Overview: Colorism is when individuals with darker complexions are faced with prejudice and discrimination because of their skin. Colorism is an issue that affects dark skinned people all around the world and is commonly perpetrated by people of the same race. Dark-skinned Black girls face a disadvantage from birth due to their skin tone. They feel a heavy burden to be accepted and valued by others as they grow up in a society that thinks of them as inferior. Unfortunately, the darker you are the more inferior you get. Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, hauntingly captures this reality by embodying all of the physical characteristics that are seen as ugly or lesser by both White and Black people in a character named Pecola. By examining Pecola and the circumstances she is in, we can see that negative attitudes toward dark skinned Black females are ingrained in our society and that from young ages, dark-skinned Black girls share feelings of low self-worth brought on by things like the media, beauty standards, and traumatizing relationships which ultimately ruin mental health.
Author's reflection: My name is Rachael Chukwu and I am currently a sophomore and majoring in nursing and minoring in Spanish. My second semester of freshman year was when I took the ENGL 1299 research writing class called Race in America with professor Reagan. At first I did not know what I was going to write about but when we read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison in class I knew immediately what I wanted to write about. I am very passionate about the topic of colorism as I’ve seen instances of it growing up and even experienced it a couple of times. Although I am also Black I know colorism affects darker skinned people at an even greater rate than people who are my complexion. I really wanted to unravel the mental and emotional distress that colorism causes. This is the first research paper I’ve written and it was an enlightening experience to think deeply about a topic and find so many different peer-reviewed journal articles and learn even more along the way. My writing skills have definitely improved from taking this class as well as my research skills. Professor Regan supported me and was a good mentor throughout my time in the class. ENGL 1299 made me realize that writing can be an interesting process when it is about something you resonate with.
"Dark Is Not Fair,"
3690: A Journal of First-Year Student Research Writing: Vol. 2021, Article 2.
Available at: https://fisherpub.sjfc.edu/journal3690/vol2021/iss1/2