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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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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How Growing Up In A Culturally Diverse Environment Changed Me

We are all human.

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I can proudly say that I am from Montgomery County, Maryland, more specifically from the city of Gaithersburg. According to a 2018 study by WalletHub, three of the top 10 culturally diverse cities in the United States are located in Montgomery County. Those cities include Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Silver Spring.

I have lived in Montgomery County ever since the day I was born. Growing up in such a culturally and economically diverse area has educated me with the value of accepting differences. Since I was exposed to an assortment of cultures at such a young age, I hardly ever noticed differences among my peers and I. The everyday exposure to various cultures taught me to embrace diversity and look beyond appearances such as the color of someone's skin. I was able to open my eyes to other ideas, lifestyles, and backgrounds.

Ever since I was a child, I was not only taught to welcome different cultures and ethnic groups, but I was always surrounded by them. From my elementary to high school years, every classroom was filled with racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity. Coming from someone apart of the Caucasian race, I was often the minority in school. Not everyone is as fortunate to experience such a multicultural society.

Since being from Montgomery County, I have grown up as a person with an open mind and strong values. Diversity has not only taught me to be more mindful but has also helped me become more of a respectful person. Learning about other cultures and backgrounds is essential to help societies strive, but experiencing it firsthand is something that no one can teach you.

After being in countless culturally diverse situations, I have been provided with many lifelong advantages. I was taught to be inclusive, fair, and understanding. I am able to be comfortable and accepting of all cultures and religions. After growing up in such a culturally diverse environment, I now develop culture shock when I'm not surrounded by diversity.

Our world is filled with numerous different kinds of cultures, ethnic groups, and religions. Being raised in a diverse environment has prepared me for what the real world looks like and taught me exactly what equality means. As I was growing up, I was always taught to be nonjudgemental of others and to embrace all individuals for who they are.

Diversity molds our identities. Every individual is unique, but each of us shares at least one trait — we are all human. Who would rather experience a homogeneous society, when they could constantly be learning about other cultures and building diverse relationships? When growing up, I never realized how impacted and truly thankful I would be to of had the opportunities to experience diversity each day. So here is a long overdue thank you to my parents for choosing to raise me in such an incredibly diverse place all of my life.

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