Myths are like characters. When we invest in them they become stronger. Likewise, debunking character myths can break down false perceptions. As a result, an unfounded idea cannot subsist.
To begin with the “Debunking Myths around Black Representation” panel at the Game Developers Conference in 2018 brought a wide range of questions to light. Similarly, Colorism Healing founder Dr. Sarah Webb recognizes many of the challenges.
For the most part, Dr. Webb began writing about colorism when she was 26. In her case, it was to unlock her understanding. Initially, it started with a personal experience that continues to shape her thinking.
For example in her blog, Sarah describes it this way, “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.”
However, the decision to write a blog about colorism was not met with immediate support. As a rule, Sarah’s ideas came from personal observations. Furthermore, it was informed by her experience as a writer, content manager, and teacher. Consequently, the content was met with numerous forms of opposition.
“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),” she writes on her blog. “I believe having to face that initial anger over my decision to openly discuss colorism gave me determination and confidence going forward.”
Together with Dr. Webb, we worked to separate fact from fiction. Namely, when it comes to the following questions:
- Why are there so few games/movies with diverse main characters?
- What is the value of a story that crosses all borders and more?
- What are your thoughts on creating a spectrum of diverse characters?
- Oh, and we talk about Black Lightning…
Click to the player below to listen:
Where to find Sarah Webb
In summary, 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.
What is 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.
About the Storyteller
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