Category Archives: Colorism

NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ Hires a Black Woman

CBS DC

NEW YORK — NBC’s comic institution “Saturday Night Live,” criticized recently for a lack of diversity, said on Monday that it was adding a black woman to its repertory cast when new episodes start again later this month.

Sasheer Zamata, who graduated from the University of Virginia in 2008 and has worked with the New York Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe, will join for the Jan. 18 episode, for which Drake is the host and the musical guest. Zamata, 27, is from Indianapolis.

The 137 regular cast members who have been part of “Saturday Night Live” since its 1975 debut have been mostly white and have included only four black women. The most recent was biracial Maya Rudolph, who left in 2007. Black men, including Eddie Murphy, Tracy Morgan and Chris Rock, have played more prominent roles.

The lack of a black woman among the 16 regular or featured players…

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Why I hate being a black man

Why I hate being a black man

“A lot of the time I feel like my skin color is like my personal prison, something that I have no control over, for I am judged just because of the way I look.

Not discussing the issue doesn’t mean it is going to go away. In fact, by ignoring the issue, it simply lurks underneath the surface. I believe a dialogue about self hatred should be brought to the fore in the public sphere, so that some sort of healing and the development of true non-label based pride can occur.”

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Mexico’s forgotten black history

Mexico’s forgotten black history

“Even though there were periods in which the African diaspora in Mexico greatly outnumbered Spanish colonialists, the modern narrative of Mexico is of a people and history shaped by the blending of two cultures – one European and one indigenous. Any mention of Mexico’s ‘third root’ is usually confined to a few scholars or various darker skinned communities in Mexico where African diaspora (many times alongside indigenous communities) were able to hold on to traditions and community.”

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The elephant in the racialised room: The conundrum of Black-Arabness by Bedour Alagraa

“I’m here to assert that Afro-Arabs and Black Arabs do exist. Not only do we exist, we create a necessary tension in the articulations of Brownness/Blackness, we disturb the rigidity of the Black/Brown/Yellow/Indigenous markers that fall under the juggernaut ‘Person of Colour’ identifier, and we inspire a necessary appreciation of the multiplicities that might be produced within this rather dogmatic racial order.”

 
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Marrying not for One’s Self but for Others: Hinduism in India

JAPANsociology

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by Aya Murakami

“We believe in Love Marriage. But we cannot marry someone who have different customs, religion, speak different language. ”

Different ethnic groups, religions and language exist in India, where has the 7th largest area and 2nd largest population in the world. In India, there are over eight religions, complex social stratification system called caste, and more than 15 language is spoken in different areas. Since different religions have very different cultures, I will talk about Indian Hindus in this post, which accounts for 80% of the total population in India, and consider their ideas towards marriage. (When I mention “Indian” in this post, it refers to “Hindu”.)

Arranged marriage is very popular in India. There are newspaper ads and internet matrimonial service has been becoming popular. Currently, I live with several Indian students and I asked them about this matrimonial service. Most of them have…

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Colorism, women and beauty

Colorism as defined in the documentary Black Girls is prejudice or discrimination based on the relative lightness or darkness of skin color, generally occurring in one’s own ethnic group. As someone who is a light skinned Mexican, I know that light skinned Mexicans discriminate against those that are dark skinned, which we sometimes call (in a derogatory manner) “Indios” or Indians. Black people also discriminate within themselves. They have the “Paper Bag Test”, where if you are lighter than the paper bag you are attractive and more beautiful, but if you are darker than the paper bag then you are unattractive and not considered as beautiful. I had never thought about the profound impact this has not only on our perception of beauty, but more importantly on how it stigmatizes young girls and women who are of a darker skin color and how it affects their self esteem and confidence.

The documentary points out that colorism partly stems from colonization by Europeans. Europeans not only invaded geographically, but also culturally and instilled a sense of superiority. If you’re taught your colonizers are superiors then you aspire to look and to be more like them. This has affected Mexicans and other Hispanics, Blacks, even Asians who watch Hollywood movies and see white women as the beauty ideal. Unfortunately we’ve internalized this colorism. I’ve heard people in my own family talk about how pretty the baby is with her light skin and light eyes. If you watch Mexican novelas you almost never see black people represented, or even dark skinned Mexicans. Like they mention in the documentary you’ll hear lighter Hispanics tell other Hispanics not to date darker Hispanics or even Afro-hispanics because that is not “bettering the race.”

Affects of Colorism

Black women in the documentary discuss how they had a hard time accepting their skin color. Some even saying that they wanted to just “wash it off” and that they felt “dirty”. They show a clip of a little Black girl having to choose from a spectrum of little girls from white, to brown, to black, who is the smart child and who is the dumb child. For the smart child she chose the whitest girl, and for the dumb child she chose the blackest girl. When she was asked who is the pretty child and who is the ugly child, she chose the whitest girl as the pretty child and the blackest girl as the ugly child. When asked why the blackest child was the dumb child, she replied, “Because she’s Black.” This is a little girl who has already internalized colorism. What I found heartbreaking was hearing some of the black women say that they were afraid to have children who were dark. I found it sad that a mother would have to worry about that. It is stressful enough hoping that your child is healthy and happy, and to top it off you have to worry about what color your child is? What does that say about our society? About our standards of beauty? Girls would talk about hoping to get lighter. They’d talk about hating their parent(s) because they made them dark. They talked about not feeling as acceptable, lovable, or as beautiful. The documentary interviewed Black men and some of them even discriminated against darker skinned women. Now granted, not all Black women feel this way, but that there are some women who do is certainly problematic.

It is not only Black women in the US that want to lighten themselves, but women all over the world. It’s in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe; colorism is global. It is not just Hispanics and Blacks, Koreans are big on bleaching themselves and on getting plastic surgery to look more “white”. Global skin whitening sales grew to $43 billion in 2008. Holy shit.

Hollywood and the media

Western culture is exported all over the world. From television, to movies, to magazines, to music, and most of it is of white people. So of course many people are going to aspire to look white and will take the western standard of beauty. How many Black, Asian, or Hispanic women are leads or objects of affection in movies? How many shows have Black, Asian or Hispanic women as the protagonists? Black, Asian or Hispanic men? The media does have an impact and it does perpetuate colorism and stereotypes. Given that we need to pay attention and be aware, and we should definitely start asking for more diversity in the media.

I was watching “The Adventures of Awkward Black Girl”, a show on youtube with a Black protagonist. And it really got me thinking on how not only are Black protagonists lacking in the media, but also about how stereotyped black women are. They either have to be strong, sassy or ghetto, but hardly ever do we see them as docile or in girl next door roles. The protagonist in “The Adventures of Awkward Black Girl” reminds me a lot of Zoe Deschanel’s dorky character in “The New Girl”. How many Black girls are portrayed that way? How many really dark skinned people do we see on television? We currently have shows like “Scandal”, “Modern Family”, “The Mindy Project”, which is great for diversity, but we can do better. This is not to say that this will eradicate colorism, but it will definitely help. Baby steps.

Let’s raise our consciousness

By not showing dark skinned women in the media and by discriminating within our own ethnic groups, what we are tacitly saying is that there is something wrong with being dark. That it is less beautiful. That dark skinned women and men are worth less. And by doing that we marginalize them and stigmatize them. This is something that those of us that are light skinned need to keep in mind and acknowledge. So we need to pay attention to what we say, how we perceive beauty and its standards, and pay more attention to the media because colorism makes some people, young girls and boys, little kids, feel inferior. So, we need to be careful about how we speak to children and teenagers, both girls and boys. We need to bolster their confidence and make it so strong that even when other people try to poke holes in it they can’t. We have to teach kids to love themselves. Like the documentary points out, skin color is so trivial; it has nothing to do with your character, your intellectual capacity, or your actions. To believe that being lighter makes you “better” is not only ridiculous, but also ignorant.

-Marina Espinoza

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