Colourism and xenophobia are prominent issues in the black community and it’s killing my people.
For those who don’t know what both terms mean, colourism is when someone’s being discriminated against because of their skin tone. Lighter skin complexions has been seen as more favourable and its been evident. Growing up, a lot of black boys in society deemed light skin girls as more appealing whilst degrading black girls. It also allowed for light skin girls and white men to be comfortable in discriminating us too. Quite often, black boys would make colourist remarks and say “you’re pretty for a black girl”, reject us, laugh at our natural hair and protective hairstyles. If it wasn’t our looks, it would be about our behaviour or other lifestyle choices.
Going forward, I would like black men to unlearn, listen and learn when black women are sharing their experiences. Use your male privilege to speak up when black women are being degraded and dismissed. Black women do not need to be attractive to you in order to respect them. We shouldn’t have to be related for you to recognise our humanity. You cannot say you support black women and be selective. Just saying “I love dark skin women” and ranting on about how you love black women to black women isn’t enough. Direct that energy to your male friends and family members otherwise it’s just performative.
As a lot of black women have said, it shouldn’t be up to black women to educate black men because it seeps into the rhetoric that black people should educate white people when they’re the perpetrators and complicit. It’s tiring and there’s enough resources out there for everyone to do research. Let’s not be obtuse and lazy.
Besides colourism, xenophobia has been an issue and still is. Xenophobia involves the disdain and hostility towards people from other countries.
I’ve seen a lot anti-African sentiments perpetrated by black people across the diaspora in person and on social media. I’ve seen Caribbean’s make derogatory comments about the African culture, from the music to the food and clothing. When I was younger and at school, being African was deemed less favourable in comparison to being Caribbean due to the difference in language and accent.
More recently, I was on Clubhouse and Black-African Americans were saying that Black-Africans are taking their jobs. It’s anti-black. They don’t realise that it’s simultaneous with how white people tell us black people “go back to your country” because we’re apparently taking the jobs that they’re not even qualified for and ruining the economy that we contribute to. We are deserving of equal opportunities on the basis of our skills not race or ethnicity.
We are all black and all our Black Lives Matter.
To sum up, these two issues are regressive, harmful and upholds the values of white supremacy and colonialism. We as black people already suffer from systemic racism, we shouldn’t also have to suffer at the hands of our own community.