Colorism is a form of racism where variations of skin color determine how a person is treated or perceived. In the U.S. (where Language Snaps is based) it often means favoritism towards people with lighter skin or phenotypes that are associated with Europe.

However, colorism can negatively affect people regardless of whether their skin color is socially favored. For example, a lighter-skinned Black or Brown person might experience more privilege than a darker-skinned person but less privilege than a White person. The result can be stigmatization by both darker-skinned Black or Brown people as well as White people. Darker-skinned people, in turn, might face increased challenges than lighter-skinned and white people.

The bottom line, as Alice Walker has stated in many of her works, is that no one should face this (or any form) of discrimination. In Melanin History Month (An Offering), she wrote: “In my own Walker clan our colors ranged from light copper to dark chocolate. All deeply attractive. But did the darkest in the family ever know this? No, because society had infected the family with its disease of racism and colorism.”

To learn more about colorism, explore the sources people.