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OSIC Team (Organizational Initiatives, Strategy & Culture)
Let's Talk About Anti-Blackness & Colorism

Let’s talk about anti-Blackness!

Anti-Blackness is deeply rooted in our history and dates back to the era of colonialism, in which white colonizers created a racial hierarchy making white skin superior and Black skin inferior. This racial hierarchy is still prevalent globally, and anti-Black racism shows up in many ways across institutions.

One form is through Colorism. Let’s unpack that!

What does Colorism have to do with anti-Blackness?

Colorism is the preferential and prejudicial treatment of lighter skin over darker skin. See how they connect?

Examples of anti-Blackness around the world:

  • Skin-whitening products/treatments are commonly used in China, The Philippines, South Korea, and more Asian countries.
  • Black Muslims not considered “real Muslims” in many South Asian countries.
  • In 2015, Mexico finally recognized their Black population as Afro-Mexicans in the national census.

Examples of anti-Blackness in our community:

  • Anti-Black dating preference.
  • Using Asian-Americans’ success stories to downplay racism toward Black people (See Model Minority Myth).
  • Lack of Black leadership in the workplace (There have only been 14 Black CEO’s since 1999 in the Fortune 500 lists. Fortune, 2020.)
  • Derogatory remarks about Black hair, speech and culture.

How can I talk about anti-Blackness with my family?

Educate yourself.

Search for content to gain some knowledge on how anti-Blackness hurts Black people through systemic racism and oppression.

Unpack your own anti-Blackness.

How does your community perpetuate anti-Blackness? Allow yourself to feel discomfort and reflect on this.

Start talking with someone you trust.

One on ones or smaller groups will be more effective and you’ll gain more confidence speaking on this the more you learn.

Focus on the Black experience.

While non-Black people of color still experience oppression, do not lose focus on how non-Black communities perpetuate that system.

Expect and accept non-closure.

Recognize that one conversation may not “fix” this problem, unlearning is a process.

For more information

If you would like to learn more about this topic, click here for an "Ultimate List of Colorism Books for All Ages".