Colorism isn’t a word, but it is. You see colorism was coined by Alice Walkeris meaning prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on the color of their skin. It is not the same as racism. Colorism is stigma associated with dark skin. Let me explain.At the age of 7, I didn’t understand why it was a bad thing for my skin to turn darker. I mean sure it was hot and sunny but I just wanted to play with my friends. At the age of 9, I started getting self conscious about my skin but I didn’t let that hold me back from going outside. At the age of 13, I started staying in doors when the sun was out because I didn’t want a dark tan. At the age of 16, while everyone told me they wish they had a tan like me I wanted to be lighter. At the age of 21, I started realizing that colorism was a big part of not just Asian countries but all around the world and I slowly started learning to love my skin.
It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and not be comfortable with who you are. I was brought up in an environment that assocated lighter skin with beauty. My parent’s never made a big deal about my skin color but those meaningless comments that shouldn’t have mattered much stayed with me for through the years. They let me know how much darker I was compared to siblings. I didn’t get the fairer complexion of my mother and rosey cheeks. I’ve even heard people say ” oh I pray the baby doesn’t get the parent’s dark skin tone”. How crazy is that? It’s not like the baby can select its skin color like a sims character. If you’ve never experienced this in your life it probably sounds like I’m makeing it up. Maybe even exaggerated but ask any Asian, Hispanic, or African person and they will more than likely tell you how real this is.
Over the years I started wondering about how many children all over the world are raised to believe that their skin color is ugly or undesirable. I’ve seen it enough in my own life to know that it’s an underlying issue that doesn’t get taken seriously. Often times seen as a joke, since it’s not physically hurting anyone. It took me a long time to be proud of my skin but I shouldn’t have ever been taught to be ashamed of it. We as a society must do more to make sure that we are all represented.
I don’t want to see “Fair and Lovely” creams being promoted. Skin bleaching should be banned. I don’t want to see my foundation being the 3rd to last shade in a brand. I want deeper skin tones represented across all brands. Not just a couple of shades as an after thought but a wide range of undertones. Talking about your tarte, benefit cosmetics, it cosmetics, Marc jacobs, and hundred other brands. Why are we constantly judging and critiquing others on standards that don’t make sense? Who decided that out of 7.6 billion people on this planet that only a certain percentage of them are automatically considered desirable because of their skin color? I’m done with the b.s.
Each and every person deserves to be celebrated for who they are as a person, skin color and all. I believe that our skin shows our heritage, whether you are black, brown, yellow, or white. At the end of the day beauty comes in many different shapes, sizes, colors, and actions. I can’t go back in time to tell my younger self this but I can help someone out there feel beautiful in their skin.
(Also, if you haven’t seen Black Panther go and watch it!! I can’t tell you how mesmerized I was by the way Lupita Nyongo’s skin glowed through the whole movie.)