Light-skinned privilege: It’s real AND it’s complicated

Light-skinned privilege: It’s real AND it’s complicated

Mixed Race Feminist Blog

Nicola Codner

Two men in a burning house must not stop to argue –African Proverb

For the purposes of this article I will be talking about light skin privilege in relation to mixed race people with light skin who have both black and white heritage. I’ve read a lot of articles now on light-skinned privilege. It’s fairly common to come across them in good feminist communities whether they are predominantly black or white, or any other racial group.

So, just what is light-skinned privilege? It’s probably easier to explain it by talking about shadism (or colourism as it’s called in the U.S), which is understood as a form of oppression darker-skinned women face. Shadism affects all communities of colour throughout the world to some degree and is the prejudice and discrimination amongst people of colour based on skin tone. There are many preconceived ideas about people with darker skin which are largely negative (such as being dangerous, less intelligent and less beautiful than people with lighter skin). Conversely people of colour with lighter skin, because of their proximity to a white skin tone, are more likely to be viewed in a positive light (innocent, desirable, capable and so on). I find it hard to imagine anyone saying light-skinned privilege isn’t real and that it’s not a serious problem in and affecting communities of colour. I know that I, as a mixed race women with a light skin tone, do have some privileges because of my skin colour. This article in no way contests light-skinned privilege. I accept it as a fact…

Read the entire article here.

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