Thursday, August 13, 2009

She be that black! Candid Words on Color Wars in Black Communities

I have ample respect to Tameka Foster Raymond, wife of R&B singer Usher for writing a candid essay on her difficulties of dealing with colorism in the African-American community.

For those of you who do not understand the term "colorism," it is a practice and worldview based on the bias of color tones. As a result of whiteness and the European aesthetic being propogated as the standard of beauty, many cultures and peoples perpetuate generations of bodily and psychological damage of attempting to obtain these phenotypes as much as possible.

In particular, European features such as pale skin, blond hair, blue or light-colored eyes, and a-line, slender facial and body features are preferred. In the African-American community and really in America, there is a social phenomena in which favortism in many different designs, is expressed by those who have these features.

It is exhibited most blatantly in film, television, videos, and all forms of media. Mrs. Foster-Raymond’s essay talks about her sordid experiences with this issue in the following writing…

I am a dark-skinned African American woman with features that reflect my ancestry. Debates regarding Light vs. Dark and other biases have plagued our race for years and continues to impact millions of Black women. The deeply rooted intra-racial contempt that lies beneath this inane "compliment" is the reason I've chosen to spark dialogue surrounding the topic of self-hatred in our culture. It saturates every aspect of our lives, dominating the perspectives of our generation as a whole. We culturally are so influential, at times inadvertently, that we affect all with the words we utter and the images we portray. It lends to the theory of systemic racism. I'm authoring this piece because I'm miffed by this reality and would like to share my views on these subjects.

It is a fact that many African-Americans are often mixed with an array of other ethnicities (as am I), which allows for the spectrum of our features to be as distinctive and special as we are diverse. Why is it felt that the more diluted our traditionally African features become the more aesthetically acceptable we are considered? It was said in the 1960s and the sentiment seems to be forgotten, "Black is Beautiful." Wow, nearly 50 years later and is that now only meant for a specific shade? Nonetheless, I believe the beauty of our people and splendor of every individual is reflected in our varying features and hues.

Click here for more of Tameka's thoughts

I absolutely love this poem....

1 ish talking intellectuals holla at a sista:

Reggie said...

Black has always been and will always be beautiful to me!!!