At this time, I am going to try and explain why colorism is just as pervasive as racism. It is not a synonym for racism, but it is just as toxic to children of color – especially Black American children. Colorism is Willie Lynch syndrome in action!
nounUSnoun: colorism; noun: colourism
- prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.“colorism within the black community has been a serious emotional and psychological battle”
I do NOT f*ck with people – especially people of color – who perpetuate colorism. Colorism wasn’t a secret in our community or our family. It was there. It wasn’t talked about but it came out in comments and insults. “With yo’ Black ass…” for years I heard that on the playground. I also heard it at home when I got in trouble. I heard it in adult conversations. I heard it every where when someone wanted to insult a Black American. They insulted their skin tone FIRST. If someone was going to insult you, first thing they went for was how “black ” you were. It played right into Willie Lynch’s famous letter – The Making of a Slave – where he states the following: You must use the DARK skin slaves vs. the LIGHT skin slaves, and the LIGHT skin slaves vs. the DARK skin slaves.
At the age of 13 – I had a huge argument after being insulted several times about my complexion from a family member – it was then I decided I wasn’t going to take colorism from anybody any f*cking more because my life at the time was hard enough. You don’t like my skin color, eat a dick. Simple.
I was Black and poor as f*ck and actually proud of who I was. I was an outcast. Some of my own people – some Black people made me feel like I was “less than” and “unworthy of love”.
I think the only thing that saved my humanity from being permanently damaged by colorism was the love and due care from my Dad when he home schooled me prior to kindergarten and when I went to live with him off and on in high school. That Black American man loved me and he saved me. Period. He would always say the road of life would be hard because I was weird, I was smart, I was opinionated and I was a Black woman. He told me early on in life to take my own path and many times I would sit at the table of life without friends, without family and without love but there would peace when I sat at the table I just had to get used to being by myself. So from an early age, I just didn’t give a rat’s ass about other people’s opinion of me because my Dad had prepared me to be loathed, to be misunderstood, to be an outcast and to ignore all of that because I was unique, amazing and great.
Yet, I still struggled internally with messages from my Dad about how great I was and scars from my social community on how my skin was “not good enough and dark” but socially I wasn’t “ghetto / hood enough / black enough”. It was a complete mindf*ck at times.
Growing up poor, looking for upward mobility and a better education… I really didn’t have time for colorism. Light complexion, tan complexion, dark complexion, blue-black complexion, extremely light complexion…. I didn’t give a damn then and I don’t give a damn now. You are simply beautiful and Black to me. I live by the 1-drop rule. No big deal because I don’t evaluate someone’s humanity based on their complexion.
Black is black is Black is black? Yeah? Sometimes … Nah.
So many people of color have issues with their internal desire to be white and perpetuate the false supremacy of whiteness. However, in my mind… that’s your f*cking problem! Your issue. Not mine. Just don’t super impose that self-destructive bullshit on me and keep it the f*ck away from my kid.
And you know what I’m talking about:
“Oh, I’m not fully Black – I’m Creole.” “Oh I got Native Indian in my family.” “Oh, I’m not Black American, I’m West Indian – I’m not apart of the African Diaspora.”
After reading James Baldwin in my tween and teenage years, I realized that Black Americans were deeply and profoundly damaged by slavery and institutionalized racism. It seems as for some, colorism is embedded in our social DNA.
In my world, I was hyper-aware of colorism. Now as a Black American Mother of a Biracial Black American child, I’m super-hyper-uber-aware. I have to keep her away from people of color who perpetuate, who allow and who submit to colorism. These people are toxic. They are just as toxic as racists.
Due to the abuse I suffered, I learned to take people as they are. Period. That’s what my Dad told me to do. Character and kindness always stand first and foremost as the criteria in which you evaluate someone to be in your social circle, especially around your child. It was his mantra. It is now my mantra.
Long ago, I had a friend who was a direct descendant of Cajun Whites & Black Slaves from Mississippi. She had a very golden light complexion. She was a gorgeous girl. Not because of her looks, mainly because she had a kick ass persona. We hung out because we had common interests. She told me one day – off the cuff – girls who looked like me hurt her emotionally because of her “light skin”. We had been drinking a few, so I was not totally competent and my response was dead silence. She shared with me multiple stories and I was just starring at her like “I’m sorry that happened to you.” Then I realized she was broken by it. She was broken. Scarred. Much like I was. Willie Lynch had won again, eh? Then I started to evaluate how I joked around about complexion. It’s what we did in the poor Black community.
You know… “with your high yellow ass…” “with your light-bright ass”… and then I heard the piercing insult that followed me around the playground… “with your Black ass”. Instantly, I realized I was part of the problem if I used those terms even as terms of endearment, I too was participating in the very thing I detested.
That was my second wake-up call. I had to be mindful to reject colorism at all costs and unlearn damaging behaviors.
HUMAN BEINGS ARE NOT THE SUM TOTAL OF THEIR SKIN COLOR ON THE DYSFUNCTIONAL SCALE TO OBTAIN WHITENESS. If you are using this methodology to engage other human beings, please eat a dick – whole. Thank you.
So for years, I let colorism live along side me but never penetrate my bubble. Until… um, well, I kinda ran off to England, married an English man who was white and had his baby. Then colorism was like a distant Aunt that heard you won the lottery and showed up on your doorstep, unpacked in the guest room and just never f*cking left.
In England, I used to hear everything from “you all are going to have such pretty brown baby” to ” does he have jungle fever”. Then in Texas, it became “are you the nanny”, “is she sick, she’s so pale and you are so dark”, “tu padre es blanco”, “did you adopt”, “your child doesn’t look anything like you, how do you explain that”.
It was maddening. White, Black, Latin people driving me nuts. So one day I answered the question… how do you explain that:
Answer: Someone in my family was raped the f*ck up by a white man during slavery. My DNA is watered waaaaaaaay the hell down like most Black Americans who are descendants of American Chattel Slavery. I’m 6 or even up to 10 generations removed from Africa and my African slave ancestors, however I am only 2 -4 generations removed from a raped slave.
I then went on to say that when you disregard the humanity of another person of color based on the color of their skin, you are a surrogate for white supremacy. You are modern day disciple of Willie Lynch.
So with that said here is my final decree on colorism and people of color who wield it like a badge of honor, like sword to hurt other people of color and like a disease that they cannot even recognize because their own slave mentality has deteriorated their social intelligence…
F*ck your internal aspirations to be aligned with whiteness because you don’t love yourself, so you rather be something else – something you are not. F*ck you obsessive weave wearing heifers addicted to your skin bleaching cream. F*ck you dumb fucks thinking Creole is better than being a Monoracial Black American because you and your fucked up, raped up family are so heavily invested in Anti-Blackness and secretly worship whiteness. F*ck you color-struck men objectifying light-complexion or multiracial women because you think you are slick by now using the word “exotic”, “foreign” and “preference” as code words to hide your desire to obtain and control whiteness through sexual means. F*ck men who sexually, emotionally, fiscally and mentally abuse some dark complexion women by pimping out their low-self esteem once you see they are broken and in need of due care. F*ck all white folks who “feel more comfortable” with lighter complexion Blacks because they are so non-threatening and “more like us”. F*ck everybody from every ethnicity and every culture that aggressively practices anti-Blackness. F*ck everyone who practices colorism of any kind in the Black community, Latin community, Asian community and East Indian community. Lastly, absolutely uber F*ck everyone who summarizes another person’s humanity by the color of their complexion when we know that the epidermis, a human being’s actual skin is only 1/16th of an inch deep.
I spent my entire life being an amazing Black American woman who lived outside the stereotypes and self-imposed monoliths common motherf*ckers choose to fall into. I’m raising an extraordinary Biracial Black American hero for the future who I will shield as long as I can from colorism so I can strengthen and cultivate her amazing humanity.
Life for people of color – especially Black American aka Black Folks – is already hard. The bullshit that is colorism, the caste system, anti-Blackness, xenophobia and white supremacy has no place in my world.
None at all.