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I was out running errands yesterday and had to run into the local grocery store. I walked up to the door and was about to grab the handle when suddenly a hand appeared and opened the door for me. Being secure in my masculinity and said masculinity not being wrapped up in door privileges, that did not bother me. What bothered me was when I turned to say thank you, it was two people of color who had beautiful dark skin, dark like the night. Their skin was simply gorgeous. I looked into their eyes, and they didnt say anything. I said thank you again, but nothing. The man just stood there with his female companion, looking down at the ground. Their expression was of a servile spirit. It made me cringe, but instead of giving them a lecture on our equality and stepping out of the bonds of white supremacy, and backlash from slavery, and the paper bag test, blah, blah, blah. I just sighed and walked through the door this elderly black man was holding open for me. He felt he had to thanks to Colorism. As i was shopping I could not get the image out of my mind of this elderly black couple holding the door open for a young black male, sheepishly looking down at the ground. They are the elders and deserve my respect, not the other way around. However they have been conditioned to think me better than them because of my light complexion. What a tragedy. It made me think of School Daze, the brilliant Spike Lee film about HBCU life.
This has been going on for soooooo long. When will we stop it? Critics within our own community disagree over the intersectional aspects of this problem. Recently with the film The Butler, there was a colorism debate regarding Mariah Carey being cast as a field slave. As they thought she was far too fair to be believably cast as a field worker. The Butler
Then there was Zoey Saldana, putting on dark makeup to portray Nina Simone. Many cried blackface when they saw the shoots from the biopic. Nina
The issues with darker black people receiving wose treatment than lighter black people goes back to slavery, and was perpetuated in Jim Crow laws, and exists still today. Many say Barack Obama, got as far as he did because of his light skin tone. Halle Berry as well commands much higher salaries than her fellow African American, actresses who happen to be darker. Oprah discussed this with several actresses in a special regarding race. Black Actresses and Hollywood.
We still have much work to do.