By Shilpa Darivemula
Racism, however, goes far beyond that. Today, it exists within the very minorities that suffer from external racism. Communities such as the African-Americans, Carribean-Americans and Indian-Americans suffer from an ideal that light skin is the best, and darker skin is less beautiful.
This harsh and unrepentant intra-racism based on the tone of the skin color is by far the worst form of racial discrimination since it is the most widespread and the least addressed. In fact, it almost seems accepted in many communities as a part of the cultural mindset. In my language, Telugu, the word for “pretty” is only reserved for the girls in the community with long dark hair and light features. For dark-skinned girls like me, the word used was “kala,” which means “possessing light” in my face; the word for “pretty” was never used.
Telugu is not the only language where there are different terms used for describing the different skin tones; such words exist in South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the Caribbean. Although seemingly trivial, the existence of language supporting racism shows how far this intra-racism has gone. Instances of such discrimination inspired us at 807 Union Street to bring attention to this hidden racism extant even on this campus.
We would like to thank the students who allowed us to interview them on this delicate topic and would also like to thank our writers for handling such a topic with such care. Hopefully, with this, we can bring more awareness to the intra-racism, the “colorism”, that exists and affects many people daily.
Shilpa Darivemula807 Union St.