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Throwing Shade: An Introduction to Colourism

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Here at Onyx Yaya’s, we are in the business of inclusivity not exclusivity! That said we also recognise that as Black women we regularly decide who and what other Black women are by their outward appearance, and this includes their complexions. By doing this we immediately set up barriers and this blocks what could be authentic connections. We remove smiles, stop introductions, and make reaching out to one another almost impossible.

Oh, larwd ladies, we, meaning all of us, need to change this narrative!

You may be our guest but just like when you've been invited to someone’s home, I’m sure you’ve been nosy, so for sure you've checked us out! You can easily see that although we are sisters, we have two different complexions.

What is not so easy to see, from our pictures, is that we have had two very different experiences of colourism.

That being said, we are only two Black women, and we would not use this platform or any other to generalise our race or speak for all of you. Instead, we seek to know what you know, explore what we find and chose to understand and appreciate as many of the thoughts, feelings and ideas as you beautiful Black Queens are willing to share.

In 2020, we put our ideas into a survey, and our sistas' responded as follows:

1. What is your understanding of colourism?

Most of you gave a full explanation of colourism which could be a positive because we are aware of what it looks like but also negative for the same reason. Some of you were very specific and stated colourism is a ‘discrimination against darker skinned people in favour of light skinned people’ but could the truth not be said of the opposite?

Are you a light skinned black woman whose experienced colourism and would like to voice your view? Leave your comments on the forum

2. Have you experienced colourism?

68% of you said yes! This is a sad statistic but intrinsically expected. So, to some extent colourism has BECOME normal, relatable, but this unlike racism is not a commonality we can easily escape, as you will see from the responses of the next two questions.

3. What was your earliest experience?

Most respondents said in school. The majority as early as primary school. So, we carry our babies for nine months, bring them into the world and nurture them with all we have to offer and then send them off to school for an upgrade in knowledge only to have them downgraded as human beings, from those inside and outside of our race… From the perspective of a mother or as a child this cannot be normal

4. Where did you experience it?

Highest response was in the homes of family members, so who in your family has an issue with colour? Is that where you leave your child? We believe to minimise the negative impact colourism has on the next generation; we all must retrain our own minds. We do not want to pass this burden on. Please interject when you see it and stop yourself from entering the norms by default. Being uncomfortable is not the same as being damaged, can we get uncomfortable?

5. How has colourism impacted your life?

The responses to this question were particularly painful to read. We thank all our courageous Sista's for keeping it 100. The hurt damage and ongoing battles were penetrative. ‘God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. No matter how far away you end up, God, your God, will get you out of there’ Deuteronomy 30: 3-4 MSG

Not had your say, change that HERE!!!

We could clearly see the barriers, pain had caused. Romans 12.2 (NKJV) Says... "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind" lets identify some positive boundaries which will pull down the barriers and move us forward #blackwomenunite #colourism #queenscrowningqueens #throwingshade

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