Colorism is real. It’s not something we made up, and it’s not something that can be remedied overnight. Colorism is also something we must be willing to discuss, ad nauseam if need be.
In a conversation with The Guardian, Actor, Dijmon Hounsou expressed his joy in regards to the upsurgence of black superheros on TV and in film
“It’s about time…It’s absolutely great news to have a hero that black folks can identify with,” he said.
Actor, Dijmon Hounsou, who shares a son with Kimora Lee Simmons, has also had to come face-to-face with the reality of colorism during a recent conversation with his 7-year-old son.
Could you imagine my misfortune when my son told me: ‘I want to be light-skinned so I can climb the walls like Spider-Man’ – just because he has seen Spider-Man and Batman and all these superheroes who were all white. The minute he said it, I was like, damn. My whole self was shattered. I was like, wow, what sort of comeback do you have for this? It’s important to recognize yourself. It’s absolutely important. That’s the value in telling stories. There’s a reason why we create fantasy stories, so we can surpass this life condition.”
Indeed representation, or rather a lack of representation, is a major factor in the endurance of colorism. Until we truly normalize dark skin, we will always find ourselves in the position of having to make it a “thing” to discuss and celebrate.
For instance, I was recently involved in an exchange with a woman in my facebook group who expressed her frustration with dark skin women always referencing complexion. She asserted that black people were the ones who were keeping colorism alive with our inability to simply denounce the idea that lighter skin is “better skin.”
The reality is colorism wasn’t invented by black or brown people, and while we can certainly work to change the perceptions regarding skin complexion, we can’t get beyond it if we aren’t willing to accept that it’s bigger than us. Sweeping it under the rug isn’t the answer.