Colorism In The Caribbean

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How Has Colorism Affected Individuals’ Attitudes And Relationships In Caribbean Culture?
Why is it that in contemporary Caribbean society, so many years after slavery has been abolished, that the color of one’s skin matters? How is it that Colorism has been able to survive all these years even with all the advancement society has made? Why is it that society has an inclination for those of a lighter complexion rather than their darker complexion co-racial counterparts? These are just a few of the questions that arise when one considers the issue of Colorism. First of all, one must have a general understanding of what this term means.
Colorism is skin color stratification (Okazawa Rey, Robinson, & Ward, 1987). It is “a form of oppression that
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Brown states that “Colorism is the crazy aunt in the attic of racism” (Faisal, 2013). Colorism is sometimes referred to as the cousin of racism. According to social scientists, such as Edward B. Reuter (1917) and E. Franklin Frazier (1957) Colorism can be traced back to racist ideologies developed in European culture and then passed on during and after slavery. Before Europeans came to the Caribbean, there was the notion of White supremacy and when they came into the Caribbean, these values transferred into Caribbean culture. White slave masters showed preference to those African slaves who had a lighter complexion and they were allowed to work as house slaves, whereas the slaves with a darker complexion worked as field slaves doing all the hard, manual labor. Through the miscegenation of races, that is, the sexual relations between the White planter and the African slave, the mulatto or lighter hued populations expanded. By displaying favoritism to these lighter slaves, they were able to receive better education and employment opportunities after slavery was abolished, thus they developed a sense of superiority over their darker counterparts. Jeffrianne Wilder (2008) stated that the inferiority associated with blackness translated into socially constructed ideas about skin tone and phenotype that continue to shape identity, status and opportunity. These ideas are then emphasized or popularized by the media and through improper socialization that encourage colorist…show more content…
The Caribbean pays little attention to the fast-arising issue of Colorism and if it is not controlled it will cause irreversible damage to our cultures and our peoples. The only way in which this issue can be reversed is through proper socialization. Parents must teach their children the right values and avoid discrimination; they must treat everyone equally no matter their skin color or social status. Caribbean islands must wake up and realize how much American culture and ideologies are quickly destroying our culture and our unique identities through skin bleaching creams and brainwashing our young girls with their songs. We must refrain from using color terms that denounce other races and encourage self-worth and positive self-perceptions that will enforce individuals’’ attitudes and strengthen
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