Never in my existence would I have imagined the possibility that Dominicans would discriminate against each other in the 21st century because of difference in skin tone or colour. But, surprisingly, colourism is still alive and well in my neck of the woods. And it is as disappointing as it is embarrassing.
Colourism is prejudice or discrimination against people with a darker skin tone, usually among the same racial or ethnic background. To many researchers, when black people, for instance, look down on darker-skinned black people, it is as detrimental as instances where racism is perpetuated by whites on blacks.
In short, it is tragic and I cannot wrap my head around the reasons why we have allowed such a societal cancer to thrive in this country we claim to love. Aren’t we so upset with white (America) often, because of blatant and not- so blatant racism and disregard for black people, or the great level of discrimination they face soley because of the colour of their skin?
Why then, in Dominica, do I hear strong xenophobic and racial slurs slung left, right and centre to the folks with darker skin? It seems to me that we still believe that our fairer counterparts are more intelligent, appealing, and should be treated with more respect; and also that we should have a higher regard for their lives as opposed to people like myself with far darker hues.
Weeks ago I posted a picture on instagram. Truthfully, I appear darker than my usual.
Interestingly, (or maybe not) while many left comments about how my melanin popped, others sent direct messages and called to warn me “not to get any darker” and to send ‘gentle reminders’ that I should probably spend less time outside. I am yet to form words about how it felt to be on the receiving end of that ‘advice’.
There is no reason why as a black woman I must be uncomfortable to be black in a predominately black society.
It must be confusing for anyone from the outside looking in to see that even we are ashamed of our dark skin. Truthfully, I have more questions than answers.
How is it that hundreds of years later the brainwashing of slavery still impacts us so negatively in what can be considered modern day society? How on earth can we seriously attempt to fight for justice, for representation or equality for our fellowmen in countries where they fall into the minority where as a majority we are so divided?
Besides religion, politics and socioeconomic status – dividing factors in any and probably every other country, it is sad to see that superficial things like skin tone and hair type is also causing great division.
Why does colourism still exist in Dominica?