Family Farm Defenders (Kansas Chapter)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Colorism," "Lookism" in our Movement and the End of Blackness?

"Colorism," "Lookism" in our Movement and the End of Blackness?

Below is an article from the LA Progressive about "the Brown Paper Bag Test" for skin color and other tests for "white looks" including "hair texture" upon which, socioeconomic and other  rewards and opportunities are based. While the article focuses on we Black American African descendants and begins with a discussion of the rude discussion of Olympic Gymnastic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas's hair, it points out this phenomenon is worldwide, existing in all cultures.

(that have had European contact or domination I would suggest. I would suggest that since obviously there is no inherent superiority in "white looks," this "superiority" was created by what has become the European and/or "white" dominant power and perhaps the desire of conquered peoples to get benefits from the dominant society by essentially--what's the word--acculturating--essentially submitting and trying to "blend" in. Can;t think of the word, but y'all know it. )

Those of you who know me or who have seen my photo, must know that I am a product of these forces as well with an "all but white" mom from Georgia and (Asian Indian ancestry somewhere down the line as well that my family (and I) do not talk about.) But sadly, it is important.  There is no doubt in my mind, that my "whiter looks "eeeooow--that makes me uncomfortable) have attributed to my getting many opportunities in this and societies around the world, I would have not had if my skin were Black and my hair was kinky.

Our sister Tanya Fields, the magnificent. self-made. fierce and loving and way too beautiful food justice activist currently from the Bronx,  with her beautiful dark skin,   (Holla!) has shared that she, like Olympian Gabby Douglas, has experienced this "colorism" and "lookism' directly from snide comments on her facebook page and twitter to other acts about which neither she nor we may be aware.

Perhaps, the whole TedX Manhattan debacle in which our beloved sister was so dismissively treated, might not have happened if sister Tanya had looked like me or perhaps like Beyonce. (Thank God she doesn't and I can't imagine her personality on any other face or body--or is that being "colorist" or "lookist" too?)

Wake up call!  We need to dismantle "look-ism" and "color-ism" in our work  and movements. 

I recently attended a "people of color" conference where almost everyone looked white.  White Latinos, white or light skinned, straight haired indigenous people, white and light skinned Asian folks and if there were Middle Eastern people there, they "looked" white too--and Black folks (like myself) that passed the paper bag test.  (Now those who have these traits are not to blame, its these systems we have in place that essentially award privileges and resources based on how white you look that have now resulted in the "successful" people in the world having the phenotype of white and light skin, straight hair ,etc.etc.  This is ugly and a very ugly aspect of our species.  )

There were some dark skinned afro haired  Black folks there thank God, but vastly in the minority.  I wasn;t expecting this at a progressive, people of color conference. I was naive; but I am not any longer--about that at least. .

I was overcome and lonely.  Where were my beautiful warm, down home, dark skinned brothers and sisters whose deep down dark brown and black skin make you feel as if you are wrapped in a warm blanket of southern comfort (is that a stereotype? But I do associate Black not just dark brown skin color with my beautiful Southern relatives and African friends, especially West African, who had beautiful,  warm and loving souls to match, that just made you feel at home and loved and in connection with the most important thing in life--family, origin, acceptance, love,  resilience, what it meant to be human and the basic, down to earth, human connection that  just accepted and loved you for who you were, not what you did or how you looked. ( I am just tearing up to remember them and how much I miss them now and the sense of safety, dignity, endurance and resilience they gave me as a child and even now.)  Black folks who had and have been through everything, and whose beautiful, loving, Black and soulfull lights shown out  as beacons of strength, resilience and safety.))

I fear, we as a  speicies our losing our "biodiversity" as Black and Brownness is being slowly bred out of us.

They call the conferences, "Black and Brown," but where is the truly Brown and Black skin?  It is being bred out of us.

This is a genetic and phenotypical loss, but it also I think is some sort of total  submission to "white" superiority that appears unavoidable. (Controversial statement.) And which is of course a great loss to our species because the genius of "truly  Black, Brown , Red, Yellow phenotypes and cultures is undeniable. That African peoples are the most genetically diverse and perhaps in that  diversity lies our salvation as a species, but are we destroying it?

As a Black person, I fear we are losing our Blackness as well. And I am sad, because I have experienced the beauty of and wealth of Blackness and our Black American and Black global experience.  And I have benefited from it.

At the very least, we need to be aware this eugenic selective process for "whitifying" our world population is going on and just as we work to dismantle racism and other forms of oppression, work to dismantle colorism and lookism.  All lives matter and we need all people to build the best world we can in order to survive and to build a better world for all our children.

On Friday, August 24, 2012 3:10 PM, LA Progressive <> wrote:

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gabby douglas

Gabby Douglas and the Brown Paper Bag Test

Sharon Kyle: Colorism gives unearned advantages to Blacks of lighter complexion and demeans and degrades Blacks of darker complexions. For white people reading this who are unaware of this practice, there is a test known as "the brown paper bag test" used to determine where your skin color placed you in the pecking order.


Good People Standing Up to Save Sacred Lakota Lands

Georgianne Nienaber: The moral line has been drawn in the sand because of the IDEA that good people can stop this and return the land to the Lakota.
lady ann romney

Romney Tax Return Provides a Window to His Soul

Walter Brasch: What does matter is that by stonewalling, obfuscating, and refusing to give full disclosure, he appears to have something to hide. READ MORE HERE 

Rich Klimmer: Pride of the American Working Class

Mark Naison: Richie, a tough, working class kid from Chicago who had played basketball at Marquette, approached this campaign as if it might be the last of his life because, in fact, it was. READ MORE

Do US Prisons Violate European Human Rights Law?

Angola 3 News: In this interview, Ahsan and Stahl discuss the extreme importance of the upcoming Grand Chamber ruling on a personal level for the six appellants fighting their extradition. READ MORE

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On Friday, August 24, 2012 3:10 PM, LA Progressive <> wrote:

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