Over at Silver Rights, Mac Diva focuses on the issue of “colorism,” discrimination that goes on between people of the same societally dictated “color group.” Spike Lee’s School Daze deals with this horrifying phenomenon among those identified as African-Americans, and Diva’s focus comes from a true-life appearance of a similar horror: the story of a lawsuit stemming from a sad allegation. The case charges that an Applebees restaurant manager, reportedly a fair-skinned African-American, made derogatory comments — “black monkey,” “tar baby” — about a darker-hued employee’s skin tone. The manager allegedly fired the employee when he refused an order to bleach his skin and then complained about the abuse to corporate management.
Makes your skin crawl, doesn’t it?
Mac Diva brings up another interesting situation regarding possible “colorism” in the story of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond’s surprise “half-negro” daughter:
Another reason the topic has crossed my mind is the Essie Mae Washington-Williams episode. It is impossible to review photographs from her college yeas and not notice the often glaring absence of dark-skinned black people in them. Even her mother, Carrie Butler, who may have been dark, is missing.
This is an interesting essay, fascinating and sad. Give it a read.
For myself, I can not abide any form of what you call racism, what I call pigmentationism. I don’t see “colorism” as being any different. Discrimination is discrimination — it’s all inhumane. But when oppressed people turn around and oppress others, it really rankles. One would think that those who know the indignity of discrimination would not inflict the same evil on others.
Shame on the discriminators. It’s 2004 already… people are people. As Spike Lee would say, “Wake up.”