We all know that colorism–the belief that the lighter skin, the better–is incredibly prevalent in communities of color and around the globe. Just look at the documentary “Dark Girls or celebs bleaching their skin or the dozens on dozens of think pieces written about the topic.
Recently, the conversation was spoken about on the TED stage by Chika Okoro, a 2nd year MBA student at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Confessions of a D Girl: Colorism and Global Standards of Beauty, Okoro’s powerful and engrossing speech, touched upon her own personal experiences with colorism, the history behind this discrimination and how colorism is “just as sinister and subtle as racism.”
She starts off talking about a past Straight Outta Compton casting call that ranked women A-D, with medium and dark-skinned African-American women labeled “D-Girls” and “A” being the Beyonce types. Sigh.
“When I first read this, I felt betrayed, Any given year there are just a handful of movies starring Black actors and actresses, just a handful of of opportunities when people can see actresses that look like me on the big screen and see that we’re fierce and beautiful and desirable, so I felt betrayed that when even in these small circles where I’m allowed to feel beautiful, I’m still shoved aside for those with more “Favorable” features: Light skin, light eyes, long soft real hair,” she recalled.
But that wasn’t the first time, she’d experienced colorism. Okoro admitted that growing up, she would always hear, “You’re so pretty for a dark-skinned girl.”
She also stressed that it’s OK for us to stand up against what society tells us is acceptable. “We don’t have to passively accept what society tells us is beautiful we can question it and we can challenge the status quo because when we do we get one step closer to broadening the standard of beauty,” Okoro said.
What did you think about her talk?