What is colorism? Colorism is discrimination based on skin color, a form of prejudice or discrimination in which human beings are treated differently based on the social meanings attached to skin color.
This scholar lecture discussion was not a light skin versus dark skin discussion. It was a powerful and passionate sharing of personal experiences. It sought to explore how colorism negatively impacts Black women’s lives psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, economically and politically. One of the many questions asked
was Why is Lupita Nyongo’ important to Black women?
Lupita Nyongo is important and is a symbol to Black women and girls of color because she exemplifies positive self esteem, ethnic and cultural pride. She embraces the beauty of her complexion. This embracing did not happen without personal struggle. The struggle to learn to love herself living in a society which demonizes Black women and defines Black women as unattractive, undesirable and angry. We also wanted to address bleaching. Black women largely on the African continent and the carribean bleaching their skin and rejecting their ethnic and cultural heritage. We attempted as individuals and collectively to go beyond the surface. We wanted to debunk the myth that Black women do not love themselves and are dying to be white. Striving at any cost to achieve societies white skin, blue eyes blond hair standard. We wanted to bring together women and girls who love themselves and are proud of their ethnic and cultural heritage. We came together to work for solutions and strategies.
What do we know for sure? We know many Black women and women of color are in desperate need of healing and restoration. We know our very lives depend on us as Black women changing and replacing the present
paradigm embedded in a white supremacist misogynist patriarchal ideology.
Featured speakers were poet/writer/educator Mercy Tullis- Bukhari,
mental health and bereavement counselor Lorraine Currelley and licensed social worker/therapist Lora Rene’Tucker. Mercy Tullis-Bukhari an Afro-Latina spoke of colorism within the Hispanic community. The consensus was and remains, Black women are in trouble. Lacking self love, and self esteem crisis. Black women and girls are walking around with damaged psyches and spirits.
This was an interactive workshop. Stories and poems were part of the process. Literature was distributed and attendees were assured of the safety of the space and that if speaking all confidentiality would be honored. Attendees spoke passionately about their experiences. Therapists, and counselors were present. Attendees left feeling empowered and determined to return to their communities with information and to work to eradicate this crisis and empower Black women and girls.
©Lorraine Currelley 2014. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author is strictly prohibited.