Cherished readers, I closed the year 2010 with a pre-holiday hiatus blog post entitled For Mixed Girls, For Black Girls. I wrote it as a call to "lighted skinned" and "dark skinned" women in the black and mixed-black community to confront our pain and our struggles and ultimately come to a place of healing, love and understanding. No sooner do we hit the new year, however, does a club in Columbus, Ohio start planning a "Dark Skinned vs. Light Skinned Party" (Exhibit A to our right). Club promoters apparently thought it would be cute to use the Twitter hashtags #teamlightskin and #teamdarkskin as inspiration for their party, which has subsequently caused a Twitter frenzy and blogosphere sound-off (see Clutch Magazine's article on the party) over the past few weeks...
To add fuel to the already volatile colorism battle that ensued in cyperspace, our very own mixed race entrepreneurs of Mixed Chicks hair products-- a brand that makes products for naturally curly/kinky hair (and which I've been using religiously until well, now) allegedly tweeted
"#teamlightskin sure hope all will try @Mixedchicks to care 4 those curls.” The company has stated that it sent messages to all teams, not just #teamlightskin. (check out Black Girl With Long Hair's article on this subject. In addition, Sakita Holley's blog discusses the brand's PR epic fail that caused huge fallout in this article ).
But I guess for me that's neither here nor there. The damage, despite whatever good, clean intentions has been done. The Mixedchicks tweeter was a bit unsympathetic if not wholly ahistorical in their follow-up responses to the Twitter debate. The Mixedchicks tweeter seemed to think that we've moved beyond our issues with colorism stating "we didn't realize there was "a war" still. thought everyone celebrated difference like that. again, we apologize." Look, I as much as the next one would like to fantasize about how we can fix the world's ills one natural curly/kinky head and magic hair potion at a time. Yet for some communities, particularly those with people of African descent, hair is political and skin color is political. It's kind of a fact of life at this point. Things have been deeply internalized through systems and institutions of power and oppression that predate you and I, but somehow still effect our day to day. Yeah, it sounds all doom and gloom. And in these our postracial climes, it's not sexy and cute to talk about it. "Let's Confront Colorism" doesn't make quite as hot a party flier. That, however, doesn't make it a non-issue. In many ways colorism and its tons of baggage is a very intra-community issue affecting Latin@, Asian, indigenous and mixed communities alike both here at home and abroad.
There's nothing that gets to me more than colorism within communities of color and the minute I feel like we're taking one step forward, we take a hundred steps back.
Yet, what does it mean for us to move forward? Thoughts?
(Check out BGLH guest blogger "Makiya's" article " A bi-racial woman’s response to the Mixed Chicks Twitter debate