Colorism Or What

Hani Mohamed, Reporter

In late October, 36-year-old Jamaican artist Grace Hamilton, better known as “Spice,” released a song called “Black Hypocrisy” on YouTube and posted photos of herself with artificially lightened skin on her Instagram page to highlight and criticize the phenomenon of colorism and the culture of skin-bleaching.

Colorism, also called shadeism, refers to a form of prejudice or discrimination in which people are treated differently based on the social meanings attached to skin color. The devaluation of people with dark skin has fueled the growth of a world-wide multi-billion-dollar industry focused on whitening skin through potentially harmful methods.

Colorism is all  over the world, from India to Jamaica. This is where dark skinned people are treated inferior to lighter skinned people. Dark skinned people are made to feel less than because of their skin tone. This later leads to some dark skinned people taking large measures to seem beautiful and accepted by society’s standards, even if it means change their skin color and eye color.

“I chose to do this in the manner I did because I believe Colorism is plagiarizing our black community,” Hamilton said on her Instagram.

Her song talks about colorism and how people with darker skin should accept the skin they came in, even when others may not. This kind of message is inspirational to many people who are insecure or have doubts about their skin tone. This message can also be accepted by any person with any insecurities, such as body dysmorphia.

Aas a black teenage girl in the West can relate to this message in so many levels. There are so many things that other people may not be fond about in us but we should not forget worth nor let it get us down.

This idea that lighter skin is beautiful did not just come from nowhere. These ideals where placed there for quite some time and seem to grow since we have been feeding into them. Many things contribute to colorism such as saying “You’re too dark” or “We can only see your eyes and teeth in the dark.” These are words that degrade and devalue people of color.

I personally have heard this many times in both as a joke to a friend and has an insult to someone else. These kinds of phrases make people see dark skin as awful and  disgusting and a person who has dark skin feel insecure and shameful.

“There are dark skinned women across the world complaining every day that they are being downplayed and degraded,” Hamilton wrote on Instagram. “But the raw truth is, it is us black women and black men that are fighting against each other and tearing down our own race.”

In other words Spice is saying that colorism comes from within. That even if you yourself are a person of color, you can still participate in colorism. Colorism is a system to divide dark from light. Anyone, whether they be dark or light can play into this system. Spice encourages black people in particular to uplift and boost each other.

As humans we should respect and cherish each other’s difference. Whether it be skin color, gender, race, nationality, size and shape.