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« on: April 24, 2012, 01:44:24 PM »

The Issue of Colorism

Dark-Skinned Girls, Light-Skinned Girls



By By Akilah Holder, BA, MA
April 7, 2012 - trinidadexpress.com


For the most part of my life, I have had to deal with the drama of being stereotyped from the moment I step into a room because of my light-brown complexion. The animosity directed my way is usually intensified by the length of my hair and my mannerisms. And most of this animosity comes from my own sex, the darker-skinned of my own sex. This animosity seems to be indicative of and to be a result of colorism, defined as a conscious or unconscious state of prejudice that may be experienced by both blacks and whites so that they label as less attractive and intelligent individuals of a darker complexion, particularly, when it comes to black women, as explicated by research editor for the New York Times Magazine Renee Michael in her article Dark Times for Dark Girls on a recent documentary Dark Girls. Colorism, whether acknowledged or not, is present in Trinidad and Tobago. Colorism has also been referred to as "the crazy aunt in the attic of racism" by Washington Post staff writer, DeNeen L Brown. This article looks at the roots of colorism and how it has impacted the interaction of dark-skinned women with light-skinned women and at this interaction as an indicator of the low self-esteem of many dark-skinned women.

According to Brown in her article, The Legacy of Colorism Reflects Wounds of Racism That Are More Than Skin-Deep, "Colorism began during slavery when darker-skinned blacks were relegated to field work and lighter-skinned blacks, often the children of slave masters, were given housework. For years after, many blacks…internalised the declaration that the lighter one was the better one." In other words, that whites allowed those of a lighter complexion certain privileges and denied those of a darker complexion those privileges, created in the minds of blacks the notion that "light" is better. In addition, the selling of lighter-skinned women into prostitution or to slave masters to become their mistresses helped to concretise the idea that light skin is better (http://www.history.com/videos/origins-of-slavery#origins-of-slavery). It can be argued safely, that while racism instilled in blacks more generally a feeling and a sense of inferiority, blacks of a darker complexion suffered a "double-whammy" as they had to contend with prejudice not only from whites but also from blacks; darker-skinned women in particular have felt the sting of colorism. Michael noted in her article an expression popular in the African-American community, "If you are light, you are all right. If you are brown, you can stick around. If you are black, get back," that though not necessarily articulated here, exists here.

This insecurity is seen, in part, in their interaction with black women of lighter complexions; their insecurities and feelings of inferiority are seen in their hostility towards women of a lighter complexion. I am a victim of that hostility and have discovered in the course of doing this article, that there are other light-skinned women like myself who have undergone the same thing. In fact, I have conducted a few interviews to support my point.* Kelly-Ann Jacobs has lamented that whenever issuing orders at work she is met with resistance from her dark-skinned female subordinates because of her light skin tone. Jacobs has admitted that initially, she was unaware of the racial tension at play until another co-worker had pulled her aside and explained to her that her light complexion antagonises her subordinates; to them, she is arrogant, "feel she white" and "feel she dey". Jacobs' mannerisms worsen the situation. Her sister has had similar experiences. On one occasion, while at a restaurant, she became aware of a dark-skinned woman cursing and it took her some time before she had realised that the woman was "dropping words" for her: "because dey fair-skinned and could dress, she feel she in sumting.'" She's even been accused of trying to be white because she dyes her hair frequently. Interestingly, a black male friend of mine has lamented in one of our recent conversations, that most definitely, there is tension between women of a darker-complexion and those of a lighter complexion, for he has noted it in their interactions with each other in his neighbourhood.

Conclusively, colorism exists here in Trinidad and Tobago. This sub-category of racism results in feelings of insecurity in many dark-skinned women which influences their behaviour towards black women of a lighter complexion (again, this being, perhaps, just one symptom of their insecurities as a result of colorism). However, it is a state of mind that many dark-skinned women must overcome*.

Author's Note: Sandra "Singing Sandra" Des Vignes-Millington sang in 2009 about the "ghetto of the mind." Oftentimes, as human beings, we place limitations on ourselves with our thinking. Another human being should not have to apologise for how they look, simply because another fails to be content with his/herself; for in the end, the other person is not the problem, but the individual who is not contented. The trick is to be ok with "you".

*Pseudonyms have been used to protect the identity of those interviewed.

http://www.trinidadexpress.com/woman-magazine/The_Issue_of_Colorism-146560645.html


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Zaynab
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2012, 12:06:09 PM »

I should think that someone who has a 'higher' level of education should have a better understanding of Colorism and desist subjecting readers to his/her limited and or personal views on the topic.
Yes, it is true. Colorism does still exist and is very evident in this country however, it is not as easy a fix/ "trick" as " to be ok with "you".

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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2012, 02:42:23 PM »

Reply to "The Issue of Colorism: Dark-Skinned Girls, Light-Skinned Girls"



By Leslie
April 25, 2012 - africaspeaks.com


The article “The Issue of Colorism” written by Akilah Holder in the April 7th 2012, Trinidad Express newspaper raised a number of points regarding colorism, but none was more poignant than the fact that the writer herself is clearly challenged by the topic which she is attempting to address. Holder’s article gives the impression that light skinned people are the main victims of colorism. I do agree that “Colorism, whether acknowledged or not, is present in Trinidad and Tobago” but the article is misleading and ill-informing at best. Holder believes that she experiences colorism in her workplace. For her, this is evidenced by the treatment – negative attitudes - of her darker-hued co-workers toward her. Not knowing the specifics of the author’s work environment, I can only speak from a general understanding of colorism, the workplace, the home and the society at large.

Because our still very patriarchal society values light skin over dark, dark skinned females are invariably most subjected to unfair bias and negative stereotypes. Conversely, lighter skinned persons suffer less negative discrimination which is roughly proportional to how close they are to the white ideal. Age, perceived levels of education, social standing in society among other things may factor into how people are treated along race and colour lines.

Light skinned colour and long, straight or curly hair textures are all annexed to the ideal of whiteness or European ancestry and mixed ethnicity whereas short, kinky hair, broad nose, along with dark skin identifies with African ancestry and is ultimately negatively stereotyped. This is also evident from her statement regarding Shelly-Ann Jacobs - “She's even been accused of trying to be white because she dyes her hair frequently.” Dyeing one’s hair, specifically various shades of blond, is most often done either deliberately or unconsciously to mimic whiteness, and in an already fair skinned or mixed race person, to emphasize the European features that she already has.

Given that Holder provided quotes and paraphrases from persons who appear to have studied the subject of colorism, the conclusion she draws demonstrates a lack of understanding about the same information that she quotes. A similar lack of understanding of colorism and its effects can be found in Alidra Nicholas’ article “The Plight of the ‘Red Woman’ in T&T” published in the April 21st Trinidad Express newspaper which speaks about colorism affecting light skinned folks.

On the colour hierarchical scale people readily accept snobbish, boorish and elitist attitudes from those who are lighter in complexion. Even light skinned folks receive negative discrimination from persons who are more light skinned than they are but accept or tolerate it. Most people don’t think much of these poor attitudes because of the assumed benefits that they derive from being in the company of lighter skinned folks while the same poor conduct is emulated and unleashed upon persons of darker hue. It is often the case that from a young age children are trained, particularly through their family, to tolerate arrogant, spoilt and selfish behaviour from fairer hued persons but reject and cry down far less repulsive behaviours from darker peers. Often, darker skinned folks are more tolerant of the disgusting behaviours of lighter skinned folks once they are “friends” with them.

Besides the fact that light skinned persons are more favoured for senior positions in the work place, for example, a light skinned person is more inclined to show indifference to dark skinned folks, not defend them in situations that warrants it, not reward or recognise them equally for diligence in their tasks, not praise them in situations where they are deserving, unfairly delay addressing their requests, not recommend them for promotions etc. Because these issues are so prevalent in society at large and in the work place some darker skinned blacks could be reacting to these attitudes and not simply envy due to someone’s light skinned complexion.

The writer makes two comments about the jealousy of dark skinned individuals toward lighter skinned ones based on the ‘mannerisms’ of light skinned persons: “The animosity directed my way is usually intensified by the length of my hair and my mannerisms” and “Jacobs has admitted that initially, she was unaware of the racial tension at play until another co-worker had pulled her aside and explained to her that her light complexion antagonises her subordinates; to them, she is arrogant, ‘feel she white’ and ‘feel she dey.’ Jacobs' mannerisms worsen the situation.”

Could it be that the display of certain ‘mannerisms’ (whether wittingly or unwittingly) meted out to darker-skinned co-workers by lighter skinned counterparts worsen the treatment received from them? Could these mannerisms allude to some degree of aloofness, disdain or arrogance? Do these mannerisms refer to them (Holder and Jacobs) being more “sophisticated” based on their perceived physical attributes? These mannerisms, that is to say, attitudes and behaviours, can vary from flippancy, disdain to outright disrespect and may contribute to hostile reactions. Many light skinned ones develop a sense of entitlement as a result of their perceived desirability and are resultantly snobbish, perhaps armoured with the awareness that they are closer to the white ideal than their darker skinned counterparts. Most dark skinned ones have also bought into the notion of light and lighter skinned superiority and, as a result, tolerate poor attitudes and conduct from lighter skinned ones. Thus, when Holder speaks as though she is the victim of negative colour prejudice, it seems disingenuous.

In fact, light skinned ones cannot claim victimization at the hands of dark skinned ones; the term victimization implies systemic disadvantage and dark skinned ones do not have that power in this system where white and light is valued over black. Light skinned ones, however, can claim to be subjected to envy and even so, most do not complain. What this writer projects, rather than being the victim of colorism, is a shallow dismissal of dark skinned people, many of whom would be envious of her privilege… a kind of “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” attitude.

The writer only speaks about the insecurities of darker skinned females as though lighter skinned females don’t have insecurities of their own. All people suffer from insecurities of one type or the other, especially based on how they look as they all vie to fit into the Eurocentric ideal of beauty. Most whites can’t even fit this ideal. Dark skinned Africans who are vying to attain a measure of “success” in this Eurocentric world have much to feel insecure about which can be addressed by developing a good measure of consciousness of themselves in this world. For example, persons such as the writer who are neither very fair nor very dark may desire to be fairer and may even perceive themselves to be fairer than they actually are. However, they may not get the kind of attention and privileges that fairer skinned persons receive and are continuously inhibited by that gap between their perception and reality.

The arrogance of the writer is clear when she states that colorism “is a state of mind that many dark-skinned women must overcome.” She sees it as a problem of “other” people: not “we light skinned people” but “them dark skinned ones.” Colorism is not just a state of mind for dark skinned people alone to work on but a social problem for all to address. I suppose she feels that dark skinned people should accept the status quo without complaint; accept that light skinned ones are preferred as children by parents as well as the wider society, treated better in the classroom by peers and teachers alike, promoted in the workplace often not necessarily based on merit as PhD student at the University of Georgia, Michael Harrison concludes in his study, get higher salaries, get off the hook far more than dark skinned persons for similar offences, are more desired by members of the opposite sex (or same sex) as sexual partners, among other things. Apparently, there is no need for light skinned individuals to check themselves to see if their attitudes and often undeserved privileges may be the reason why some darker individuals are resentful. Dark skinned individuals should slavishly accept societal notions that they are ugly (especially the darkest, broadest nose, fattest, shortest, kinkiest haired of them all), would be judged, not on their ability but on how society views them based on colour hierarchy, would be least favoured by members of their own families, peers, and the work place…they must be servile…don’t say a word…not a wince nor snicker. The issue here is not just about whether darker skinned persons are contented or not about how they look, but about how people (both light and dark skinned) treat dark skinned persons based on their appearance and genetic identity. The problem is also how most people tolerate the poor conduct and excesses of lighter skinned folks.

No one, as Holder suggests, is asking light skinned people to “apologise for how they look.” However, it would be in society’s best interest if we all examine issues such as colorism and see whether poor attitudes can be corrected. Of course, an evaluation of colorism may be seen as a threat to one’s own privilege in the system so most prefer to shy away from examination of this issue. Light-skinned people may prefer to forego self-assessment and place blame on those most disadvantaged by negative colour prejudice. As the writer lamely states, “The trick is to be ok with "you". But being okay with one’s self means a total rejection of a system that values white over brown over black. It means tackling the issue head-on whenever and wherever it arises. It means not trying to fit in with the straightened hair, hair weaves, bleaching creams and coloured contact lenses. It means not accepting poor and demeaning attitudes from light skinned ones who would rather bask in their privilege than challenge a system that is clearly unjust. Often, dark skinned ones do not examine their own conduct in upholding these negative prejudices and are protective of their light skinned friends when it comes to addressing colorism because they want to fit in. So being okay with one’s self is to become conscious, confident and courageous, and not cower to light skinned privilege, racism and all other social ills.

http://www.africaspeaks.com/articles/2012/2504.html
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diyouth
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2012, 04:24:44 AM »

colorism, another intellectual redefinition;
or does one really think by "exposing" someones said 'colorism' someone will change???

write endless books an articles as to why some behave an think the way they do,
is like continually reminding a youth why he will not 'make it' pass age 25....
saying because he's black, colorism, lazy, doesn't help him nor the issue....IMO


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Zaynab
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2012, 09:51:50 PM »

A straightforward, properly articulated and analysed article was written to redress a faulty and ignorant perception of colorism. However, not all truths that are visible, brought to the surface or made apparent are properly perceived. There are some things that ignorance and complete denial will take some a lengthy time to overstand.

Diyouth,
I say this to you, to assess.
Exposing views held by others that are not truth, intentionally causes others to think and re-analyse his/her position on an issue. The goal is not to give you opinions but facts. It is not to challenge you to engage anyone with your opinions but instead with your gains of the experience. Don't say what you think, what did you learn? The challenge lies, not on answering information but assessing and assimilating information. So you can move away from the shadow of your opinions and face the facts as articulated 'head on'.
IMO, opinions are un-analysed thoughts. There is nothing wrong with forming them, however when you have 'more to go on' you should.

The idea that an individual will "change" (his/her thinking) if their misinformation is ‘exposed’ is not the only reason for "exposing" people's mi-directed opinions/arrogance. It is not only good to expose people so that they may challenge/analyse the basis for their position on an issue etc., but by "exposing" one untruth/mis-informed person others become more informed. Whether or not people accept truths is not and should not be the ultimate focus/goal of correcting them. If you don't know better, then you should be told. This is so, especially when you are pedalling misinformation.



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diyouth
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2012, 05:45:30 AM »

As it relates to colorism,
Akilah concludes her article implying the problem to be the "individual (dark-skinned) who is not contented".
In response, Leslie concludes her own article implying that individuals (dark/light-skinned) who "cower to light skinned privilege, racism and all other social ills" are the ones not contented.

(As well both articles are similar to the previous argument whether 'blacks' without 'systematic' 'privilege' can be racist towards 'whites' who claim 'victim'.)

Zaynab Muhammad,

Given from both articles, colorism assessed an analyzed identifies or "exposes" the individual(s) who cower or is discontent with their self.
IMObservation as a dark-skinned male in North America, in respect to both articles, 'cower', 'discontent', colorism, racism, are only identified
'hardly' dealt or defeated 'head-on'; nothing changes just identified (its limitation).

Analytical approach, assessment sans opinion, continuously identifies a la intellectualizing.
As well the analytical approach in the order of gaining factual information,
requires one to be 'highly educated' an versed with the grasp of concepts from previous assessments, as such, colorism.
So when it comes to dialogue only the 'highly educated' are worth engaging even though the issue affects irrespective of who is or isn't 'highly educated'. As if only certain people know it all and should make decision on all our behalf.
Yet I'm implying that even being informed through someones mistakes/correction of analytical content, though intellectually edifying, still changes nothing just identifies.

I'm not saying assessing is wrong, yet the conclusion or the "use" of the assessment, analysis,
is opinionative or willful in nature. This brings conflict, I assume is the reason why you say Diyouth assess and omit those IMOpinions...I give thanks...this brings to mind whether Akilah confronted 'head-on', the individuals whom she, in-a-way, wrote an whole article about, even though she mentioned in her opening paragraph that it seemed to be 'colorism'...yet how could she have been sure? through assessment? can assessment ever be complete? these questions are part of that assessment/analysis/examination, yes?...



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diyouth
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2012, 06:26:07 AM »

http://www.africaspeaks.com/reasoning/index.php?topic=2388.0
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Zaynab
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2012, 01:52:40 AM »

Colorism has reared its head countless times. This is so whether or not you or other individuals like yourself have experienced it.
Most of us are either too blind/contented in the present system (the way things are) to see it.
There is no denying. Most of us have a who cares stance on many issues. Generally,if it does not affect us directly ,then to us, it does not exist.


"Yet I'm implying that even being informed through someones mistakes/correction of analytical content, though intellectually edifying, still changes nothing just identifies."

Being aware of a problem is the first step to finding solutions.
The process to working out problems: (1)Identify the problem,(2) define the problem (3) work on solving the problem. It is difficult to move through the problem solving process if (1) there is no admission of the problem, (2) there is no understanding of the problem.
Most people are not aware of the term colorism but their experience with it ring true.They generally may not be able to explain/understand this discrimination but they identify with it.The problem is that, those who have not experienced this type of discrimination are rarely convinced it exists(The elephant in the room).


"the analytical approach in the order of gaining factual information,
requires one to be 'highly educated' an versed with the grasp of concepts from previous assessments, as such, colorism.
So when it comes to dialogue only the 'highly educated' are worth engaging even though the issue affects irrespective of who is or isn't 'highly educated'. As if only certain people know it all and should make decision on all our behalf."  


To address your issue concerning someone who is "highly educated" reasoning issues. "...a person can observe a specific problem or a clear gap in knowledge that they feel must be addressed" and do so.
However not only someone who is "highly educated" can derive at facts about this issue or reason this issue. Experience is also an important analysis tool. Yet,some may have the experience but be unaware of it, not uncommon.(people who live'in a bubble') With that said, someone who can fully delve into the issue, or who is "highly educated" on the issue can offer an informed perspective. Work on making people aware of things THEN USE THAT AWARENESS TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM.

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diyouth
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2012, 08:19:19 AM »

"(1)Identify the problem,(2) define the problem (3) work on solving the problem"

Why can't #3 be "solve problem" ?
"work on solving the problem" sounds like 1, 3 all over again...when is it complete.....

...Let say an example of #3 is spreading awareness

Spreading awareness of colorism is significant to having people think or act in familiar and similar fashion towards addressing the problem.
Of which, 'exposing' or correcting any misinformation of colorism, is conducive to spreading its awareness.
Both articles and this thread would be an example of this; I understand.

Relating to "identifying the problem", the label 'colorism' can easily distract the attention from other significant elements.

Its not just the skin color, but other physical attributes as well.
For example a light-skinned female feels 'insulted' by other light-skinned females, because she just cut her hair very short as if to resemble a dark-skinned female; "She not looking her best today" they say.

Secondly the color of the skin does not control or can impose itself on someones intelligence making them hate or be a victim of colorism. Though we put emphasis labeling it as "colorism", infact it's contrary to what the word "colorism" suggests. Intelligence controling or imposing, via physical attributes, the discrimination and hate, that is, (1)identified, (2)defined as 'colorism'.


In this case, false and problematic is the premise or axiom, that 'the best' or 'beauty' is a physical possession instead of being an actual conditioned, or 'highly educated', perception.

Though this may not be considered "colorism" due to the aforementioned reason, this is a significant part of colorism and/or its awareness.

If not I'd like to know/learn reasons why not?



Guidance
diyouth



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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2012, 09:03:29 PM »

Whilst the issue addressed in this discussion has focused on an African perspective, colourism, as we know, affects other groups.

For Trinidadians of East Indian descent, there has been a similar custom to favour light/fair skinned persons. This practice dates back to the Aryan invasion in the Indus Valley many thousands of years ago. The original inhabitants of the Indus Valley migrated from Egypt and were darker skinned than Aryan counterparts. The imposition of a colour hierachy was facilitated by introducing the religion of Hinduism and the caste system.

The East Indians that came to Trinidad retained many of their customs, beliefs and traditions. And many staunchly upheld the notion that lighter skin meant you were of the higher caste and darker skinned persons were of the lowest social standing. (Now this caste system is a much longer discussion that will soon follow)

When I tell people that as a very dark skinned, curly haired Indian girl growing up I was told by my family that:
1. They didn't understand why I was born so light skinned and my skin darkened as I got older.
2. I should not marry a dark skinned boy or we would have dark children
3. I was pretty BUT dark
4. Don't play in the sun or I would get darker
5. I should use skin lightening creams
6. I shouldn't wear dark clothes because I was already so dark
7. I should straighten my hair (being told by my aunt she couldn't understand why only me had frizzy hair in this family)

.... Most people don't know if to believe me or are shocked.

And countless other remarks about my skin tone were made in tones of jest and teasing. I must admit that I fell victim to those negative feelings and envied my own fairer skinned siblings and cousins. It took many years to accept my skin for what it is and to be able to appreciate that my skin is a factor in my development.

The word DARK already has so many cynical meanings attached to  it and when used to describe people's skin colour is used so negatively, not just as an adjective. For if I were to say "The night is so dark" as compared to "The girl/boy is so dark" there is a difference in the construct of the image and even the tone. And I must add that in my experience, there has been more negative attribution to dark skinned FEMALES than males. For darker skinned East Indian males, their experience is skewed by the fact that their social standing in society negates skin colour to some extent. In my case, fairer skinned East Indian males have told me on many occasions that if we were to have children that it would be best the child inherited their skin tone!

Within the East Indian community, I have had persons disregard that my experience is current/recent. They shun and shoo the comment away as they shake heads vigorously claiming that discrimination based on skin colour by Indians against other Indians only happens in India!!! I can recount so many incidents of that colourism bias to lighter skin that has not only happened to me but to close friends and family.

Also, I watched Indian movies every week as a child, and as I grew older I realized the hypocrisy. There was no lead actor or actress that looked like me- they were all light skinned. And on local television, the news reporter, the actresses, the lead singers in bands, the billboard posters, the clothing models, the contestants in beauty pageants were fair skinned East Indian girls. (For General knowledge, there is a pageant in Trinidad called Fair and Lovely, sponsored by a skin lightening company)

(There are a few instances recently where I have seen darker skinned males and females in the media)

My experience may echo thousands of other dark skinned girls in Trinidad and maybe elsewhere. And other male and female East Indians have had even harsher experiences. But by no means is this all that has happened and I"m sure other experiences are yet to come.




The following link is a lecture by Dr. Velu Annamalai on The Black Untouchables. It gives a useful introduction on Aryan invasion and the rise of the caste system in India.
http://www.africaspeaks.com/reasoning/index.php?topic=7417.msg19926#msg19926

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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2012, 01:18:38 AM »

Following the post I just left, I wish to indicate that I overlooked my usage of Egypt. It shold read Africa.
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diyouth
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2012, 06:12:48 AM »

Fierytrini,

after watching the lecture i had to read your post again...colorism a wicked thing!

"It took many years to accept my skin for what it is and to be able to appreciate that my skin is a factor in my development."


Was there something you did methodically to accept and appreciate? did you relocate or change company? educate yourself? otherwise?


Another question, how much has colorism for Trinidadians of East Indian descent, affect getting a loan or employment especially in representative industries; work place like a law firm for example?

Following the post I just left, I wish to indicate that I overlooked my usage of Egypt. It shold read Africa.

Perhaps you know already, but at the bottom right of your post there's an icon (a pencil and paper); when clicked
you can edit and save changes to that post. This option is available for a limited time. Not sure how long.
 

Guidance
diyouth
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diyouth
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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2012, 09:50:08 AM »

Fierytrini,

"The imposition of a colour hierachy was facilitated by introducing the religion of Hinduism and the caste system."

Is the following a correction???

from:   Shaunak  Posted on: Apr 22, 2012 at 20:23 IST
-----------
Rafia, Good article. One correction - the fair obsession in India has nothing to do with West-spun "Aryan" theories of caste. Arya in Veda is not a race, and verses in the Upanishads laud a darker complexion as characteristic of more advanced and knowledgable kind of Brahmin. The fairness race in India started with Turko-Arab-Iranic colonialism and culminated under British rule, since the Brits tried to retroactively distort the native Indian scriptural history based on race.
---------------


One of the comments to an article on "Sisters Under the (white) skin by Rafia Zakaria:
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article3336731.ece

Either way, it appears that manipulating a peoples "dictionary" of whats good and bad
is necessary before people can be victim or suspect of "colorism"; misinformation is the 'darkness' people see pigmented.


Guidance
diyouth
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fierytrini
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2012, 02:53:39 PM »

Diyouth,

Thank you for the comments.
 
In response to your questions about accepting my skin colour- I didn't move, I've lived in south all my life! I believe over time that all the negativity surrounding the issue of my skin tone became unbearable. And I was in no way going to let that become an issue that prevented me from achieving all I desired.

For me, I was fortunate to attend UWI which gave me access to numerous books that addressed that said issue. Given that and a new support network, I did my best to understand why I felt badly when someone else clearly did not understand their real reasons for being so negative to me. But it did take work and effort, and I still have family members tell me about my skin tone so it is always a surface issue.

For East Indians, colorism in the work place has been apparent. In banks and law firms, I have usually seen fairer skinned girls at the front desks. For loans, I cannot speak widely as I myself have not attempted one and persons I know have usually been turned away but I would not base that on colorism. As far as it goes with employment, I believe it depends on the type of job as I note with front desks. And I have a tendency to note what companies have darker skinned girls at their front desks. My first job was as a paralegal but after a month I was replaced with a lighter skinned girl- of course I can always chalk that up to the lawyer needing a person with more experience in the field than me.

(Thank for telling me how I can edit, I was unaware.)

While I regard that there are many theories surrounding the idea of India's fairness obsession and I read the article you suggested, there is still a tendency to mask the real issues. This is NOT a recent phenomenon in India's history.

If one reads parts of the Ramayana or Mahabharata, very long Indian epic poems made over 3000-5000 years ago, the Lord Ravana is depicted as a dark skinned demonic villain. Some of the earliest paintings also show him with purple or brown skin as compared to the other gods and humans in the painting. http://ccrtindia.gov.in/miniaturepainting.htm Also, Draupadi, another character, is stated as having great beauty but of a dark complexion http://www.mythfolklore.net/india/encyclopedia/draupadi.htm. But the heroine Sita, is glorified with attributes as "golden skin" http://www.mahavidya.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Kundrik-Sara-Sita-Yes.pdf


Therefore, there must have been a differentiation along a colour line. Moreover, Draupadi is shamed in front of a court of men for being lascivious and loose but is saved by the god Krishna. Draupadi is also cited as the first Hindu feminist for her involvement in the affairs of her 5 husbands that she was forced to marry. Sita is widely known as the chaste wife that waits patiently to be rescued by Lord Rama. For me, I see this being perpetuated in modern Indian cinema still.




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diyouth
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2012, 11:04:32 AM »

Fierytrini,

Therefore, there must have been a differentiation along a colour line. Moreover, Draupadi is shamed in front of a court of men for being lascivious and loose but is saved by the god Krishna. Draupadi is also cited as the first Hindu feminist for her involvement in the affairs of her 5 husbands that she was forced to marry. Sita is widely known as the chaste wife that waits patiently to be rescued by Lord Rama. For me, I see this being perpetuated in modern Indian cinema still.


Draupadi shamed for 'lustful' ways by bunch of men, then being saved by the god Krishna. Reminiscent of the bible story; Jesus and a woman in similar circumstance...as if both 'stories' drew from the same inspiration/influence or written by (essentially) the same persons - but who or what 'type' of people wrote the Mahabharata?

Is there a definitive factor, point or reason within India's history, where it could explain "colorism" or why things went along colour lines in India's history?

...a weird question but does "colorism" deliberately reflect itself in Indian fashion designs, dresses; who can wear what and who shouldn't type of thing?


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diyouth

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