Global Standards of Beauty in the Age of Colorism


Today I came across the discussion of Confessions of a D Girl: Colorism and Global Standards of Beauty by Chika Okoro. This 2016 presentation had me realize how colorism still impacts communities of color today. As a young girl I quickly learned the different ways in which darker toned girls were treated. The infamous compliments that said “you’re pretty for a dark skinned girl” were unfortunately heard by many. The color standard within the Black community is one that needs to be addressed daily.


When I was a new mother in 2010, my daughter’s pediatric nurse had the nerve to even ask if she was mulatto. Like, really? You may think that the nurse was Caucasian but oh no she was not. The hurt and scrutiny was real. Once my daughter reached school age she then started to inquire about her shade. I quickly learned that parents are the first teachers. It was my job to teach her that there are several shades of melanin in African Americans. It was my job to inform her that we are all unique and made with God’s love.


In our home we had several open discussions. These discussions even prompted the writing of my Beautiful Shades children’s book. Although this narrative was important in my home, it was also crucial in homes across the globe. As an adult, it’s our priority to uplift our youth at an early age in ways that breed love and positive self image. You should not have to face emotional trauma due to your skin tone. Spread kind words of affirmation. You never know who may need it. If you don’t, your child may.


Writer, C. Scott, is a mother of one; author, social worker, early literacy interventionist and entrepreneur. Follow her on Instagram as @curls_coils and @mysweettealife.


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