If you asked a child to give an example of a time they witnessed or experienced colorism, you’d probably get drastically different answers. Some might speak about a fellow classmate calling them names for being too dark, while others wouldn’t be able to respond because they simply don’t know what colorism is.
Merriam-Webster tells us that colorism is “prejudice or discrimination, especially within a racial or ethnic group favoring people with lighter skin over those with darker skin.”
But we don’t need a dictionary to tell us it exists in our communities and negatively affects our children, both in school and out.
“Telling you your skin is too dark, or you’re pretty for a dark skin girl is something that happens a lot in the Black community,” says Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Kheris Rogers. “Some people try to normalize, or people try to act like doesn’t exist when it simply does.”
Rogers, 16, knew from an early age exactly what colorism is — and what being bullied at school because of it feels like.
When she was just 10-years-old, her peers at her LA elementary school began telling her that because of her dark skin, she looked like a burned biscuit or a dead roach.