How Colorism In The Media Really Affects Black Women

How Colorism In The Media Really Affects Black Women

The truth.
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The phenomenon of colorism is not exclusive to African American women, but the manifestations on this group are diverse, and the effects are rather unique. Research has shown that the experience of colorism is pervasive within the Black community and that most Black women have been, either culturally or personally, affected by intra-racial discrimination.

Colorism is defined as prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group. For example, in the television sitcom, Martin, Gina, Martin’s love interest, who has light skin, is depicted as beautiful, kind, and silly. Whereas her friend, Pam, who has darker skin, is loud, belligerent and annoying, despite Pam being attractive as well. While it is not obvious, this enforces the stereotype that dark skinned women, when compared to their light skinned counterparts, are less beautiful.

Because of colorism's prominence in our society and media, there has not only been backlash outside of the black community, but inside the community as well, where individuals have even went so far as to engage in media "light skin vs. dark skin" wars, so to speak. For darker pigmented African Americans such as myself, we recieve the short end of the stick because there is no secret that our lighter brethren are preferred over us.

Colorism in media can also be depicted in movie roles. Light skinned women are seen in a more positive light, while darker skinned women are seen negatively. Since silent films, dark skin women have been assigned the “mammy” role, angry/sassy/bitter, or overly sexualized. Although it might not be shown, Although it isn’t quite evident, this places black women in a box. Western media creates stereotypes based on the things that we see in media. If we are shown that black women are supposed to take care of white people, are angry, sassy, or bitter, or that they are hypersexual, then we are going to subconsciously believe that this is the way that things are supposed to be, or that these particular traits are expressed in black women.

In Gone With the Wind, the only main black character is Mammy, the house servant. Since this film was made in the 1920’s, this was very common for the culture of the United States at the times. The problem is that not much has changed in representation since then.

But representation matters. Although there have been improvements, such as in the Oscar winning film, Moonlight, the upcoming Marvel blockbuster, Black Panther, and the riveting space epic, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there are still many milestones the film industry has to step over before making improvements. If we can shy away from these toxic, problematic stereotypes and put more black directors and producers behind the camera, then we can pave the way for the future of film and have more diversity and inclusivity in media.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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12 Things You Pronounce Weird If You're From NJ

Our accents are just as big as our egos... and our hair.
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All of my life, I never thought I had a Jersey accent until I went away to school in Pennsylvania. My Pennsylvanian friends have a field day when they hear the “weird” ways I pronounce certain words. I am constantly the butt of all the jokes and have been asked way too many times to pronounce certain words for others so they can hear how “weird” I speak, but if you’re from Jersey then you know what I mean when I say these things.

NOTE: The words in parenthesis are the way we say it. Which is also the correct and best way to say them.

1. Water (wader)

Okay, so maybe I say water a little differently than others, but this is the way my family has said it for generations. This one is sort of a dead give away. When I’m on vacation and ask for “water” people will always know where I’m from.

2. Drawer (Draw)

I’ve gotten into many screaming matches with people about this. It is a "draw"! This causes many fights between me and my roommate, but I know for sure I’m not the only New Jersian who pronounces it like this.

3. Coffee (Cawfee)

I can’t even explain this without getting angry. It is most certainly not pronounced “Cahfee.” I will fight to my death that coffee should just be spelled the way it’s pronounced which adds a nice “aw” sound instead of that harsh, awkward “ah” sound.

4. Pork Roll (Correct term: Taylor Ham)

Considering most people on campus here call Taylor Ham “pork roll” I am always outnumbered, but don’t think I won’t go to war on this. It is absolutely called Taylor Ham! No, it’s not just the brand. What is a “pork roll”? I assume if you call it pork roll you’re from South Jersey or Philly and I can also guess you don’t even know what real Taylor Ham tastes like. I’m sorry I’m getting way too heated typing this…

5. Dog (Dawg)

OK, I just don’t even know any other way to say dog without adding the typical “aw” sound to it. Is there any other way? I’m pretty sure us New Jersians are not wrong about this one.

6. Talk (Tawk)

This one speaks for itself (pun intended).

7. City (Ciddy)

First of all, when I reference the “city” I am always 100% talking about New York City. Never ever am I talking about Philly. Never. Maybe us Jersians confuse the letters “T” and “D” but you can definitely distinguish my New Jersey background anytime I say “city”.

8. You (Yew)

This term most usually follows a common curse word us New Jersians say frequently. Expect this phrase when you’re driving on the parkway in the summer trying to maneuver your way through the boatloads of shore traffic.

9. Sandwich (Sub)

It pains me when I hear someone go up to a counter and ask for a hoagie. It sends shivers down my spine and makes me question my existence. It’s a sub-short for submarine sandwich-where does the term hoagie even come from?

10. All (Awl)

My roommate truly enjoys making fun of me for this one. Commonly used in the phrase “awl of a sudden”. This is great for story-telling and helps create a dramatic mood.

11. Chocolate (Chawcolate)

The only thing I can say is it sounds a lot better than saying “chakolate.”

12. Jersey (Jerzee)

Please, please, please, and I seriously mean please, do not ever, under any sort of circumstance come up to me and say “Joisey.” I think I would rather have someone call Taylor Ham a “Pork Roll” and insult my favorite pizzeria than ever say that word. I can assure you that no one, and I mean not one person who is from Jersy says “Joisey.” I do however add a nice hard Z to my pronunciation. Sometimes we call it “Dirty Jerz” too.

But no matter what I call it: Jersey, New Jersey, The Garden State or whatever other amazing nicknames there are, my favorite thing to call New Jersey is home.

Cover Image Credit: lostinsuburbiablog / WordPress

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Just Because I Like Girls, Doesn't Mean I Like You

Lesbians do not sexualize every girl that walks the Earth.

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Freshman year of high school, I came out as a lesbian. I did not get hate from anyone which is very surprising considering the conservative yee-haw town that I live in. The things that I did notice was the locker room situation. It felt like none of my friends wanted to get changed in front of me. It made me feel bad because I really did not look at them in that way. Like at all. No offense to any of my friends from high school who are reading this, but you guys are not my type. And I told you guys that but you still didn't really want to have a locker near mine. Senior year, I took weight lifting. Of course, I had friends in the class but I was so used to choosing a locker away from my friends because I didn't want them to think I was looking at them.

I have noticed that when the stereotypical locker room lesbian is spoken about it seems very perverted. I have been asked if I "go in the bathroom to masturbate" after I changed in the locker room with all those girls. The answer is NO. Who does that? I feel like I can speak about this on behalf of a good percentage of the LGBTQ+ community. We aren't middle schoolers. We know how to act around other people.

Now that I am in college, I feel like the tables have turned. I can go into a locker room with a bunch of people that barely know me and they don't have a problem with getting dressed in the same locker room as me.

My girlfriend, who attends James Madison University, has problems with her hallmates using the same restroom as her. Her roommate avoids being in the room at the same time as her just because she is gay. They all avoid going to shower at the same time as her because that is just how society is these days.

To all girls who believe that every lesbian is looking at them in a sexual way, don't flatter yourself.

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