Shares

By: Nia X

Dealing with the harsh realities of racism, sexism, ageism or any other ‘ism’ in the world is a repeated offense, one that is constantly perpetuated in media and in society.

One particular ‘ism’ that tends to be overlooked (so much that it’s taboo to talk about) is colorism.

For those of you who may not have heard the term “colorism” or are still fairly new to its meaning and history, here is a little “Education 101.”

col·or·ism:

  1. 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”

As it’s mentioned in the above definition and example, “Colorism in the black community has been a serious emotional and psychological battle” that can be traced back to slavery and is (sadly) still happening today.

Recently, an online media personality by the name of MJ That Media Gurl took to her social media (Instagram) and shared her experience on allegedly being discriminated against by a black man at a very well- known rapper’s Super Bowl party. According to the young lady who received an invite, her friend she brought with her (who happened to be light-skinned) was told, “You should not have brought dark meat.”

In the video, MJ said The Game’s alleged cousin wanted to kick her out because of the color of her skin.

 

The video received much support with users expressing their disgust at what allegedly happened, while others felt her message was convoluted in transition because she “name dropped” to possibly attract attention.

This is not unusual for people to be in denial and to write off a person’s experience with discrimination, especially within the black community. This issue is even more real in the entertainment industry, and as someone who personally works in this field, I can confirm that the ignorance of colorism is alive and well.

I immediately resonated with MJ’s frustration with experiencing colorism. While I have never been kicked out of an event, I have felt it and experienced it on a different level. Like racism, colorism is not limited to or as blatant to being called things like “darkey,” “blacky,” “tar baby” and any other derogatory word to identify someone by the color of their skin.

It is felt through seeing others who have lighter complexions than myself be treated with favoritism by getting opportunities more easily than myself, simply because they had the “right”
skin color and not necessarily because they are better. It’s when you see in magazines and music videos and the lead girl is often light-skinned, or being bombarded with images of famous men with lighter-skinned black women or non-black women, creating the illusion that no man is interested in brown or dark-skinned women in real life.

I have a friend who is brown-skinned, and every now and then she shares her insecurities with me about the “brown-skinned” experience. She is a beautiful young lady, a go-getter. She recently graduated college with major opportunities she is pursuing in the entertainment industry. She has constantly expressed her frustration that every time she goes to an industry event or when she is invited to a celebrity’s house, she feels like the “odd” one out, because most of the women all look the same– light-skinned with voluptuous curves, and light eyes.

I tell her all the time she is beautiful (which she is) and not for a “brown-skinned girl”– she just is. She constantly fights on a daily basis to not alter herself to look like the women who are constantly praised and glorified in the industry and getting opportunities because they are the “cute, light-skinned” type. I had to talk her out of not bleaching her skin.

The longer we pretend that this issue does not exist, the worse it could get, and to immediately dismiss the experience that MJ allegedly had (just because she “named dropped”), does not mean we should ignore the issue that plagues the entertainment industry and the black community. If we’re being honest, it happens within all races. We must continue to raise awareness in order to bring about a resolution to this disease.