Too often in communities of color, instead of creating solidarity, our differences serve to further divide us and sustain colorism, or the idea and practice that gives lighter-skinned people more privilege and fairer treatment.
Because whiteness is placed on a pedestal across communities and cultures, it should come as no surprise that those who can get closest to this ideal are met with more privileges. This doesn’t invalidate struggles of light-skinned people of color, it only means that those of us who hold more privilege also bear a responsibility to be better allies to the rest of our community.
One great way to start doing this is by speaking out when we see other Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) slipping up — even if it’s something seemingly harmless, like a well-meaning compliment.
Below, Nico Dacumos and Christine Deneweth explore this idea in The Misadventures of Light-Skinned Lexi.
Your Everyday Feminism Editors
P.S. For more background info on light-skinned and white-passing privilege, check out this article.
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To learn more, check out:
- Colorism in the Black Community: Perspectives on Light-Skinned Privilege
- Should Light-Skinned People of Color Voluntarily Exclude Ourselves from People of Color Spaces?
Nico Dacumos is an Everyday Feminism Reporting Fellow. Nico is a lower-middle class and college-educated child of a Manila-born Ilocano and a Central California Chicana. He currently writes, teaches high school, runs a decolonial food pop-up, builds spiritual community, loves, co-parents, and instigates non-binary transgender faggotry in Oakland, CA.
M. Slade is a Contributing Comic Artist for Everyday Feminism. They are a cartoonist and illustrator based in Westchester County, NY. Currently, they are the main illustrator for Doodlebook.org, a site that explores science concepts through comics. In their spare time, they can be found going to protests or overanalyzing video games and cartoons. You can check out their website here or their Tumblr here. Check out their comics here.