Who Is Responsible For Fighting Colorism?

June 29, 2011  |  

By J. Smith

This is something I’ve wondered lately: What kind of response do light-skinned blacks give to colorism outside of the community? Are they to acknowledge that fairer skin equals fairer treatment? If so, in what way? Are they responsible for encouraging “the man” to include all hues of black?

The Root sat down with CNN anchor Don Lemon to talk about black homophobia and his molestation, but also about colorism in the media. He admits that the majority of newspersons of color on television are light-skinned, and though he doesn’t seem to be ok with it, you can almost hear him subliminally asking readers: “it sucks, but what can I do?”

“Well, I do have eyes, and I do see that a lot of the anchors of color on television are light-skinned — not all of them — but a number of them are,” he said. “When I look around the entire television landscape, I do see — I don’t know if it’s lighting, I don’t know if it’s makeup — there are many anchors of a lighter hue. I don’t know where that comes from. I think that is part of our society.”

I ask with the uttmost sincerity when I question the precarious situation that centuries worth of degradation has put light-skinned blacks in. It is a very delicate line to toe — benefiting from the issue but being so closely connected to it. However, the following question is delivered with the least bit of sincerity: Do you really not “know where that comes from” Mr. Lemon? Passive, non-confrontational responses to questions that could provide an opportunity to openly discuss the issue makes you just as wrong as the people perpetuating it. We can’t be afraid to honestly talk about problems that cripple our community or else we’ll never begin to address them. And if we don’t have to courage to address our own issues, others certainly won’t pay them any mind.

It should be all of our responsibility to confront and call out colorism when we have the opportunity to do so. Looking at you, Don Lemon.

 

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