Monday, September 25, 2006

If you light, alright...

...if you black, stay back!

If this is not the first time you've heard that statement, you won't find the following article as any great surprise. Otherwise, educate yourselves:

Skin tone more important than educational background for African Americans seeking jobs, according to new research from the University of Georgia

Everyone knows about the insidious effects of racism in American society. But when it comes to the workplace, African Americans may face a more complex situation the effects of their own skin tone.

For the first time, a study indicates that dark-skinned African Americans face a distinct disadvantage when applying for jobs, even if they have resumes superior to lighter-skinned black applicants.

Sister Liz cued me into info on Black America Web but I chose to link to the academic article. On BAW, it was cute how they only alluded to--rather than directly address--the issue of colorism amongst black folks when no one else is around. The results might skew a little but I doubt that they would be much different if black Americans were doing the choosing. We're just as indoctrinated as everyone else.

In all honesty, in the past few years, I've been confronted with my views on color and culture. Before moving to Nashville I was dating a guy who was a few shades darker than myself. One day we were holding hands and all of the sudden I'm thinking, "Oh my God. He's actually black. I'm not black." I always thought of myself as black in color. My skin is actually quite brown. It was like some weird dichotomy. [Black identity is a strange thing. Especially in the West where culture is supposedly synonymous with a color rather than country.] It was actually a traumatizing moment. Typically, I'm the blackest person in the room--I know I need to get out more--and I'm cool with that. I'm used to that and my self-perception was wrongly shaped because of it.

I was talking with a girlfriend about the same thing and she said she had realized so much from dating a dark-skinned man. He was a really sweet guy, very tall, very dark and some of the reactions they got were just silly. (She's a short brown-skinned girl.) People are so scared of black it's amazing.

My pseudo-psychological analysis is this: When black people are more visible in normalized roles in media, politics and business, our mindsets will be broadened. That's a good thing.


Anali said...

Very interesting post. Sometimes it seems like the color issue is getting worse instead of better. Also it is so amazing to me that the color issue is present in every race and ethnicity.

Mosilager said...

i went to an international school in zambia so it was normal to see people around of different colours... in my initial months in the u.s. i didn't know that there was a colour distinction between black and white so i couldn't describe anyone properly to another american as they would always ask black or white and i'd say neither... bit darker than me or bit lighter than me... eventually i figured it out after the whole OJ Simpson case verdict came out and the white folks were unhappy while the black folks were happy. (yeah i know i went to a very small school in louisiana)

Indian Parrot said...

Been away for a while, i am catching up with your blogs.

One of the girls who i used to work with was black and we ended up talking about race and color and wound up comparing our skin color. I am kind of dark, and she was darker than me. To this day i dont understand why we decided to compare our skin color (we put our hands facing up side by side to compare). We were proud of our colors but i dont understand why we had to do what we did.