The role of colourism in every realm of life

The role of colourism in every realm of life

Colourism is not just an issue that is popularised by woke social media users, as some people might think. It is an issue that is rooted from the colonialism of black people around the world, dating back to centuries. Colourism is the discrimination of people based on skin colour; it disadvantages dark skinned people, all while the light skinned community benefits from the privilege of their skin colour because they are deemed more beautiful.

A clear display of colourism is within the entertainment industry. Light skinned actors and actresses often receive more roles than dark skinned actors. This bias and discrimination is based on the assumption of associating light skin with beautiful, and dark skin with ugly.

Almost every movie and television series in Hollywood lacks dark skinned black people. Even movie roles that require dark skinned black actors will instead be rewarded to a light skinned black actress because light is pretty and visually appealing – meaning more ratings for the movie. Nina Simone was a dark-skinned black musician and when a biopic about her was created, the role was awarded to Zoe Saldana, who is racially ambiguous, light skinned and identifies as Latina. The role of Nina Simone deserved to be played by a dark-skinned black actress who resembles the late singer.

This discrimination against dark skinned black people is not just found in the entertainment industry, but in all realms of life. In the dating pool; most men like to say that they prefer light skinned women over dark skinned women. In an unofficial study conducted a year ago, 10 dark skinned black men between the ages of 21-24 were asked what their preferences were in terms of dating, 7 of them all said they prefer light skinned petite women. When asked why those particular preferences, 3 of them said they would not want to date a woman with the same skin colour as them. One said he does not want to have dark skinned kids who are going to be bullied for being too dark.

The study may lead one to conclude that it is not only non black people who discriminate against dark skinned black people, but discrimination exists even within communities of dark skinned people. Colourism is an issue that needs to be addressed every day because more kids still grow up envying light skinned people they watch on television.  

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