I attended Detroit Demo Day recently, which was amazing! More than one million dollars was invested in worthy entrepreneurs, including youth, and mainly people of color. But during the event, something struck me. When one of the judges were announced as "black girl magic," a woman behind me said, "I thought she said black girl magic..." Apparently the judge's skin tone and features were a little too Eurocentric for this woman's taste. In others words, because of her light complexion and her European features, she didn't fit the "black girl magic" label.
I can't tell you how many times over the course of my own life I have been subjected to the same kind of ridicule. I, like many of us in this country, are multiracial. My mother is bi-racial (predominantly African and European descent) and my father is Creole. This combination resulted in me having a lighter complexion and what some would classify as Eurocentric features. This made those around me suspect to my identity. I've been asked "what are you?" my whole life. My answer has always been "I'm black." The responses are typically, "Right, but you know what I mean. What are you mixed with?" I then have to go on to explain my mixed heritage and the choice that I make to identify as black. Having to explain this from a place of someone being curious is one thing. Having to defend my position from someone's opposition of my identity, all because I don't appear to be "black enough," is another thing all together.
To be black in this country is hard enough. To identify as black in this country and to be made to feel you are less than because you don't fit someone else's definition of black makes it that much harder.
Colorism is whack and one of those pervasive issues that prevent us from living in true sisterhood with one another. Plus, it affects our overall wellness as black women. To be seen and heard is a universal need we all have. When we don't see others the way in which they want to be seen it's painful and is ultimately a form of oppression.
Black really is beautiful. It comes in all different shades, sizes, features, hair types and mannerisms. Black Women About Business was created for all women who identify as black, no matter what black that package comes in. Our work is about creating sacred spaces of business and wellness support for us all.
Isn't it time that we put a stop to colorism in this country?