Effects Of Colorism Research Paper
Colorism is defined as the way people are perceived based on their skin colour. Slavery and colonisation made black to be associated with low social status. Lighter skin is deemed the ‘ideal’ skin colour. This perception has negative social and economic effects on darker skinned individuals.
The media has greatly fuelled the perception that white is the pinnacle of beauty and it is for this reason that by 2018, the skin lightening industry is projected to grow to $ 19.8 billion. Lighter skinned individuals get preferential treatment compared to their darker counterparts. Movie makers, novelists and modelling agencies prefer a fair complexion. This explains why there are extremely few black film actors, actresses and television news anchors. Furthermore, advertising billboards are filled with models with light complexions.
Lighter people get better education, higher incomes and higher job status. This is absurd considering that no study has named skin colour to be a determinant of work ability. Blacks generally have difficult childhoods than light skinned ones. Black communities, especially the segregated ones, have high poverty levels. This leads to a high prevalence of social disorder, drug abuse and violence. Blacks go to prison more often; they get longer and tougher prison sentences than light skinned people. This in turn affects the way dark skinned individuals are viewed by others in society. They are viewed with suspicion and discriminated against. This especially affects children who grow up knowing that their skin colour is ‘inappropriate’. They grow up hating the light skinned children, while secretly hoping to be like them. In extreme cases, this can lead to suicide.
Colourism has an effect on the family and political structure of society. Darker skinned persons have lower chances of getting married and when they do; their partners are equally of lower social-economic status. Skin colour also determines how voters evaluate and vote for candidates during election. Blacks get fewer elective positions. Amazingly, within the clack community, lighter skinned individuals are more likely to get elected than dark skinned blacks. Because of low political representation, blacks have no official channels to air their grievances.
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