Skin Discrimination Amongst People of Color

Updated on May 16, 2019
SeviMichelleMoreno profile image

Sevon Michelle Moreno is an Afro Latina/Carribean. she writes to raise awareness about social justice issues regarding people of color.

Is Colorism Real?

Colorism is discrimination against darker skin tones. People with darker skin tend to get treated differently than those with lighter skin, and it needs to stop. So yes, colorism is very much real. Just because certain people of a lighter complexion have yet to experience discrimination based on their skin tone does not mean colorism is not real. In elementary school, I've been told I'm "too black," that I looked like a "burnt cookie" and if I was 5 shades lighter, I would be "extremely gorgeous." People can argue with me and say this is just a case of children being mean. That may be true, but it's definitely deeper than that. If darker skin was represented and shown love in the media just like lighter complexions, why would a child think anybody is "too black"? The idea that somebody is too black comes from the lack of dark skin representation; anybody who is dark-skinned doesn't fit the image of that is portrayed by the media. Isn't that a problem to you?

Miss Latina: Where are the Black/Brown Latinas?


How Did Colorism Start?

According to the article The Roots of Colorism, or Skin Tone Discrimination by Nadra Kareem Nittle, colorism started back in the slavery days. “In the United States, colorism has roots in slavery, because slave owners typically gave preferential treatment to slaves with lighter complexions” (Nittle, paragraph 2). Could this be the reason why people of lighter complexions are still treated better than darker-skinned people? The idea that whiter is better and lighter is better has been engraved in our brains since slavery. Lighter-skinned women are society's acceptable version of a person who is black, Latino or Asian.

"Colorism is real. My youngest sister, who is darker than me, was looking sad one day. I asked her what’s wrong. She said, “nothing.” I asked her again. She told me she was being made fun of at school because she has dark skin. She was in the 7th grade at the time. It pains me to know that my sister has to go through that. That that is, in fact, a stage in every dark-skinned black girl. I had to fight my mom to stop buying my sister lotions that promise to lighten her skin."

— Patience Zalanga, "Colorism Is Real"

Why do you think places like Africa, India, Korea, and the Middle East promote the use of skin bleach so often? They're letting there darker-skinned people know that lighter is better. Why do you think the Latin community doesn't proudly show off us Afro-Latinos like they do white Latinos and Mestizo Latinos? Because “lighter is better.” “If you're black, stay back; if you're brown, stick around; if you're yellow you're mellow; if you're white, you're alright” (Nittle paragraph 1). This same mindset has emerged from slavery and followed us for years. It's even in music! Rappers often refer to lighter skinned women as “redbones” and praises them as well as white women, leaving darker toned women left out. For that reason, I refuse to support a music artist who is a colorist. Women are beautiful, powerful creatures and we should all have recognition. I will not support those who praise one skin tone and not the other.

Skin Bleaching Promotion


People of Color Are Beautiful

People of color come in all shades and it's beautiful, we are versatile and come in a variety and we all should all be appreciated but it starts with yourself first. Acceptance is the first step to making a difference. I and anybody who feels they're not enough because of the color of their skin needs to erase that from their mind. Loving the skin you're in makes a difference because it fights against every negative stereotype about skin tone. It is the first step to self-acceptance. Loving yourself means every bit of yourself, being confident and knowing your worth. I love the skin that I'm in and I don't live for friends, men or anyone but myself. When you live to impress other people, you will never be 100% satisfied.

Once you start doing things to please the opposite party, you're not gonna be happy with yourself. Which is why we should support and accept other people of color, people of all skin tones. This makes a difference because it shows love to all People of color. We all came such a long way and we should be proud, our skin tones do not matter.

Colorism has once affected my views on myself because it made me feel I wasn't good enough for my own race (black) and my own ethnicity (Latina). It made me feel my dark skin was not what society saw as beautiful because of the lack of representation and the negative stereotype surrounding dark skin. I had to learn that no one will be perfect in the eyes in society and that society's beauty standards should not matter. I'm unique and I'm beautiful. I am a dark chocolate Caribbean mami and I'm proud.


© 2019 Sevon Michelle Moreno


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