Christina Rice, Sister Circle’s public relations representative, kicked off the group’s ‘For Colored Girls” event by reading a quote from an infamous slave owner’s 1712 letter The Making of a Slave.
“You must use the dark skin slaves, versus the light skin slaves. You must use the female versus the male.”
The slave owner’s words prove to be relevant in today’s black society. According to Sister Circle Members, it is the reason behind black people dividing by color instead of uniting as one race.
Colorism is prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.
As a campus organization, Sister Circle aims to empower women of color by uniting through education and creating safe spaces to exchange ideas and form relationships.
Last Tuesday, the group put together an interactive event where people talked about their feelings and experiences in regards to colorism, and how it has affected black women for years.
“I think it goes back, honestly to slavery times,” Rēmy Abrought said. “The light skin people were house slaves and treated better.”
Questions such as: “Why does colorism affect us?” “Am I only pretty for a dark skin girl?” and “Are light skin girls just sex symbols?” were a few of the questions discussed. Women of all shades shared what they thought about each question.
During the event, two clips were shown: one from Dark Girls and the second from Light Girls. Both are documentaries targeted at black women, showing them their own race doesn’t accept them because of differences in skin tone.
Women in Dark Girls complained they were too dark and wanted to bleach their skin to be lighter. Women in Light Girls attested to being too light. Many of them tan to be darker and to prove they are indeed black.
Women around the room recalled their experiences with colorism. Sister Circle President Kiara Brown-Edwards, who could be categorized as dark skinned, shared an important moment from her childhood.
“I remember I was in middle school and this guy, I thought he was so cute, and he said ‘I would never talk to you, you’re too dark,’” Brown-Edwards said. “Because of that comment I really felt as though I wasn’t pretty enough.”
Other girls added their stories of being “too dark” and the name calling that damaged their self-image for years.
In closing remarks, the group asked “How do we begin to heal?” Again, black women collectively gave their remarks about how to put a stop to colorism.
“I feel like the first step to healing is to support each other,” Abrought said. “Hype her up and make her feel beautiful, because she is.”