African-Americans have been victims to what is known as colorism for many years. Colorism is discrimination against others due to their skin color. Darker skinned people are considered less intelligent, less desirable, in women mostly, and are overall seen as a lesser people. Lighter skinned people tend to have higher social standing, more positive networks, and more opportunities to succeed than those of a darker complexion. The issue of colorism has been around since slavery. Slave masters would favor light skinned African Americans and gave them the task of being “house slaves,” while dark skinned slaves were looked at as being inferior and were given the task of being “field slaves.” This division amongst African American people continued to become a serious issue in the culture and has created stereotypes for individuals that are light skinned and dark skinned. Since then, African Americans have been judging each other by their skin tone.
Historically, light skinned blacks have been the individuals that many feel are in the position of power because they closely resemble the aesthetics and visible characteristics of European people. For many African Americans, color bias plays a major role in how they interact with other members of their group. Growing up as a light skinned African American girl, my interactions with darker skinned females were not always pleasant. Darker skinned girls would sometimes make comments in regards to my complexion such as “light bright,” or “High yellow.” I never really become offended by these words until I was old enough to understand the seriousness behind he issue of colorism. Being that darker skinned women are often seen as the victims of colorism, it would sometime upset me that many people didn’t understand that light skinned woman also experienced hatred due to their skin complexion. I believe that that there is a color gap in privilege in the black community, and that it has historical roots in the mixed race sexual relationships of slaves and their masters. These unions created color imbalances and a distance in privilege between lighter and darker skinned Africans in America. These imbalances have traveled into the 21st century, and has remained an unfortunate issue in the black community for entirely too long.
With this video I hope to shed light on the issue of colorism through interviewing various African American women and asking them their perspective on the issue and how it has played a role in their lives.