Yesterday, we wrote about Harold Perrineau and the controversy surrounding his daughter Aurora’s casting as “Shana” in Jem and the Holograms. Perrineau came forward defending his daughter against claims that she wasn’t “Black enough” for the role.
I agreed with Victoria Uwumarogie’s analysis of the situation. People were doing entirely too much in their criticism of Aurora; and as her father, Harold felt the need to step up and defend her. We all understand that. But he failed to take into consideration that Hollywood, the Black community, America and even the global community at large suffer from colorism. There’s a problem when light is always right, preferred and employed while people with darker skin are disregarded, demonized and disenfranchised.
You would think that Harold Perrineau, being a darker complected man would have at least heard tell of such experiences.
But according to a recent response from Aurora herself, perhaps not.
Aurora spoke to Yahoo Style about the backlash and how she’s handling it.
“I’m not great with social media in general,” she admits. “I’d maybe been bullied here and there before in school or something, [but] when it started happening on the Internet my first reaction was to tweet them back either something mean or be like ‘This is what it is’ and try to explain things to people. But at the end of the day, people are going to have an opinion on me, good or bad, and that’s how it’s going to always be. You can be one of the biggest stars ever and someone is going to hate you. In the beginning I had a hard time.”
In doing so, she also shared some interesting insight into her upbringing.
“I’ve never not been able to walk around as a black woman,” the actress adds. “I’ve always been black, and people have always thought of me as black. So for me it was kind of this weird thing. I identify with both races. I don’t see color. My parents [actors Harold and Brittany Perrineau] have always taught me it doesn’t matter what color you are. They’ve never really talked about color. So to have the backlash, that really shocked me more than anything else.”
Ah, there’s the rub.
Aurora, being a woman of biracial parentage, should absolutely identify with both races. And I’m glad that she sees herself as a Black woman. But when she said she doesn’t see color that’s when she lost me. And when she said that her parents “never really talked about color” I had to completely tap out.
I think most of us know and understand that race is a societal construct. At the very end of the day, it doesn’t matter and doesn’t tell anyone anything about character, morals or personality, the things that really matter about people. And in a utopia people would be able to see and understand that.
But we live in America.
And in America color not only matters, systems of oppression were built upon it. Sadly, those structures are still alive and well today. And while many of us are in the process of seeking to right those wrongs, we can’t do that without first acknowledging the issues that have tripped us up in the past.
And this is where the “colorblind” philosophy just doesn’t work. Choosing to ignore racism and colorism doesn’t help the problem, it contributes to it.
Ignoring the problem is the reason Harold and now his daughter haven’t seen the ways in which Black people, particularly darker skinned Black people are passed over for roles. And thus can’t seem to understand the outrage over casting yet another light skinned Black woman to play the only darker skinned, afro-textured charter in the film.
I’m not here to tell anyone how to raise their children, particularly since I don’t have any of my own yet. But if your child has a biracial background, pretending like the world is as evolved and accepting as you and your partner might be can leave them unprepared at best and at worst contributing to the very systems that oppress people like themselves.