“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”
HISTORY OF COLORISM
These are words spoken by Malcolm X in 1962 and those words still reverberate through the decades of racial history. It’s unfortunate how much truth those words withhold and not much has changed for the black woman of today. On the top of 2020, on twitter, Dreamville’s R&B songstress, Ari Lennox along with Teyana Taylor’s facial features were compared to Rottweilers. A dog. An animal. In response, Ari Lennox makes a statement saying, “People hate blackness so bad.” This is an example of colorism and internalized racism. Throughout the history of oppression, black people have always been coined as lesser to white supremacy. It was only about 150 years ago during the Jim Crow era that black Americans were only worth three-fifths of a man. In other words, black people weren’t considered as people or as humans but a mere species. Through the white lens, black Americans were characterized as animals and property.
INTERNALIZED RACISM & COLORISM
What’s disturbing about comparing a black woman to a dog is how it’s being said by a black man. As stated in his tweet, “Ari Lennox and Teyana Taylor’s ability to have dangerously high sex appeal while simultaneously looking like rottweilers will always amaze me.” This reinforces these derogatory themes that stem from the ideals and views of White Supremacy. Those themes are dehumanizing and anti-blackness.
In regards to these comments coming from a black man is disheartening as it also shows internalized racism and a case of misogynoir. It’s an example of self-hatred within your own blackness and the black community. This strengthens the common stereotype would be mentioning how black women are loud, uncontrollable, or always angry. This rejects their pain and oppression that’s justifiable.
Andre 3000 wore an outfit that captions “Across cultures, darker people suffer the most, why?” Well, colorism. Colorism has been an issue among all cultures and people; where skin tones determine your privilege and life. Colorism has been tracked down from slavery and it was served as an erasure of blackness and the black identity.
Alice Walker’s In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens, first coined the term back in 1983. From having dark skin, wide noses and thicker lips, it was undesirable and animalistic through the white lens. Black people with lighter complexions were rewarded with much more privilege as they have a closer resemblance to whiteness. Hence why light-skin slaves gotten the privilege to live inside their white slave-masters’ homes. Even in media, there aren’t many light-skin women or men perhaps that aren’t being ridiculed as much if they were of a darker complexion.
PREFERENCE VS RACISM
Black men and men in general (according to them) would rather date a light skin woman instead because they were more submissive. What’s problematic about this preference is because it speaks to having a slave mentality. It’s literal slavery and wanting to silence their voices. This stems back to how we live in a white supremacist society where they always held white women as the pinnacle of beauty as well as being fragile and soft. These euro-centric standards are pushed heavily in the media to where it has socially conditioned so many consciousnesses.
Can’t imagine how traumatizing and detrimental it is the black women’s couscous to not only be accepted in society but not within her own community as well. This is why the Internet criticized Kodak Black’s dangerous comment on his preference of only dating black women who are lighter than his own complexion. We must know the difference from having a preference is what you prefer, not what you deny what is beautiful.
In time, let’s hope we can day abolish racism, sexism, and colorism. We need to start educating and being mindful of ourselves, we can un-condition ourselves from these white supremacist views that have been instilled within us for years. We must have these uncomfortable but necessary conversations within our communities, holding ourselves accountable. Teaching ourselves self-love and learning to love your own skin and culture is vital.