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Colorism in Black community through the lens of black hair

Racial microaggressions are typical occurrences experienced by the black community. These implicit insults, meant to dismiss and invalidate marginalized people, allow racism to quietly persist in our culture today. Unfortunately, we find that those within the black community have adopted these microaggressions to invalidate their darker skinned peers. This issue is known as colorism-prejudice specifically towards dark-skinned individuals and in favor of their lighterskinned counterparts.

This preference of lighter skin tones and features originates from white supremacist ideology beginning in early America. This ideology has since been systematically instilled in the black community and perpetuated through tradition, media and systematic ignorance. A prominent feature in the black community subject to colorism, besides skin tone, is afro textured hair. Sims in her dissertation “Research suggested that in order for mainstream to accept Black hair in its natural state, the African American community must accept it first.” The blog series that follows aims to investigate the impact of white supremacy on African-Americans’ self-perception historically. By examining the history of black hair, specifically, we can understand how the origins of colorism still remain implicitly in mainstream culture today. This understanding guides one to the realization that historically white society has encouraged self-hatred in African-Americans even to the level of the hairs on their head.