Shadism: Black is beautiful


 

These days it seems like we are always talking about racism and how it's affecting us all. Which is definitely a conversation that needs to be continuously brought up until there is real change and improvement, but how often do we talk about shadism? While this can't be defined in your basic dictionary, shadism is basically another form of discrimination. It is black on black racism. To be completely clear this is discrimination based on skin tone and it goes all the way back to the days of slavery, when lighter skinned slaves were treated differently from those that were darker toned. Naturally, when a situation like this develops, it breeds a lot of hatred.

In this case the hatred and discrimination still exists. I saw it very often while growing up. I heard many comments about people being more attracted to a lighter toned men or women because they had 'pretty' features. As though lighter skin, hair or eyes automatically make a person attractive. This was something I experienced a lot while growing up in the Caribbean, where shadism is a huge issue. In fact, it is so ingrained into our society that I don't think many people even realize that they are doing it. I used to hear people speak about darker toned people as though they were something less or ugly simply because they were darker. Which was utterly unfair to them. 

On the other hand, I personally experienced the hatred. As a lighter toned woman, I often heard comments about not being 'black' enough, which is very insulting to me. Why do I have to validate my 'blackness' just because I am a few tones lighter than others? To be real, no one should. Traditionally beauty standards have always leaned towards European features, but why do we who were naturally born different have to conform to that?

 

The worse part of shadism is that it breeds self hate. I have met so many people who hated their features because of what they were taught to think was beautiful or acceptable in society and I don't just mean the idea of lighter skin tones. There are people out there using bleaching products to make themselves lighter, but there are also people who are out there acting out because they are trying to fit into a mold that society says they are too 'white' to fit into. When in reality, the shade of your skin doesn't dictate what your personality should be. Personally, I dislike when I hear terms used to describe shades of black in effort to make them sound more appealing, such as dark chocolate and caramel. Why do we have to do that? Black is beautiful no matter what shade we are and we should never have to make up for that. 

I once met a very handsome boy, who felt like he was ugly because he was darker than all of his siblings. Of course, no one thought he was ugly and his siblings tried to make him feel better about himself by calling him chocolate thunder. He hated it. He told me it made him feel worse about himself. He didn't understand why they felt the need to point out he was darker all the time. Now that he is older he appreciates himself so much more, but as a child he was just hurting because of it.

Even in marketing there has been a surge of people complaining about lighter toned women and men being on the covers of magazines and ads. While I do agree that there definitely needs to be a lot more representation because black society isn't just one shade of beautiful, I hate the fact that those who are already on those covers are made to feel as though they should feel guilty for representing their own race. We have come a long way since the days of slavery and segregation, but we need to stop for a second and realize that bringing down our own just because they don't look exactly the same is not okay. 

We all should just accept that no matter what black is beautiful and versatile. The exact shade of our skin should never mean that any of us is any less attractive or accepted, than another. Let's eliminate the idea of shadism and promote true love and acceptance amongst ourselves. Keep raising each other up, instead of dragging each other down. We come in many different shades and colors and that's okay. Remember that you are perfect no matter what you look like.

Keep in mind that these are simply my own opinions on the topic. I can only speak from my own point of view and personal experience on the subject. Regardless, I know there are many of you who may have different opinions and experiences and I would love to hear about them. Leave comment down below and let me know how you feel about shadism.

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