Unpacking Colorism and Privilege For Real


Colorism:  Prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.

Definition taken from the Oxford Dictionary.

So last week I wrote a piece about colorism and lightskinned privilege (which does not exist) and I received very visceral (coming from strong emotions and not from logic or reason) responses.

A title pissed you off so you didn’t bother to read. Fine. Stay mad.

I was called a troll, dismissive, insults were thrown at my family which included my darkskinned sister and niece (I guess alliances are for only if you are pandering), my daughter and myself. I was told that I wasn’t an “ally” nor a “sister” , I sounded like “poor white people when speaking about privilege” and that I flat out denied that colorism existed. Black men even felt the need to respond as if they had a place here in this discussion and what was even more asinine is that a couple told me what I should have said. GET THE ENTIRE FUCK ON. Please and thank you.

Even poor white folks get more respect going into Barney’s than rich black folks. But ok.


So yeah all that was cool but what post were YOU reading?

My inbox and email were off the hook with everything from  accusatory judgments to heartfelt gratitude. I, even, spoke on the phone to some of my sisters. This is what I was hoping for… a dialogue.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have ANY of that online. It seemed as if there was no reading for comprehension. Folks, totally, bypassed that they were loved, colorism existed and that it had been IMPOSED upon us for 500 years, and that we needed to create a healing space for one another. NOT for just darkskinned or lightskinned women BUT FOR BLACK WOMEN PERIOD.



Colorism redefined
Black women

This is where I am today and I am going to respond TO EVERYBODY so that we are clear on what MY agenda is for US- not darkskinned or lightskinned but for us. I am asking you to forget your feelings and read to FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT IS BEING ASKED OF YOU.

So let’s look at “privilege”. This word was getting tossed around so much that I was dizzy. Let’s be clear. BLACK WOMEN HAVE NEVER HAD ANY FUCKING PRIVILEGE.

Education, access to decent housing and a liveable income are not privileges. They are basic human needs. Have lightskinned women been given an advantage by being given access to these basic requirements to live over darkskinned women? Yes. Is it a privilege?No.

Privilege comes from a ruling class and having power. When have black women EVER had that? I will wait.

Here’s the second part to that question.

Now ask yourself. Complexion be fucking damned. If you didn’t have access to your basic human needs and someone gave you the advantage of having it, would you take it? This is a yes or no question. We can all be self-righteous when our needs are being met but if you are trying to survive- what would you do? I will wait.

Surprisingly, out of the many times that I asked that question- only one sister responded with a yes and she has been directly affected by colorism. She has not gotten jobs in entertainment because of her skin color. She, also, understood her sister’s need to survive is just like her own. The institution imposing this bullshit SUCKS so right now we just need to be able to eat but as we find opportunities, the goal is to bring each other in. Right?

How many of you are putting each other on if you are in the position to do so? I will wait. How many of you support each other’s businesses? How many of you uphold what sisterhood is? I will wait.

Colorism was not created or implemented by us so why do we continue to perpetuate it?

#TeamLightskinned and #Darkskinnedrage- this narrative needs to change. I am NOT an ally to darkskinned women.  WE are black women. One in the same. I will NOT allow you to separate me from you. If this is your agenda, you are counterproductive to the movement of BLACK WOMEN. Your rage does not mean be abusive or that other black women have to eat your shit because of your feelings. Naw bruh.

If lightskinned women make it a habit of isolating sisters based on being darker, you are a fucking idiot and you can kick rocks too with your self-hating ass. I have no time for this silly shit. Black women are in peril. YOU are counterproductive to the movement of BLACK WOMEN.

Food for thought: What would darkskinned women have lightskinned women do with their pain from being abused and hurt as well?

If anybody has the courage to answer, I would love to hear it.

Do you see where this is going? EVERYBODY IS HURTING. One isn’t more important than other. They are just different.

If we are going to effectively dismantle colorism on our end, we have to delete its existence, no? I know that some of us may not be open to this and that’s fine. What will you do to change the narrative? When I talk about my sisters, I don’t distinguish between complexions. I love my sisters period. When I defend black women, I defend them period. I shut bullshit down on sight. Do you?

We are embracing who wants to be embraced so that we are stronger! Don’t run off your sisters. We need each other and if you aren’t on board, you’re going to get left behind and you can catch up when you get it. We will no longer wait for you. If you are still picking teams, you get “Deuces”. POINT BLANK.

We can still acknowledge hurt and and anger without engaging in division. WE WILL NOT ENGAGE IN DIVISION.

It’s time to shit or get off the damn pot.








K. Araújo, a native Detroiter, is a cross between Claire Huxtable, Rosie Pérez and Millie Jackson. Widow, bruja, Oni Yemaya, palera,  professional dragger of filth and Mami to the dopest Ethiopian EVER, she is the Editor in Chief of “Negra With Tumbao”, Staff Writer for “The Urban Twist” and a freelance contributor for major publications like The Root, VSB, Huffington Post, My Brown Baby and The Glow Up.

​Keka has been known to shake what her mama gave her, is the hell and high water, an expert salsera and cussologist with a penchant for the finer things in life and is and forever shall be- unapologetically black.

  • Timothy

    In that case you should stop talking about white people vs black and just be equal. It’s not that simple. Anyone can have privilege, it’s not a subjective word its objective. Basic needs being met as a privilege is fucking pathetic, but it’s still a privilege. My privilege as a black male is that I can say nigga. Fuck call it advantages tomatoes tug mayors. my most important point is the first one. If you’re going to make that argument then u can say the same thing about racism so gtfo

    • Timothy

      *tomatoes tuhmatoes

      • Timothy

        Differences aren’t the problem you’re on some colorblind shit. It’s whether or not we celebrate those differences

    • YOU must’ve bumped your fucking head. NIGGA, HOW DARE YOU tell me what I should stop talking about? If you see having your basic needs provided as a privilege… YOU ARE A BASIC ASS NIGGA. Nothing more. Bye Timothy.

      • Timothy

        lol so to someone in an impoverished country the poorest American isn’t privileged? Lmao I said that we don’t even have to use that word, we can say advantaged. Lightskinned people are advantaged over dark-skinned people in society. Point blank period that’s how the majority of all ethnic groups think. So you’re discrediting the plights of your dark-skinned sisters by saying that their difference in skin tone doesn’t exist, much like whites say that “they don’t see color”. Just because you see them all as sisters, everyone else doesn’t and they still face real problems related to their skin. You are advocating color-blindness and you hate being wrong but you are definitely wrong. There are dark-skinned and light-skinned people just as there are black and white people, one only has to have eyes and half of a brain to see that. & every skin tone should be treated equally, but they’re not, so stop acting like you treating your sisters equally (as you should) means that everyone else does and everything in their lives will be fine since you’re such a great person.

        • Dude, AGAIN being poor and getting crumbs isn’t a fucking privilege… that way of thinking is a part of the problem. I’m advocating fighting the REAL SOURCE OF THE ISSUE instead of picking at someone who is trying to make it just like you… Everybody who has your argument never wants to admit that they’d do the exact same thing if given the chance. You’re full of shit… you don’t beat one another up.. when gets put on, you pull your kin in one by one… why is that so hard for you negroes to understand?

          • Timothy

            FORGET PRIVILEGE. ADVANTAGED OK, ADVANTAGED. I ALREADY FUCKING SAID THAT. The maiin issue we are addressing is not WHITE VS BLACK RACISM, it is colorism, DARKSKIN VS LIGHT. How the fuck are you going to disrespect darker sisters by saying that lightskinned people are just as “unprivileged” regarding whites vs blacks??Are you kidding me?? Are you ignoring the fact that lightskinned people are advantaged over darkskinned people by deflecting towards racism on purpose???? Like wth. You’re IGNORING the plights of a whole people omgomg i’m going crazy trying to spoon feed this. You’re saying the issues don’t exist, like poof they disappeared? Huh?? Full of shit? You must not have read my argument it was flawless. Acknowledging that someone has darker skin isn’t picking on them, it should be a celebration of their skin!! The ROOT problem is that all skin colors should be celebrated, they aren’t. Racism and the privileges of it ARE NOT the root problem of colorism!!! They’re two related but different things. If white vs black racism and discrimination were eradicated tomorrow there would STILL be colorism in the black community for fuck’s sake omg you’re either a dimwit or can never admit you’re wrong. You should be telling your sisters hey i love your skin instead of hey your skin color doesn’t exist. Your colorblindness is what some white people do you don’t HATE that shit? DOES A FEW PEOPLES’ COLORBLINDNESS PREVENT BLACKS FROM GETTING MURDERED BY COPS? I can’t deal with you. Think of your super darkskinned sisters and your super lightskinned sisters right now. You KNOW which are which. It exists. It should be loved and celebrated. That’s COLORBLINDNESS you’re advocating. & you erasing your sisters’ skin isn’t going to change all of the people who don’t. YOU DON’T TELL YOUR LIGHTSKIN SISTERS TO FORGET THEIR SKIN COLORS IN REGARDS TO COLORISM BECAUS EYOU KNOW PPL DISCRIMNATE AGAINST DARKER PEOPLE. LIKE “HEY SHARNAY JUST GO ON AND FORGET YOUR SKIN TONE EVERYTHING IS GONNA BE OK” omg i can’t deal with your ignorance. Put yourself in the shoes of a very darkskinned person for fuck’s sake. *dark girl hears Kodak Black say he hates dark women* “Hey sister, I love you your skin tone doesn’t exist” “Err ok thank you?” Instead of being blind, you should LOVE their skin!! ALL SKIN TONES SHOULD BE LOVED. OTHERWISE THE EARTH WOULD BE BORING. DARK LIGHT WHATEVER, I PREFER HAVING DIFFERENT TONES IDK ABOUT U. Omg if you can’t see this I have NO fucking hope & you have some issues only God can erase. I’m done Goodbye.

          • Timothy

            One other thing, a darkskinned person has a better chance of experiencing unwarranted death by cop than a lightskinned person, don’t you fucking think? That’s a privilege. Right, having a greater chance of living? Something that should be a right? I want you to tell your darkskinned friends that isn’t a privlege and watch them vomit in your face. I hate to succumb to this anger i”m feeling but you are a FUCKING idiot. Enjoy getting in the last word.

          • Maaaan gtfomf with that bullshit… you’re talking just to talk… typical nigga shit…

            I’m sick of ashy ass negros over talking black women. Again, nobody is erasing anybody but here comes your dumb ass like you don’t understand plain English. Hotep your ass on elsewhere, payaso. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2c70ea6f326e99300ebf97a074193609db1b46deeaff407bf23c6a2e47acbcfa.jpg

          • Samantha Harris

            Korryn Gaines was real. Fuck yourself, you hateful bastard.

      • Timothy

        lol so if you’re talking about committing suicide I should egg you on or just stand by? booooo your anger-filled arguments SUCK. and I didn’t tell you to stop talking about it, I said you SHOULD based on your darkskin vs lightskin logic, because the same logic would apply if you believe that every human, white or black, is equal and should love each other even though there’s black vs white shit just how there’s darkskinned vs lightskinned shit. Now if you don’t believe that every human is equal and should love each other, then no, keep talking about it and going on and hating white people. You should be saying though, “hey lightskinned people, stop oppressing darkskinned people” instead of forcing darkskinned people to forget their skin tone LIKE WHITE PEOPLE DO TO BLACKS. I have a feeling that you and your kindergarten-level arguments are never going to change though, so peace, I tried.

        • Wrong. Black people light or dark have NEVER NOT BEEN oppressed. That’s the caveat. But obviously critical thinking skills bypassed you. It’s cool. You’ll be alright.

  • Samantha Harris

    I don’t even know if I’ll be able to come up with the right words, but I have this and a few other articles saved for days when shit’s getting heavy and there is no one to talk to. The fact that there are women out there like you gives me hope. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be close friends with one, but I’m watching. You are an example to me.

    In short, my mother abused me for being born the littl girl you see in the profile pic. It was totally okay for Mommy Dearest to boost her sense of self by having a light skinned man, but when I was born, it was an affront. My mother’s abuse still rings in my life today. She stripped me and beat me on a regular basis for nothing, she’d slap me if I so much as shed a tear or even looked indignant when she was screaming in my face about how stupid, lazy, worthless and good for nothing I was in her eyes. She would make me eat out of the trash can, she wouldn’t let me grow my hair or wear anything pretty. She wouldn’t allow me to have hobbies, refused to attend my school events, though she worked for the school board and they would have understood. She never told me she loved me and she shunned my affection. She scared my friends away. When my depression reared its ugly head, she turned both sides of my family away from me. In short, she broke me. Because my skin was an affont to her.

    Fast forward through life, and I have been harrassed by my sisters for years. I didn’t start analyzing this until a few years ago. I would just internalize their BS. I mean, you come up to me, a stranger on the street to tell me I’m ugly…and here comes another person…I’m likely to believe it. I don’t anymore, but that took a lot of work. These days, in the “woke” community, if it’s not someone trying to give me a lesson on my own damned history when I express my discomfort with this issue, it’s outright vitriol from men and women alike, or for those who do tolerate me, largely indifference. I’m treated as if I have white privilege. I’m clinging to my life for dear life, given what was done to me, and on top of that I have to deal with isolation and suspicion. I’m pretty much told I need to be empathetic and understanding to those who abuse me. Just take it, because they hurt FAR worse. Damn, how are they still alive, then? I’ve survived three attempts on my own life thus far, dealing with all this shit. I stay alive for my son, because he has no one else.

    Where is my empathy? This woman broke my life because the gene lottery dealt me this complexion. People who know they are loved, who have a home to go to, who don’t stress daily over food, prostitute themselves for food (like I had to once), who have never slept in a shelter bed, people who BELONG…they sneer and jeer at me about my privilege. And I’m barely surviving. But to them, saying this is the equivalent of being like a white person. I wish they’d just be honest and stop joking when they say I’m white…and just say that’s what they think I am and that’s the experience they think I have. It’s so bad that even in my activism, I had someone send a white person with me to an interview. I’m not even good enough in many black circles to know my own history and experience to the point that I need a white ally babysitter. I’m treated with contempt constantly…but I need to have empathy.

    I know this…if anything happens to me or my son, no one would even care about our names to say them. And that is sad, because at least my baby boy deserves better. Trying to get him something better is the only reason I hang on.