Colorism is not your regular Dinner Table conversation. But maybe it should be.
Colorism causes lack of confidence in many children and adults of color. The one approach to this topic that many might not be aware of its lingering effects. It's not just a word or joke it can really hurt. Many women and men deal with horrible depression and body dysmorphia.
Colorism is horrible and can make one feel so little and unaccepted just because their skin color is too dark or not light enough to be pretty. This value in society leads many to feel uncomfortable and upset about their skin color. It drives many to find insecurities in their body and skin colors. I want to build conversation amongst you and your families/friends of how colorism leaves many feeling bad about themselves and build many mental health disorders based on the color of their skin and not their personality.
Many countries normalize colorism, like Jamaica and most of South Asia. There are even products to “lighten skin,” products like Fair & Lovely or Carotene. These widely accessible products promote bleaching skin to become “beautiful.”The products are capitalizing off the popularity of this value.
I’ve felt that by now these ideals would not affect any girl nowadays because lots of dark skinned girls are becoming models and becoming more confident in their skin. Recently, my skin complexion was the talk of the table at my family gathering this weekend. My Aunt suggested that I’ve become more beautiful because my skin has “lightened up,”but my sister is too dark and should try not to go out so much. My little sister is 8 YEARS OLD. An 8 year old girl is being told not to go out because her skin is “dark.”This is wrong. This value is literally built into my culture. Young girls are being undermined and taught that dark skin is not pretty. My sister is strong and didn't take her comment too seriously, but many people already don’t feel confident in their skin complexions and others making comments like these hurt so much more.
Mental health diseases are stemmed from this root cause of colorism. It's become a part of the culture of color. Others seem to look over the fact that these coloristic values are just what everyone says or it’s just a comment. People are taught to get over it or fix themselves. This creates a cause for mental health diseases like depression to stem. Colorism can make you feel like an outsider and that you don't belong in this society.
I want to tell you that you are beautiful with dark skin, light skin and all skin. Don’t listen to those who follow these values,they are just jealous that you have what they don't and that is beauty.
Written By Yasmin Chowdhury
Yasmin Chowdhury is a rising high school senior who participated in The Miseducation of Brown Girls Summer Leadership Academy.