Colorism: A Deeply Rooted History

Tyra Banks jiggaboo and wannabeUnderstanding the vigorous preoccupation with beauty that pervades Caribbean society requires a look into the historical significance of eurocentrism in the black community. It is a well-known fact that during the period of colonial slavery that started in the Western Hemisphere in 1619, slaves were characterized and placed in jobs according to their skin tone. Slaves with lighter skin tones were allowed to work as servants for the slave master and his family while slaves with darker skin were sent to perform intense manual labor in plantations for extremely long periods of time. The correlation between light skin and increased social opportunity stigmatized dark skin as a curse and eventually produced a distain for any phenotypic traits that were characteristic of the black race.


This disdain ultimately grew into the prejudice that exists within the black community between light skin people and dark skin people called colorism. Colorism pervades the global society in an extremely tangible way as people continue to associate light skin with progress. Perhaps the most saddening result of this idea of colorism is the upswing in skin lightening that is now pervading Caribbean society and impacting the world at large.

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