LIFESTYLE

These Women Have Been Calling Out The BS That Is Colourism

Because it is not ok and if no one will say it, these women will.

25/01/2017 16:14 SAST | Updated 26/01/2017 15:47 SAST

From the internet trolls to casting agencies dark-skinned women often have to fight discrimination based on their skin tone. Whether it be through formal interviews or their social media platforms, many black women have been calling out colourism.

In the video below Kimberly N. Foster, founding editor of For Harriet, a community blog aimed at black women, speaks about the importance of talking about colourism.

"For some reason so many people who seem to understand systems of inequality generally seem to have a real block when it comes to this," she says.

Foster says that while she is taking nothing from light-skinned people's blackness, colourism, like racism, cannot go both ways.

"Light skin confers advantages that dark skin just never will," says Foster.

Foster says for black women this is something that happens in very distinct ways, particularly in places with a history of colonialism and slavery.

This is a great video to start a conversation on what colourism is and what it means, particularly for black women who often have to fight to explain why colourism matters.

We've collected some of our favourite moments where women clapped back on Twitter, called out the lack of diversity in industries and educated people on what colourism is.

11 times women called out the BS that is colourism

The package on colourism that Huffington Post South Africa is publishing today came from a conversation in the office as we were getting ready to launch: "Guys, we should do a video on all the ridiculous things dark-skinned women hear all the time." The choruses of "Yes!" and the stream of anecdotes – funny and awful – showed that this was an untapped well of stories waiting to be told in South Africa. We are aware that colourism exists but we're still likely to joke about "yellow bones" with the rest of our friends. Conversations about why every aspect of this culture is problematic is silenced with: "But skin lightening is a personal choice". Except that it isn't. In our series of stories we show the harmful effects of this obsession in our society – from a personal, social and economic point of view. We look at how illegal creams are still sold and how upmarket legal alternatives are still questionable. We look into small communities, like Indians in South Africa, where colourism still thrives, and talk to celebrities about why they lightened their skin. Because as a dark-skinned woman myself, I'm ready for change, and so is our society. – Verashni Pillay, Editor-in-Chief