With all of the racial tensions going on around the world, the one thing we aren't talking about is colourism. We need our allies to understand what our issues are and the things we've faced growing up. For myself, it wasn't always easy .. Being bi-racial, it was pretty clear growing up there were a lot of colorism issues within the black community. It took years for that to change . Being a light-skinned mixed woman, I wasn't black enough for the black community and to black for the white population.
Now, this was back in the early '90s.. it took years before there was a change and acceptance. Then, on January 20th, 2009, things changed for the Black community. When Barrack Obama became president of the United States, everyone was cheering. We have the first black president ! Umm... But wait! Barrack's mother was white, and his father was black, so wouldn't he be bi-racial? I know that many of my white friends were so confused, to say the least.
I had to take a moment because I realized that what had been happing for years was coming back. If you were bi-racial 50 percent black and you did something incredible, you were black enough to be called black.
This was my issue growing up .. I was always proud to be mixed; however, my father's family saw me as a light-skinned black woman. The more I did in my career, the rest of my black friends claimed me and said, 'There goes my black friend.'
I tried to explain this to my white friends that really didn't get it; it just this unspoken thing in our community; if I'm half black, I'm black.
Now let's fast forward to 2020 .. Well what a year Covid, then the black lives matter. Even now, there is colorism. Everyone is breaking down their blackness and where they come from or their ethnicity. I mean, I found myself doing it because many people, my white friends always saw me as not being black as strange as that is.
We need to stop putting ourselves in boxes and allowing others to do so. Does it really matter? Are we being put into groups? Does it matter if we are from? If your black, you're black! When we are fighting for our voices, our ethnicity shouldn't matter; we shouldn't be put into groups.
Do I have to have my blackness on my resume? Ok, my father was born in the U.S, and his background if African & Native. Does it matter what part of Africa? Does it matter where in West Africa? As sad as it is, I've felt I had to break it down to almost prove my blackness. It's sad, especially when we need to be focused on how we can create change and make more room for the black community to live freely and be safe. Be equal with our white brothers and sisters.
I really want the world to focus on how we can all make a change to live a happier life with less racism, I say less because we know it's never going to go away. It's unfortunate to see how many companies, celebrities and magazines had so many racist people coming out of their faces about the black community, I mean tell me how you really feel!
I've been seeing it, and feeling it on my end, truly seeing colorism, is still a huge issue, and it's more of the non-black community that's creating the problem. Getting question's like, "how black are you "? Where are you from? You're Canadian, so what black country are your parents or parent from? Why does that matter? My father was BLACK!
We need to really re-focusing the conversations and not to try to do the mathematics on how black we are. We need to focus on police brutality issues and the blatant racism we've had to deal with for years. Let's not focus on our tone of blackness as we come in so many incredible shades.
I look forward to a time where we don't have to see any more black men and women being killed for the colour of their skin because you're black at those moments, and the shade or percentage doesn't matter. It's time to pay attention and shed light on these issues, have essential conversations even why colorism affects us so badly.
Hopefully, after all of the blood, sweat and tears, Black lives will matter, and we will finally be heard.