Colorism in the age of Trump

The Trump administration has ushered in such chaos in our country, it’s hard to know what to bash first. Trump has pretty much confirmed that he is incompetent, as well as cold-blooded. I’m still tripping off the fact he said “good luck” literally with his thumbs up, regarding the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey. He has also used it as an opportunity to peddle his wares.

So, talking about colorism can seem out-of-place, even insignificant. However,  it actually connects to the bigger issue facing our nation. The resurgence of white supremacy rhetoric, a hostility that Trump has not tried to squash. It highlights the importance of tackling the problem of colorism. Black folks need to get hardcore about calling out folks who engage in this behavior. Their antics contribute to the overall oppression of the Black community.

Those who espouse colorstruck comments are no different from white supremacists. Hell, they are white supremacists. When you position lighter-skinned folks as better, more beautiful, more worthy…essentially you are upholding anti-blackness.

Colorism generally tends to be aimed at darker-skinned Black women. Probably, because women’s status in an imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy, is based on attractiveness. Black women, in particular are valued more if their looks align closer to white standards of beauty. This summer quite a few folks have shown who they are. Folks like Gilbert Arenas, Kodak Black, and Amber Rose have made it clear that they are white supremacists.

Arenas’s colorist attitude has been especially disturbing. He’s fixated on actress, Lupita Nyong’o He has attacked her several times in the media. Arenas’s public degradation of Nyong’o skin tone speaks to an alarming display of misogynoir.

Gilbert Arenas says Lupita Nyong’o ‘ain’t cute’ in tirade about dark-skinned women

Arenas married and divorced a light-skinned woman of color. He has treated her like crap via social media. That is what I find interesting about men like Arenas. They trash darker-skinned Black women, but mistreat their trophy light women. There is obviously something lacking within themselves. They have a hatred for all women, but they zero in on darker-skinned Black women. Probably because folks recognize dark Black women are the least protected in our society. They know they can humiliate us with little recourse.

I didn’t even know what a Kodak Black was, until he made headlines for disparaging darker-skinned Black women. The rapper has been able to elicit some sympathy from folks. Besides, emphasizing his disgust for dark Black women he shared about disliking his skin tone. Folks have argued that explains his contempt for darker-skinned Black women. Meh. If Black felt such pain about what he has gone through as a darker person, why would he then turn around and inflict that same pain on people he doesn’t even know. These people insist on making HUGE public announcements about why they loathe dark-skinned Black women. We’re out here minding our business, when these fools come with the nonsense. Getting loud, telling us how much they dislike us. Okay, well f*ck you too.

Amber Rose expressed sadness for Black, but it wasn’t long before she was making her own insulting comments about dark-skinned Black women. Albeit, she was a bit subtler about it.

Amber Rose Makes Questionable Comments About South Philly Women

Rose stated in an interview that the women of South Philly weren’t traditionally pretty like she was. She was talking about her childhood in a predominantly Black neighborhood.  If you read between the lines, basically she was saying dark-skinned Black girls didn’t like her because she was light/mixed. Rose has often tried to position herself as a victim of “reverse colorism.” She feels she has had it just as bad if not more so than darker-skinned Black women.

The fact that Rose believes this is quite telling. Particularly, as she has been championed by mostly brown to darker-skinned Black women. Millennial Black women rallied around her when she spoke about being bullied/harassed by Kayne West.  It’s been Black feminists who have supported her anti-slut shaming campaign.

Ambiguous women like Rose, have just enough Blackness to get their foot into the door of the Black community. They tend to use this opportunity to stand on the backs of darker-skinned Black women. Light women get a lot of privilege, and they know it. Especially, in spaces like hip-hop culture/the music industry that Rose is part of.  They have no qualms oppressing dark-skinned Black women, as long as they get theirs.

Colorstruck folks want to control darker-skinned Black women. They expect our loyalty while marginalizing us. They negate our experiences while making sure to put a spotlight on their own. These people sh*t on darker-skinned Black women, but when sh*t hits the fan and they find themselves in trouble (amusingly, when something racist happens to them), they want dark-skinned Black women to come to their aid. Nah. In the words of Maxine Waters, we are “reclaiming our time.” Darker-skinned Black women will no longer be folks whipping board.

Recently, transgender model Munroe Bergdorf was dropped as a spokesperson for L’Oréal.  I don’t mess with L’Oréal. Their makeup is for white/beige people. Darker-skinned Black women aren’t even on the radar of L’Oréal. As a conscious activist, I’m curious to know why Berdorf would accept a gig from them to begin with. However, she makes great comments on the insidious nature of white supremacy.  It connects to how colorism is used to perpetuate racism.

Author: Tonya J.

I enjoy reading, writing, and traveling!

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