Colorism, a Violent Crime Against Our Own
I usually do not contribute opinion pieces; however, given the current state of our culture, I feel compelled to speak directly to you... the reader.
One Friday, during the PR Collective DC's weekly debrief, I quoted Kanye West's "All Falls Down" saying, "they made us hate ourself and live their wealth."
We spoke on society's ideals as it pertained to the value of life... Black lives that is. It brought me to question, how this system has put our culture at war with ourselves and how the fight is so much bigger than it may seem.
In an interview with Olachi Morrell (@lachysword) on instagram live, Ife Agboola (@ifeagboola) ‘One African Queen’ questioned if our culture is even aware that they're committing these injustices against their own people, on a daily basis.
Ife was inclined to interview Olachi following Lachy.tv's webinar on "Rape Culture & Coulourism in the African Society" this past Friday. In a quest towards Global Sisterhood, we must pay attention to women's rights globally, and continue this conversation to bring awareness to the plight of our African sisters but also in an attempt to advance the evolution of our culture within Western society. Colorism is just as prevalent in the United States as it is in Africa; however, maybe not as bold. Olachi said, "Colorism is a little piece of the puzzle when you're talking about sexual violence again women and children in Africa and the world."
Ife and Olachi's "Let's Talk about Colourism" chat was set to be a "Healthy conversation on Colorism, it’s effects on Self esteem, gender equality, Perception on the African Continent & the Rise of Darker skinned models," said Olachi.
Prior to the chat, Ife stated "Colourism means a lot of things in the global racial context but it’s generally a preference for a lighter skin tone/Eurocentric features and the inference of superior intelligence, beauty and desirability."
She continued, "In the Nigerian context, this meant skin bleaching and the overall popularity of products that lighten & whiten. @thebeverlynaya released an amazing documentary about this, you should catch it!"
The message very well applies to Western civilization, why we need to "say no to colorism" and most importantly "find viable solutions," as Olachi suggested.
Women For The Culture, we need to understand that we have the ability to shift culture.
Olachi stated "we've been having these discussions for centuries... what's the solution...where does it come from? History plays a very important role in why the world seems to see things from a lighter perspective."
Ife reminds us that slavery was a major factor in colorism with Black culture. History shows us that being light skinned was deemed more acceptable and favorable than being of darker skin. This mentality is still evident and perpetuated today.
Olachi questioned, "Why is it that the Black race/African society is tending more towards lighter skin, why do commercials revolve around skin lightening, and why are beauty products leaning more towards skin lightening and whitening?"
In a moment of vulnerability, Ife shared that there have been times where she thought, "I need to be fairer." She recalled commercials selling the perfect life, the perfect wife... that in order to achieve happiness, you had to be fair skinned.
We allow commercials perpetuating racism to dictate what is beautiful and creates happiness. Ife said, "It's this bias and you don't even know you have it."
Olachi challenged, "If we didn't believe it, they wouldn't advertise it. It's all about the money... consumerism... what product is gonna sell." Of course corporations are going to capitalize pff of what WE believe.
Being aware that society has brainwashed us to thinking "lighter is better" is the first step to finding those "viable solutions," but more importantly, that "we've created these beauty standards around it," says Olachi. Although corporations "may not create the stereotypes, they perpetuate and capitalize off of it."
Let's embrace our color... "SELF LOVE" as Olachi says.
Let's re-examine the meaning of attractiveness... "God is of love. Love your neighbor as yourself, right? Are you saying the criteria for someone to receive your love is based on the color of their skin?," Olachi asks.
BE THE CHANGE
Shifting the Culture is possible.
Olachi says, "When we shift the culture, we benefit in the future."
She continues, "Healthy conversations allow us to shift the narrative and impact change that's going to last longer."
She used rising dark skinned models in the advertising/modeling industry, and thanks YouTubers for creating spaces and doing their part to show that representation matters, but reminds us "That's not where it ends." She continues, "It's a continuous journey of us loving ourselves for others to get with the program."
Before signing off, Olachi provided three concrete ways to stop the generational curse:
1. Love ourselves first before we demand love. In loving ourselves, we get rid of self hate. Ask yourself, who made these standards and is this God's rubric?
2. Stop promoting nonsense. Stop buying these products (skin-lightening treatments). Mute the promotion of nonsense, and it won't thrive. These products will disappear if no one is buying it. If we don't buy them, they would not sell.
3. Start promoting natural products for skin/hair... homemade. Do your research; what works for your skin, not just because it's trending? Don't be wasteful.
Olachi suggests we "practice this, then our children will see that self-love and follow our examples."
The shift is so important for the next generation.
For more information on Olachi, follow her movement on Instagram.com/lachysword!