinned men and women find it more difficult to be presented with opportunities and elevate their careers. 

Since the 1960s, being Black has been celebrated by movements such as Black is Beautiful and sayings like "the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice". Nevertheless, there’s still a substantial number of women and men within the African and Caribbean communities in the UK using skin-lightening and skin-bleaching products. Some parents even go as far as lightening their children’s skin to hide their true complexion so they don’t face the stigma of growing up with dark skin.  

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