Dark girls, rise- shadeism and internalised racism

This week, I guested on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, taking shadeism with Dr Jude Smith Rachele. Jude organised the recent screening of Dark Girls in London- a US based documentary film interviewing several black women on their experiences of having their worth and beauty weighted on the shade of their skin. The film is powerful and resonates with scores of women battling white supremacist, Eurocentric beauty ideals in Africa, Asia and diaspora communities. You can watch a preview of the film here. Try not to cry.

Shadeism, or colourism, is a devastating by product of living with the consequences of structural racism. However it is dressed up, it is the adulation of light skin, and the demonisation of dark skin.  I guess we can’t spend years trying escape colonialism without internalising some of it’s toxic ideologies. In our conversation, I tried to bring light to the fact that this white supremacist ideology can be reinforced from all areas- your family, the magazines you read- and that we need to make a conscious decision to reject the sexist, racist beauty ideals that have been foisted upon us without our permission.

You can hear our conversation about the topic on Woman’s Hour here.

Write us your thoughts about this post. Be kind & Play nice.
  1. Really good debate. Thanks for sharing.
    This issue has been around for so long and manifests itself in so many ways. People of colour have so many battles to fight without wasting time on false divisions.
    I wrote this a while back: Dark Girls and Slavery’s Lingering Fingerprints
    http://marmosetmowords.com/2013/07/25/dark-girls-and-slaverys-lingering-fingerprints/

    Reply

Leave a reply.