According to my mother, I was five when I whispered the words: “That’s cus she’s light skin.” That whisper at age five was followed by many years of silence. Then at age 26, I started blogging. In a very public way, I confronted all my fears of speaking about colorism. Reactions ranged from admiration to curiosity, to rage (even from people I identified as friends). I believe having to face that initial anger over my decision to openly discuss colorism gave me determination and confidence going forward. What began as a few posts on another blog eventually grew into ColorismHealing.org.
I’m currently a Ph.D. student in English at Louisiana State University with interests in literacy, digital media, race, and gender. I have previously taught college composition and high school English managed online content for local news and TV stations and done freelance writing and editing for blogs, small businesses, and local magazines. I’ve also spent significant time as a youth mentor and coach for writers and performers. A number of my own poems, stories, and essays have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies, and in 2013, I won the “Free Angela” blogging contest for my post about Angela Davis. I’ve most recently started blogging for Teaching Tolerance, and I continue to speak and offer workshops about colorism.
Colorism is bias, prejudice, discrimination, or inequality based on the relative skin tone, hair texture, and facial features among persons of the same race. Some people affected by colorism may even develop a dislike for their own skin and features. One of the most common myths about colorism is that it’s just a problem for dark-skinned people. The reality is that colorism affects all of us, regardless of race or skin tone.