Something Called Colorism

colorism

My previous posts addressed the issues of post-colonization and the lack of development in Africa. The posts were a reflection about who was behind the lack of development and why. For my final post, I will be addressing the lasting after affects of post-colonialism that has also stunted development in Africa, but has nothing to do with money or greed. It has everything to do with lasting psychological and sociological affects on the indigenous people. It’s something called colorism.

According to Baruti (2000), colorism is a global prejudice that people of African ancestry have toward each other and seemingly use against or to the advantage of themselves and others with relatively similar complexion. Herring (2004) also defines colorism as “discriminatory treatment of individuals falling within the same ‘racial’ group on the basis of skin color” (p. 21).

Colorism has caused a social division among tribes in Africa. Due to colonization there is this perception that lighter skinned Africans are  Black seen as superior to their darker skinned brothers and sisters. For example the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The Europeans who colonized Rwanda turned indigenous Hutus against immigrant Tutsis. The Tutsis had more westernized features thus they were granted higher positions in society. The darker hutus were taking revenge on the Tutsis who had been favored and been in control for the longest time during colonial rule simply because they were lighter and more Caucasian looking. This genocide was caused by colorism used to maintain social order thanks to European imperialist.

European imperialists are to blame for bringing the “lighter skin is righter” mentality to indigenes of colonized lands in Africa. Pre-colonial colorism indoctrinated non-European populations with harmful racial ideologies. So, it wasn’t enough for the Western world to invaded, pressure, conquest, and colonize due to European nations scramble for African. It wasn’t enough for these once colonies to face poverty and be forced to take huge loans from theses wealthy western countries to sustain their countries leaving them with foreign debt. It wasn’t enough for the indigenous people to unwillingly give up their land to foreigners. It wasn’t enough. So, the Europeans instilled modern Western racism; light skin became a symbol of wealth and class.

Acknowledging the implications of pre-colonial colorism is the next step to ending this ideology. Some do not recognize that this ideology is wealth-based and encourages color prejudices. This ideology fail to see the role of social conditioning.

Works Cited

“Global Colorism: An Ethical Issue and Challenge in Bioethics.” Voices in Bioethics. N.p., 09 Sept. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Compass, Sociology. Sociology Compass 1/1 (2007): 237–254, 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2007.00006.x The Persistent Problem of Colorism: Skin Tone, Status, and Inequality (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

“Real Differences: History, Inequality and Oppression.” The Origins of Conflict in Rwanda. N.p., n.d. W

2 thoughts on “Something Called Colorism”

  1. Hi Feven, I really enjoyed reading your post on colorism in Africa. I think that it is something that has prevented African nations from uniting and developing. It is interesting to see how colorism has played a role in not only African countries but also in the black communities in America. Colorism divides, what would be your proposed solution to this issue?

  2. Feven,
    This post was a good read! It is unfortunate that African countries are divided based on the color of the skin. Even if they are light, in some parts of Africa they are not considered or seen as an African decent. It is heart-breaking because the culture of each African countries is what brings people together to make the countries better. What are some ideas you have in mind to break this cycle?

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