Colorism is a widely unaccepted and misunderstood concept to grasp for most of America. Even within communities of color. Because in order to get a handle on it requires a bigger understanding of the topic of race itself. An understanding that large chunks of society lacks. That being said, for those willing to learn or expand the knowledge they already have there are numerous articles about race, colorism, privilege, misogynoir, police brutality, etc. For those who are open to it, these conversations are happening. Often times they are happening within our own social circles. A lot of people who claim to be allies for a cause have no problem with getting involved in these conversations. However, as vital as education of the masses and evolving is, there comes a point where we have to ask a colossal question here. 'What are you going to do with the knowledge that you acquire?' The thing is with all the information we need literally in the palm of our hands, it's not that society doesn't get most of these topics. It’s that most don't want to be inconvenienced by them. It becomes a disturbance that alters our perception of our privilege. Forcing us to re-recognize it daily, in new ways. Ways that we as educated people thought we had already mastered. That includes people claiming be on the revolutionary side of history who may be fighting in ways that can sometimes be oppressive if done improperly.
'What are you going to
do with the knowledge
that you acquire?'
Humans do not often like to hear that we hold personal responsibility for anything that isn't easy or desirable. And let's face it, the topic of race is unsexy. The concept of it was enforced in a way that wanted people to acknowledge it through its differences as to ensure the total destruction for some and privilege for others. But it was built to not be talked about. There's no question in the fact that because of how racism conditions people, we all have internalized it and even those of us that are oppressed by it. As people of color claiming to be down for the struggle we have all in some way helped to sustain these systems daily when we think we are not included in the question of "What are you going to do with the knowledge that you acquire?" That question should be asked of everyone. I ask that question of myself daily. it should be used it as a way of humbling ourselves to understand that this is bigger than any singular experience. It is a universally inpactful issue. So how big of an impact should be left behind by those fighting for it?
All of this is about challenging the systems that created the imbalance and learning to work with those that hold oppression and privilege differently than we do. When you think about how you will fight for a cause, actionary efforts should be held at the forefront. Using your conversations to rebuild what is broken should be the foundation for activism. Whether it be to fight colorism or myriads of other efforts. We do not rebuild by merely talking, in private to people that already agree with us. We do not rebuild without constructing a plan, or by thinking we are ever done learning no matter how educated and well versed we may be. The exertion of turning a vision into a reality requires us to get uncomfortable. And continuing to get uncomfortable. To question that un-comfortability every time it arises, and then to challenge it.
The exertion of turning
a vision into a reality
requires us to get uncomfortable.
Words mean little until they create a power around them that helps them transform into organizational conversations. In a way up-building people to help them discover their own capabilities. In another way, liberation for activism. To re-center the goal, and talk with a purpose. "I have always wanted to work in film but I knew how hard it was for a person of color, especially a woman to not only break into that field but be successful. The more I have learned from you and through my own research the more I've realized that I need to create the change I wanted. Now I plan to go to film school to screen write and produce films where I can cast the diversity I wish I saw on the screen." These are words that were spoken to me. This is when I realized that along with learning and teaching, people should be persuaded into becoming the change instead of waiting to see change or waiting for leadership to create the change. A learned confidence that it takes to be able to lead yourself. It’s not enough to have a black man as president for two terms. Or to have a white woman win and serve as well. That means so very little if the people that encircle them are not also diversified. Because ONE is not enough to challenge a system. An invasion of intersectionality challenges it. We accomplish more by infiltration of the systems than we do by just telling the systems that they are wrong. We challenge it the most it by getting inside of it and controlling it. By doing that at all levels. Challenging our own career goals and questioning how we can morph it to focus on all aspects of equality.
We accomplish more by
infiltration of the systems
than we do by just telling
the systems that they are
For the topic of colorism in media there needs to be casting directors willing to question those they work with. To build teams around them of people working towards the same goal. Writers need to physically writing 'Dark Skin' roles. And people not only be disputing the representation they see but the depiction of the representation. Evolving doesn’t happen if we cast stereotyped versions of dark skin people of color. There needs to be more encouragement of people especially the marginalized, to go to school to become writers. And those schools need to be doing more to ensure that people of color get the same opportunities as their white peers so that they go on to have the possibilities that they need to create diversity. Parents, mentors, and the community need to be encouraging children of color to feed their art. Then giving them the tools they require to keep it fed. In another aspect we also have to question how misogynoir, sexism, and black LGBTQ+ hatred work alongside colorism. How often when we do see repeat diversity it’s in the form of black CIS men on screen. And how so many other races have even fewer diverse roles than the black community. In the bigger picture this is all about more than media coverage. But more so how the depiction of us on screen determines our treatment in society. And how it influences the white perception of blackness. How it influences our own perception of blackness. And how colorism affects more than media, but the overall workforce, the education system, and the prison system. We need to be challenging every system even the systems we have set up in our own heads. So the question now is more than 'what will you do with the knowledge that you acquire?' but ‘How will you re-center your life around it to create change?’