Posted in Blog, Mental Health

The Problem With Colourism (and Light-Skinned Women)

Once again Black women have been thrown under the bus, by lighter-skinned women as well as men.

DJ Maya Jama is mixed-race and at the age of 18, posted a tweet where she had repeated an offensive joke by comedian Kevin Hart. Why light-skinned women feel it is necessary to berate their darker peers is beyond me and reasons are constantly up for debate: they’re jealous of us and suffer from insecurity issues; they want to put us in our place which is at the bottom rung of society.

I don’t really care. I just want it stopped.

On my timeline, Stefflon Don was the first to open her mouth against dark skinned women:

“All you dark-skinned hating on light skin bitches like if God gave you a choice you wouldn’t change your colour lool…” 

This was said in a tweet. At first she denied even saying it, instead of having the balls to own up. She then deleted the tweet. Instead of admitting that (a) what she’d said was wrong and (b) that although it may have been something she thought before, as a Black woman now she definitely no longer thinks that way, she just tried to pretend that it didn’t happen. I remember Stefflon Don being on my list of gigs to go to on the “Song Kick” app, however after that comment and behaviour, she’s been cancelled for life.

So back to Maya Jama:

Screenshot_20180421-124746

The joke was originally told by Kevin Hart (who’s a dickhead anyway), however Maya thought it was so funny – especially being light-skinned herself – that she had to share it on Twitter. Her apology once the tweet was exposed was also a joke, in mine as well as many others’ opinion, because instead of apologising specifically to the women she had offended – dark-skinned women – she apologised for offending ALL women, because in her subconscious she wasn’t sorry at all. In fact, she still stands by the view that as a light-skinned woman, she is superior to her peers of a darker tone.

She later rewrote an apology:

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 17.21.04

 

This is clearly directed at the appropriate audience and appeared to demonstrate an understanding of not just the consequences of repeating such views, but also a hint of an understanding of the historical context (particularly colonialism). But by then, she had enraged so many of us, that the apology was too little too late.

What fucked me off the most, was the behaviour of Black men on social media, who attacked Black women for having an opinion, for being offended and for standing up for ourselves. I, myself was targeted by incredibly ignorant Black men, who clearly did not understand colourism. Black women of a darker complexion are perceived as the uglier, aggressive, non-feminine species of the community, while lighter-skinned women who can pass for white and therefore carry a privilege over their darker-skinned peers are perceived as more attractive and therefore, more feminine. This is a negative ideology which began in slavery and continued in colonialism. For years, darker-skinned women have been subjected to violence and cruelty, not only from outside of our community from white people, but also from Black men. This has had detrimental effects upon the mental health of Black women too, which for years has also gone unregarded.

And now we’re owning our dark skin, and embracing our beauty, Black men in particularly do NOT like it.

For years, as Black women, we have also been instructed to police our pain and emotions. When derogative comments like these are made and we come out fighting, (defending ourselves and showing valid emotions to racial provocation), we are accused of being trolls (again, not a pretty association!) Colourism is a sub-category of racism, and it is damaging and oppressive. Yet it continues because light-skinned women continue to repeat the negative narrative.

The lie that dark-skinned women are jealous of our lighter-skinned peers also needs to end. WE ARE NOT. You may have made us feel inferior when we were younger – so much so, that we did want to be like you so that boys would find us more attractive, so that we could gain the privileges you all got as children (and still do), you even made some of us want to kill ourselves, because you made us feel so ugly. However, the narrative has changed. We are who are and we fucking love it. So fuck off and leave us alone.

My final point on Maya Jama, is that although the original tweet was written when she was eighteen years old, she apparently has said things on Twitter where she has compared dark-skinned women to shadows, and although I haven’t seen these tweets, I believe they exist and I not going to go stalking through her timeline to find them. As I previously mentioned, the lack of remorse in her original apology, proved what was going on in her subconscious. How we truly feel and want to act resides within the unconscious, which then influences our behaviour; the thoughts that reside within the unconscious are inappropriate and illogical, and demand instant satisfaction and as we become age, we are supposed to learn to control these impulses. Acting out and then apologising afterwards isn’t good enough.

I didn’t really rate Jama before – all I knew previous to this, was that she was a DJ and dating Stormzy (who has remained uncharacteristically silent during all of this! Very disappointing). I didn’t rate her because to me she was a nobody who did nothing for the community, and so I have no issues with cancelling her.

XOXO

Author:

I’m Cece Alexandra and I have Epilepsy. Since being diagnosed, my life has changed significantly. After studying and teaching Humanities and Literature for all of my adult life, I was bullied and lost my job a month before qualifying to become an English Teacher. Once you fail the Teacher Training course in England, you cannot ever retrain; I then became too sick to work because of my Epilepsy. I am now currently studying an MSc in Mental Health Psychology with the University of Liverpool. My disability provokes me into raising awareness for invisible disabilities, which I also actively partake in with Epilepsy Action. Part of that awareness is to help fight against invisible disability discrimination - I believe that this behaviour is not cognitively unconscious; modern society is actively partaking in a hierarchy of disabilities and I believe that there is not enough psychological research to prove this. I am also clinically interested in Cultural Psychology - particularly Collectivist Culture, and wish to pursue this further in my academic career.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.