A Short Summary of the Colorism in the Media

I always feel that people will be reading my posts which are similar to this and be thinking, “Wow, he’s brave for speaking about this topic” or something along those lines. And when you think about it, it’s kind of true. But, i’m not writing about nonsense. What I’m writing about, isn’t just me waffling on about rubbish. Let’s be open minded.

Colorism sounds like a silly little thing. Unfortunately not. It’s a big problem in society that most are blind to. Colorism has certainly effected me in my short lifetime so far. I was unaware of it too. Problems like this tend to effect people without them even noticing it.

So, what  is colorism? Colorism is a form of prejudice or discrimination in which people are treated differently based on skin tone or shade. Racism is a different mater so let’s not get the two confused. It’s definitely not about disliking black people. A lot of it is actually about black people discriminating against other black people.

I think that today in 2017, colorism is demonstrated the most in the media so that’s what I’m going to talk about. The media influences the ways that we think about each other. Whether that be about race, gender or religion.

In the matter of colorism, I think that it’s fair to say that people of colour are increasingly being represented more in the media which is great. However, the majority of coloured people being used in advertisement are light skinned. They might be black, but they’re of a lighter shade compared to the average black person. It happens a lot in modelling for be clothes or makeup.

The message that the media sends to us is that, us dark skinned kids aren’t pretty enough to be the face of a clothing line or makeup brand. The light skinned kids are the pretty ones.

Representation of darker skinned black women is getting better with examples of Beyoncé’s Ivy Park collection and Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty release. Both include models from all shades and colours from white to black, Asian to European and so on. But let’s not be dependant on black businesswomen to include a fair representation of coloured people in advertisement. Especially those who’s profession is to actually sing. We need representation to happen across the board

As a summary, colorism basically makes dark skinned people feel alienated and not worthy and the media fuels this ideology massively.

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Don’t Touch My Hair

Despite my love for Solange’s record ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ , an angry but peaceful anthem along with her visual artistry of a music video, that’s not what this post is going to be about. Let’s talk about people feeling the need to touch afro hair and the problems the come with it.

Touching my hair for your own pleasure isn’t cool. I hope that this post helps to explain and justify my reasons for why this isn’t just black people overreacting. Personally, I take offence to people who ask to touch my hair (or touch it without my permission). This is not only because it’s annoying, but I also understand why it’s problematic.

Firstly, it’s simply rude, annoying and uncomfortable for me when someone asks to touch my hair. It’s abnormal. However, people seem to think that just because my hair is has a different texture theirs that it’s okay to touch it when it pleases them.

It seems that only a small amount of people seem to understand that touching my afro hair is actually an act of a racial microaggression. A subtle, non verbal action that communicates negative messages. I do understand that it’s rarely ever done with the intention to make us, feel uncomfortable, but it does. When it comes down to the microagression, touching our hair makes us feel ‘different’ and not ‘normal’. This makes sense because people say that our hair is ‘exotic’ and ‘unfamiliar’.

Society has created a phenomenon that wearing natural afro hair comes with labels of unprofessional and deviance. These are negative labels causing black people, especially women, to make the decision not to wear their natural afro hair. They’ll wear weaves etc instead (because of the negative connotation that come along with it) which isn’t fair.

The Eurocentric beauty standards also contribute to the microagression the majority have created an idea that you’re a “beautiful” woman if you have a thin nose, white/tanned skin, a slim body, light coloured eyes and STRAIGHT HAIR. Black people just don’t naturally fit into these categories. This is why it is difficult for us to let you touch out hair because you say it feels ‘different’.

Plus, if i’m honest, there’s nothing special about my hair. It might smell good, but that’s all. So please, don’t touch my hair.