VINTAGE: Grace Jones & Naomi Campbell.
As a dark brown woman, I never publicly engage in conversations about complexion and colorism (discrimination based on skin color) because they frustrate me so much. Yet I am often asked random questions…
"As a dark brown woman, I never publicly engage in conversations about complexion and colorism (discrimination based on skin color) because they frustrate me so much. Yet I am often asked random questions like:
'Didn’t you love the documentary Dark Girls?’ (No.) ‘Aren’t you sad that Pharell didn’t include a brown girl on his cover?’ (No, but his response sucked.) ‘Doesn’t Lupita finally make you feel beautiful?’ (She’s gorgeous but what?)
I just can’t win. Even Enlightened Black Folks often get the topic of colorism wrong. Why? Because they don’t understand what Chimamada Ngozi Adichie calls the ‘danger of a single story.’
Adichie used the phrase in a TED talk, arguing that we risk fundamentally misunderstanding a person or place when we rely on a single, popular narrative. That idea aptly applies to colorism and the one common story told about it which goes like this:
Black America has a problem: Dark girls have low self esteem because boys don’t find them attractive. To end colorism, men need to tell them that they’re beautiful. The end.
That story is not my story. It is also intellectually lazy, sexist and racist. So to help create a new one, here are five things you need to know….”
- Erica Williams Simon, “5 Things You Need to Know about Colorism”
Herieth Paul, the face of Anthropologie’s Spring 2014 catalogue lookbook.
1. Single moms are the problem. Only 9 percent of low-income, urban moms have been single throughout their child’s first five years. Thirty-five percent were married to, or in a relationship with, the child’s father for that entire time.
2. Absent dads are the problem. Sixty percent of low-income dads see at least one of their children daily. Another 16 percent see their children weekly.
3. Black dads are the problem. Among men who don’t live with their children, black fathers are more likely than white or Hispanic dads to have a daily presence in their kids’ lives.
4. Poor people are lazy. In 2004, there was at least one adult with a job in 60 percent of families on food stamps that had both kids and a nondisabled, working-age adult.
5. If you’re not officially poor, you’re doing okay. The federal poverty line for a family of two parents and two children in 2012 was $23,283. Basic needs cost at least twice that in 615 of America’s cities and regions.
6. Go to college, get out of poverty. In 2012, about 1.1 million people who made less than $25,000 a year, worked full time, and were heads of household had a bachelor’s degree.
7. We’re winning the war on poverty. The number of households with children living on less than $2 a day per person has grown 160 percent since 1996, to 1.65 million families in 2011.
8. The days of old ladies eating cat food are over. The share of elderly single women living in extreme poverty jumped 31 percent from 2011 to 2012.
9. The homeless are drunk street people. One in 45 kids in the United States experiences homelessness each year. In New York City alone, 22,000 children are homeless.
10. Handouts are bankrupting us. In 2012, total welfare funding was 0.47 percent of the federal budget.
- Anaïs Nin (via heyfranhey)
As Noam Chomsky once pointed out for Z Magazine, old media types from the institutional bodies like American Enterprise Institute tend to regurgitate the same ideas with a reliability that is equally impressive and infuriating. While assuring the public that rape is a terrible crime, writers like Caroline Kitchens and Heather McDonald of right-wing think tank The Manhattan Institute try to claim that feminists have blown this whole rape culture thing way out of proportion.
Apparently, many women disagree. On Tuesday there were more than 1 million responses on the #RapeCultureIsWhen hashtag started by a frustrated Zerlina Maxwell in response to these right-wing narratives.
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