With Martin Luther King's birthday around the corner it is especially difficult avoiding the topic of race these days. Everywhere I turn the issue rears its controversial head as the underground tone of America rumbles along with discontent, frustration and masked hypocrisy.
Its noise is present at the office water cooler discussed by those bemused or clueless, it is loudly pronounced on the trains by those who seek to attract attention and cause reaction, it cackles on various news programs with talk of an Administration led by a "foreign and exotic" president (to say it mildly), whose 'Kenyan' ass should be slapped silly according to certain radio personalities, and is also displayed by Tea Party activists carrying misspelled signs.
And yet... hidden underneath those obvious crimes of reason, there lies an insidious form of racism born and bred within those who seek to decry it. This filmmaker has named it 'shadeism.'
From the creator:
"This documentary short is an introduction to the issue of shadeism, the discrimination that exists between the lighter-skinned and darker-skinned members of the same community. This documentary short looks specifically at how it affects young wom[e]n within the African, Caribbean, and South Asian diasporas. Through the eyes and words of 5 young wom[e]n and 1 little girl - all females of colour - the film takes us into the thoughts and experiences of each. Overall, 'Shadeism' explores where shadeism comes from, how it directly affects us as wom[e]n of colour, and ultimately, begins to explore how we can move forward through dialogue and discussion. '
I admit, I can relate very well to the experiences of these young women, having grown up with a sister who was, and is several shades lighter than I. The unveiled reactions of others outside of my home affected me greatly as a child when they differentiated us merely by our skin color. She elicited many "oohs" and "aahs" as they fawned over her skin and hair, whereas my dimples were the only source of default admiration. I could always see the hesitation and pitiful query within their eyes- "Oh pity she didn't come out as light skinned as she..." Children see, absorb and understand more than we adults know or seemingly care to remember.
Why do we do this to ourselves and our children? Isn't there enough to battle against already?
Let's stop this now and cut the crap out.
Share your thoughts.