African Americans Still Victims of Colorism

Color has always been the dividing line to make African Americans feel less worthy of a legitimate social identity than Euro-Americans and less favored over those with lighter skin within their own race. Consequently, this color line between light and dark complexioned African Americans has caused division, schism, and contention among themselves that still exists today. Many African Africans have accepted the ideology of the white racial frame that lighter skin tones and straight hair makes one more acceptable to dominant group members. Mainstream advertising sustains subtle self-differentiation based on color preferences for African Americans. A case in point, L’Oreal was recently denounced for making Beyonce’s skin lighter than what it really is in their new series of L’Oreal product ads, according to this article. Although the company refuted the accusation, the fact that it raised a racial issue is evidence of the on-going contention that the color of one’s skin constructs different realities for African Americans and other social groups. There is a general consensus that the color line division among African Americans has caused self-hatred between those with lighter skin and those with a darker hue.

Beyond this, the CNN documentary, Black in America, alludes to this fact too. In the second airing of Black in America: The Black Man, some of the participants indicated that the color line division between lighter and darker skinned blacks has been evident in their lives. Other Black participants believe this negative social identity stems from slavery and has made its way into the new century. You will have to watch the entire video to fully appreciate this documentary.

Historically, African Americans with lighter skin have contributed to colorism because they have benefited from the privilege of having a skin color closer to that of Whites and have embraced the notion that privilege comes with having light skin in America. For example, during slavery, the house slave received more privileges than the field slave. In modern times, lighter complexioned or biracial African Americans appear to gain more access to the social, political, and economic institutions of America than darker skinned blacks, generally speaking. Even though W.E.B. DuBois was an advocate for the Black cause, his skin tone was of a lighter hue, and he was a graduate of one of the most elitist and prestigious universities in America, Harvard University. However, he experienced problems when he took on the Black cause.

Look, for instance, at President Barack Obama. Although he embraces the African heritage and his wife is African American, he nonetheless is biracial. He, too, is a Harvard graduate. I believe if he addressed the racial issue in America, he would be crucified. He would be told to focus on job creation rather than racial issues because white America, as a whole, is not interested in black problems. Anthony Williams, a participant in the CNN documentary said, “You have to almost change yourself, dilute yourself, to live in a white society.” Another African American male, Vince Priester describes reaction to the CNN documentary on race here. ( Report.com: Vince Priester describes being black in America) I, by no means, discount the positive experiences of darker hued African Americans because some are doing quite well for themselves but at what price. Despite this notion, America remains a racialized society where skin color and race still matters.

As Angela P. Harris states,

. . . Colorism operates sometimes to confound and sometimes to restructure racial hierarchy. Meanwhile, the circulating meanings attached to color shape the meaning of race. . . . Colorism as a series of symbolic economies is embedded in material economies of production, exchange, and consumption. (Shades of Difference: Why Skin Color Matters, Stanford University Press, p. 2)

Comments

  1. Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

    First off, since the first BLACK IN AMERICA, I haven’t watched another one. I give Soledad points for trying, but was very much let down. I can’t bring myself to watch any of the others. If there’s something special here, though, I’m open to giving it another go. (By the by, a few years ago, there was a documentary about Jim Crow education. I remember very distinctly a story about a black community building a nice school building with its own money only to have the local govt confiscate it for white kids. Does that sound familiar to anyone? I’m feeling delusional.)

    But I digress . . . colorism. I’m not sure I understand. Are you talking about the fact that lighter-skinned blacks have it easier in society? Or, are you saying that there’s colorism within the black community?

      • phelonn

        I am saying that there is black on black discrimination in the black community with reference to skin tone. This internal discrimination is a microcosm of the external experiences blacks have in the larger society with whites. Even without documented research, black people have always practiced colorism from generation to generation, as a result of slavery. Black people, too, look at each other based on skin tone. Even though we have begun researching this problem, we have always known about this practice. I think we just did not know how to label it or did not see the harm in this practice because it was encouraged. Said another way, black people tend to show more favor to lighter complexioned blacks than they do darker complexioned blacks. For example, darker complexioned black men are notorious for marrying black women with lighter skin tones with straight hair. For him, it appears a step up. Or if her hair isn’t straight, the light skin would qualify her as a desirable mate. In a nutshell, colorism has influenced blacks’ choice in mates for the sake of their children inheriting a lighter skin tone.

        • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

          Just really quick, phelonn – you’re Mary?

          Yeah, it would’ve been really great had this been researched over time. I really think the situation has improved since the “Black is Beautiful” movement.

          Since you’re currently researching this, could you look into the experience of lighter-skinned blacks? It’s not all wine and rose petals. There’s the jealousy side of it, being targeted out of other peoples’ jealousy and issues, yeah. But I think it’s not that simple. Not that I’ve ever heard anyone find light-skin unattractive, except on guys maybe. But my experience is that you don’t wanna be too light anymore than you’d wanna be “too” dark. Even though calling someone “blackie” has fallen out of favor, it’s not frowned upon to call someone “yellow.”

          It’s hard to explain what it’s like. And I really don’t wanna downplay the experience of my darker-complected fellows. I can testify that my brother and father, darker-skinned and men, experience racism me and my mother don’t. And maybe there were a few girls who thought my brother was too dark even though he’s snicker-bar brown. Though, there were a good many !@#$% of all complexions chasing him down, too. The stories I can tell!

          I’ll also add that my brother’s preference would’ve been to marry someone who’s paper-bag brown or darker. He’s a minister and he’s worked a lot with kids. He didn’t wanna add to any of the girls thinking they’re not beautiful if they’re too dark. It just so happened that he fell in love with a red-boned girl, but he never showed any particular preference for light-skinned girls.

          Anyway, I’d just like to know more about the experience of light-skinned blacks. Not that some guys don’t find my complexion an asset. And I know it works in my favor when it comes to dealing with white people, especially strangers. But, color in the black community can’t be boiled down to just “lighter is better.” Not 100%, at least. It can’t be just my neighborhood, cause on the show MARTIN, Martin kidded Gina about being red-boned a lot. Even if it’s just playful teasing; and even though I can tan much healthily than my brother could try to lighten his skin-tone; the teasing can leave a mark.

          Again, I can’t stress how much I don’t wanna to downplay the experience of dark-skinned blacks. Especially if they’re “blue”-black. I’d just like to know how it’s come to the point that people can be teased for being too light. What’s that? Is it the same phenomenon as kids being teased for talking “white?” Is there a questioning of one’s fidelity to the community – the suspicion that someone think’s they’re better because they’re light-skinned? What’s going on?

        • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

          Just so we’re absolutely clear – I’m not denying the experience of dark-skinned blacks, or saying the experience of light-skinned blacks should take priority or anything like that. In the way that people argue that class is a bigger issue than race, I’m NOT trying to argue that being light-skinned is harder than being dark-skinned. That’s just stupid. I’m only saying it’s not so simple as “lighter is better.”

  2. Seattle in Texas

    “I believe if he addressed the racial issue in America, he would be crucified.” I agree, and that’s probably just at best metaphorically speaking. Not to mention, how many death threats has he had??? In this glorious post-racial society we live in? Delusions delusions….

    • phelonn

      I don’t think we will ever be free of racism until whites confront it honestly. Since racism was conceived by whites, only they can solve it. It does not matter how many diversity classes we teach or how much we write about it. If white society wants to do something about racism, they could bring an end to this practice. Unfortunately, I don’t see this ever happening because they benefit too much from it. Individuals who believe Obama’s election ushered us into a post-racial society are living a delusional lie.

      • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

        don’t think we will ever be free of racism until whites confront it honestly.

        I could not agree more! Take the recent hubbub over Jalen Rose’s accusation that Duke recruits Uncle Toms. First, I gotta say that the first time I hard that idea was from a college professor who attended Duke for undergrad. And it had to do with the seemingly submissive nature of players like, ie, Grant Hill. Elton Brand, the first Duke player to leave early, had a streak of defiance.

        But to issue of white racism – the documentary spent as much time detailing the hate-mail the Fab Five received it spent on the Uncle Tom comment. This was in the early 90s, and they were getting letters and emails complaining about the five “niggers” Fisher was starting. The early 90s. Not that long ago. So how did the big story become a single comment rather than all the hate mail?

        Yeah, the US will pretty much be struggling with racism until white people, especially those who call themselves “Christians,” can do some honest self- and collective- examination.

        • Seattle in Texas

          Whites as a society won’t ever honestly confront it. I think some individuals try and have done so throughout the history of this nation.

          Do we dare bring in religion??? 😀 If those who are white and consider themselves to be Christian, or any religion for that matter, and wish to confront racism honestly, they would be heeding the words of wisdom from Dr. Wright in current times and embracing the Black Liberation Theology tradition. Religious or not, anybody whose white and wishes to confront racism honestly would be listening to Dr. Wright and tending to the Black Theology tradition.

          Just for giggles on the white capitalist American Jesus (I know it’s the case that not all believe this…my white Christian friends from Yugoslavia tell me Jesus was a communist and some Black friends in Texas tell me Jesus was a socialist–while not being a Christian, but having to live in a society where a white supremacist christian theology is commingled in politics…it does matter…and I would take the latter assertions of Jesus rather than the former): http://tfninsider.org/

          • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

            “White capitalist American Jesus!” The image cracks me every time I think of it! LOL!!

            I only mention religion to the extent that such a large portion of white Americans consider themselves Christian. You’d think their faith would bring them to fight racism, but it hasn’t. If every white Christian were an anti-racist, that’d make a monstrous difference in race relations.

      • Seattle in Texas

        Again, I agree. But where I might diverge just a bit is with idea that they are the only ones who can solve it… (and please feel free to help me here). But here is how I see it, at least of now:

        On one hand I do agree since white society and racism was conceived by whites, and they are in the privileged social positions, it is only they/we/it who can correct it. In an absolute genuine sense, yes, I do agree. But before that can happen I think white society has to go through some sort of internal transformation, not cosmetic, and I think it would take a least a couple of generations to see any type of genuine change in that direction. It’s white society that has to decide to do the work and relinquish their privileged status/position in favor of bringing forth the equality of all (and being true to what its always preached, “Liberty and Justice for All”). This would require radical changes in virtually all social structures in this society, since racism permeates virtually all aspects of U.S. society. But, I don’t think it will ever happen either…at least voluntarily….

        I think whites and white society can find solutions with groups of color. In fact, I’m not sure white society could find a genuine solution on its own as it necessarily operates through a white frame…and deviation from the dominant white frame is not kind to anybody, regardless of color. Any solutions sought would inevitably be through that dominant default frame–they/it would need to incorporate a counter-frame for all to operate out of. White counter-frames…where they might come from. I think they would come largely through experiences, counter-socialization, and first hand education from the oppressed groups, etc. I don’t think white society can find a solution on their own without some collaboration and/or experiences with oppressed groups. I think whites lack counter-frames and this society is already equipped with some incredible counter-frames that would be beneficial to whites and white society. And because these counter-frames are the result of the first hand oppression experienced by groups of color, the counter-frames already developed in this society might be those most valuable in ridding this society of racism. (here I’m saying that I would have more faith in whites/white society relying on the pre-existing counter-frames generated by groups of color than solutions whites might propose…in fact, I’m always suspect of white solutions…).

        Because the white frame is the default frame for whites, I think that any strides it makes towards liberating U.S. society from racism will result in nothing more than a change of form in how racism operates. And even then it seems to take a few generations for the “new” type of racism just to be articulated and recognized as such by whites/white society…just to reach the tips of the icebergs. Solutions are eventually sought within the racist society (and only if it will be beneficial to white society or there is much pressure from the bottom up), but they are still within the boundaries of the systemic racist framework of which this nation was founded upon, leaving for nothing more than the appearance of the new solution to be nothing more than a transformation of the old.

        At least that’s how I see it as of now…

  3. parvenu

    phelonn I totally agree with your both of your observations. I have written a 23 page draft of a paper titled, “American Racism Dissected”. Although my college days were long ago, and I am a retired engineer, I was motivated to “reverse engineer” the essence and promulgation of American racism. The reason for my fascination with this subject can easily be found the life long experiences I have endured as an African American. From the perspective of Cultural Anthropology it is bewildering how the mass phenomenon of American racism is able to maintain its continuity and deadly virulence over the past 345 years of European settlement on American soil. Virtually every other traditional American custom has been subjected to the overwhelming force of social evolutionary change, save one namely American racism.

    Every manifestation of racialism that is discussed on this web site is traceable back to the root cause African slavery in America. One may draw an analogy of the structure of American racism in the following manner. African slavery in America can be compared to to a similar powerful underground constantly growing tap root of Poison Ivy. The main root periodically extends itself through the means of ever expanding system of roots that for comparison I have labeled as LEGACY ATTRIBUTES. Different arrays of Legacy Attributes have become integrally woven into the American Social structure becoming in effect an integral part of white tradition and custom.

    Keeping in mind the general introduction above, it becomes rather easy to understand the attitudes, traditions and stereotypes associated with the Legacy Attribute that is manifest in COLOR preference. The insecurities of most southern plantation owners can account for their constant behavior that cheerfully extended gentle treatment, access to good food and medical attention along with many other benefits to the plantation “House Negroes” while withhold all but the barest essentials from the other black staff, namely those folks called “field Negroes”. Whispered tales carried back to American shores from various ports in the Caribbean told of slave revolts on different islands like Jamaica where many plantation owners and their entire families were brutally murdered by rampaging slaves. This constant level of anxiety caused the plantation owners to constantly derive new schemes to keep the slave population divided. The well documented practice of breaking up families by maintaining a high slave turn over was one technique to keep the slaves divided. The other was the above mentioned difference in treatment between the “house Negroes” and the “field Negroes”. Whereas, the slave master exercised his sexual rights over his female slave property, his offspring always resided in the plantation main house living with the other members of the house Negro staff. Obviously the slave owner’s offspring would be of lighter skin color than the other slaves, the lighter skin came to be associated with access to the better life of the “house negro”, and over a period of time it became a status symbol in American society beyond the plantation and long after the guns of the Civil War fell silent. Even in the African American communities in various large cities across America and long removed from southern slavery this popular saying unfortunately became a social axiom among African Americans, “If you’re white, you’re right, if you’re brown, stick around, and if you’re black, get back!”.
    Unfortunately, this concept created all sorts of cosmetic styles and fads in the black community ranging from skin whiteners to hair straighteners. This was a tradition that continued up until the late 60’s when the Black Power movement shattered the light skin myth throughout most black communities. However, I agree with Mary that the light skin color preference still persists among many white people
    in America today.

    To return briefly to my opening remarks, dissecting American racism by understanding just how residue Legacy Attributes from African slavery has been able to develop an impenetrable influence (which drives the judgment, perspective, and evaluation of worth) over a broad spectrum of white Americans has proven to be an invaluable tool.

    • Seattle in Texas

      parvenu, just wanted to quickly swing by and say that I appreciated the response to the main post–Legacy Attributes is not a term/concept I was previously familiar with prior to reading the above-but it is an important and valuable term/concept in understanding racism in both U.S. society and others that have been colonized and conquered by whites/white Europeans. Thank you

    • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

      parvenu, I get your basic thesis and agree. Your history is a bit . . . imprecise? Biracial offspring were most commonly sold off the plantation than were kept. Where they were kept, chances they’d be placed in the fields are the same, if not higher, than that they’d be put in the house. Biracial slaves that worked in the house were more likely to have been bought for those purposes than to have been, er, bred on-site.

      I can’t quite say when Euro-centric standards of beauty set in. (I personally think so of it has to do, in part if not sum, with the exotic nature of white skin to someone who’s grown up surrounded by brown-skinned people.) But with all the complexities involved in American slavery . . . let me put it like this. The life of the house slave may have been better; it wasn’t necessarily preferred. Not in the long term. House slaves always wore the Mask. Field slaves at least got some break. And since they were always around master and mistress, they were subject to whippings and terror just as much, and in the mistress’s case, maybe more.

      Since slavery, whites have treated light-skinned blacks have been treated like we’re better, smarter, more virtuous, etc. That’s more likely the cause of colorism in the black community than the better life of the house slave. Who, again, wasn’t always the master’s grand/child, or, for that matter, light-skinned. And let me just quickly point out that the difference in complexion has to have a little to do with the amount of sun exposure.

      If you’re seriously doing this paper, be sure you get your history accurate in order to come to more accurate conclusions. Not to say you haven’t done your reading. You’ve obviously done some reading as the slave revolts in the Caribbean impacted the general treatment of US slaves. I mean, I’m not a PhD or anything. And maybe you didn’t represent all the nuances of your ideas. But, the situation was not such that it could be accurately generalized the house slaves lived better lives or that children the master had by a slave worked and lived in the master’s house. And at any rate, for what you’re doing, you really wanna stay away from generalities so that you come to the best possible conclusions.

      • Dragon Horse

        My 2 cents, I believe that black Americans must also consider that slaves were brought from anywhere between Senegal all the way to Angola, and a handful even from East Africa (Mozambique, although most of them went to Brazil).

        That being said, all slaves were not the same color when they came here, nor did they have the same hair texture.

        Colorism or favoritism based on who looked more Euro might have started right at the slave ship.

        Look at the pictures of various Africans on this site:

        http://www.forumbiodiversity.com/showthread.php?t=2621

        There is more genetic diversity in Nigeria than all of Europe, and maybe all of Western Eurasia, people definitely don’t look a like.

        Also keep in mind that blacks have color biases in Africa, and they may have been pre-colonization. After all, most OF Africa was only colonized for less than 100 years. The reason is, Europeans could not move out of coastal areas due to tropical disease. It is no coincidence that South Africa was colonized first, the climate was “Mediterranean” therefore no conducive to tropical disease. The “rush for Africa” did not happen until the 19th century, long after Europeans had been in Southeast Asia and India, primarily because they did not have the medical technology or genetic resistance to survive in Africa.

        I honestly don’t believe the various African cultures are so pathetically weak that 80-100 years of colonization can change thousands of years of culture.

        This guy chronicled some African attitudes about skin color and mate selection.

        Keep in mind, most Africans rarely ever came into contact with Europeans, even during colonization, they didn’t have TV, at most some had radios. it is not like the average person on the street in a village was inundated with European cultural norms. LOL The elite, yes, the average person, no.

        Read more here:

        http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2006/12/skin-color-preference-in-sub-saharan.html

        I am not sure these are “European standards”, my take is that they are standards that preexisted, at least with males toward females, but were greatly exaggerated by the fact blacks in America were in a population where they were darker than the dominant group.

        Let me explain my theory:

        This is not that complicated. There is clear sexual dimorphism in human skin color, in every ethnicity. Men tend to be slightly darker than women.

        It has been proven here:

        http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2007/03/debate-on-skin-color-sexual-dimorphism.html

        That is fine when you live in a small society where everyone is pretty much the same ethnically, little variation in phenotype, etc.

        When you come into contact with people much lighter or much darker than you (from another continent) then things get interesting.

        Also keep in mind some things about human history.

        In Eurasia (not as much in most of SubSahara Africa where women did a lot of the farm work, and still do) women did not work outside for long during the day. Rich women definately did not work outside. So this may the skin color difference between women and men more extreme. I can imagine that to peasant people, being wealthy, being favored by God to rule (divine right of kings), etc all became associated with light skin, not the tan peasant. This is also true in East Asia, if you look at pictures before European contact of women in Tang Dynasty China or early Geisha, the women are noteably covered in white make up, the men are yellowish-brown. The only European beauty standard I see in Asia is “large eyes” the “white skin” is definately pre-European.

        One more thing to take into account, for most of history, if you read it close enough, you notice patterns. Civilization (defined traditionally as having art, agricultural, and WRITING) started in the Middle East and spread almost laterally into Europe, then India, and China. All of these places were constantly invaded by northerns. Even the Greeks and Romans were invaded from the North, rarely ever (if never) from the South. China was constantly invade by Northern steppe nomads (Turks and Mongols), never from the South. Egypt was invaded from Nubia, but they held the nation less than 200 years, the people who had the longest affect on Egypt in recorded history were all from the Middle East (Northeast of them or lateral to them) and Europe. India has a similar history. Iranians are Indo-European speaking people who invaded present day Iran from the Eurasian steppe (likely from North of the Black Sea, or present day Ukraine). Some of them went on over thousands of years into Northern India, but India was also invaded by several Central Asian nomadic groups after that (lastly the Turko-Mongols or Mughal). Southeast Asia was invaded by Chinese, and the Chinese (lighter than the typical South East Asia) still control the economies even today in most of these nations. The same pattern is true in Africa with Berber/Arab invasions, then Europeans.

        Historically the northern people who were almost always lighter than the southerns invaded because they lacked resources and good land. They were far more warlike, because they competed for many more precious resources.

        overtime, “dominance” became associated with “light skin” because in most of the world, light skin people were very violent and invaded, installed themselves in the upper-classes of various nations over dark people. As I said this is true in Europe. Look at all the kingdoms the Germanic tribes set up in Europe after they destroyed the darker and shorter Roman (and we know this is true because the Romans recorded the differences in appearance).

        So if you are going to investigate Colorism seriously, I think you should take a serious look at all these things.

        I bet you can get published if you write it well enough, with enough diverse sources.

        • phelonn

          Wow! Dragon Horse, even though your argument is quite good, informative, and extensive, I was limiting my response to the intimate relationships between African American men and women, their casual and serious dating, and how they appear to select marriage partners based on colorism. As you know, we can relate any subject to other parts of the world. With this said, I have no future plans of investigating colorism as a subject in general for publication purposes, but I occasionally make reference to it in some of my research projects. I must admit your wealth of information on the topic is so interesting that I will look into this subject from both African and European perspectives. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post and providing this extensive information. This is what I love about racismreview.com. We can learn so much from each other!

          • Dragon Horse

            I went on a bit of a tangent. My main points are:

            1) Africans were not all the same color coming here, and like most people around the world they had their own ideas about skin color and beauty. At least in some groups, skin color did matter to some extent.

            2) Women are naturally lighter than men in the same ethnic group in most places in the world due to differing hormonal levels. So women are the “fairer sex”. This does not cause problems in groups that are homogeneous, such as some rural tribal group in West Africa, but it does in mixed race/ethnic populations.

            3)Europeans had a pre-colonial idea about skin color that also came from their history in Europe, and feudalism or even before. “Blue blood” meant you were white enough to see the arteries in your arm (meaning you did not work outside, but collected rent from surfs…)

            4)How did these two ideas play on each other? My guess is Europeans felt even more superior to blacks, as they were all lighter than Africans brought here. This is due to their cultural reference, even before “hatred” was involved. Many African men already prefered “red and yellow” women (as the post above suggest), but then they met “white women” and “Native American women” who were FAR LIGHTER than the average woman of their old ethnic group. This had to have an affect. Then the fact that blacks lived “under” whites in slavery…all this amplified and distorted existing African ideas of beauty and preference. Instead of an Yoruba or Mandinka man seeing a woman of his ethnic group who is only slightly lighter than him as beautiful, he is now being told daily his women are ugly and savage and the master’s wife and daughters are superior (they also happen to be lighter).

            I think you can see where I’m going with this. Black history did not start with white folks and slavery. Too much scholarship focuses on slavery and forgets that Africans had their own opinions, biases, and beliefs. Europeans also had ideas and beliefs about skin color even in Europe before they met any black Africans in any large number.

          • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

            @ phelonn – Yeah, I didn’t know how far you were taking this research, ie publication or personal interest, but like DH says, there’re just a lot of things to take into consideration that, more or less, throws salt into your hypothesis.

            @ Dragon Horse – The only thing I absolutely have no doubts about that I can speak to is that upon first encountering sub-Saharan Africans, Europeans thought their black, shiny skin was beautiful. (Shiny because the Africans used palm oils [Palm Olive Oil started from an idea Europeans got from Africans.].)

            As for color preferences post colonialism, I’m not aware that colorism is as strong in Africa as in the US. And where it exists, it’s most likely among the elites and/or countries Europeans made up governmental offices as opposed to ruling from Europe. I agree that for 100years of colonialism to undo several centuries of African culture means either African cultures were weak or that something more than “colonialism” was occurring. To wit, European culture was influencing Africans well before official colonialism with trade posts, slave castles, and religious “missions.” They came with guns and preconceived ideas about who was noble and who was savage. Even if there were no color-preference in Africa before 1300, I can see where over time and under the circumstance, the idea that “lighter is better” would seep in. Still though, I repeat, whatever colorism exists in Africa is nothing like the colorism that exists here.

            And I interested in the theory that women are naturally lighter than men. I’ve noticed that in the black community, Eurocentric standards of beauty are mostly focused on women. But I always thought that was just because my mother and I are both lighter than my father and brother, you know? But upon hearing that idea for the first time and not yet reading your links, it sounds . . . right. I mean, it’s the first time I’ve heard that specific idea, but I already know of the exaggeration of sexual-dimorphism and some other things. But anyway, it’s just . . . interesting to learn that maybe my observations weren’t as biased as I had thought.

            I’d be interested to learn, though, what impact, if any, the “Black is Beautiful” 70s and pan-African 80s has had on colorism throughout the diaspora. What’s really curious in colorism in Brazil. They have the heaviest population of people of African descent of any place outside Africa, but the way they classify themselves is just curious to my black-American sensibilities. Any thoughts?

          • phelonn

            Dragon Horse, I can definitely see where you’re going with this, and I cannot argue with this frame. But you did say something that struck at the core of my initial argument. You said, “Many African men already prefered (sic)‘red and yellow’ women (as the post above suggest), but then they met ‘white women’ and ‘Native American women’ who were FAR LIGHTER than the average woman of their old (sic) ethnic group. This had to have an affect. Then the fact that blacks lived ‘under’ whites in slavery…all this amplified and distorted existing African ideas of beauty and preference. Yoruba or Mandinka man seeing a woman of his ethnic group who is only slightly lighter than him as beautiful, he is now being told daily his women are ugly and savage and the master’s wife and daughters are superior (they also happen to be lighter).” To further substantiate my argument, it does not matter if the woman is red, yellow, white, or a light-complexioned African American woman. Dark-complexioned African and African American men, it seems in general, still prefer a woman lighter than they. But why would these “Yoruba or Mandinka” men allow their minds to be poisoned against their own women? Why have African and African American men allow themselves to be constrained by this false ideology? The old saying is that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Why would many of them abandon their own women for other women of color (Native Americans, Asians, etc.) or white women? During slavery, black women did not have access to beauty creams, good clothes, or hair parlors. So when the slave owner’s wife or daughter came around, and given his affinity for lightness, black women could not beautify themselves with make-up and nice clothes and compete with white women. The representations of “whiteness” and “beauty” in the imagination of the black male sends the message that he has accepted the dominant racial frame that whiteness is associated with beauty. Therefore, other women of color, white women, and light complexioned black women have become his ultimate prize. Some older black non-academic male friends have shared this with me. I also recall many years ago when I was in the Marine Corps a southern white male told me that his dad told him that “a white man is not a man until he’s had a black woman.” I guess this was all part of the southern history his had learned and didn’t think this was a racist statement, but I suspect this mentality goes back to slavery when slave owners and their sons went to the slave shacks and “sewed their oats” among the female slaves. Perhaps this same mentality has extended to the mindset of many black men that “They aren’t men until they’ve had a white woman” or other women of color (Native Americans, Hispanics, Mexicans, Asians, etc.) with light skin. I would suggest you read bell hooks’ Black Looks: Race and Representation. [http://www.amazon.com/Black-Looks-Representation-bell-hooks/dp/0896084337/ ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1302200673&sr=1-1#reader_0896084337]

          • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

            Hey! After re-reading your comments, I wanted to say I think we’re actually more on the same page than I had thought. Whatever Africans skin-preferences may have been, it doesn’t seem as though they placed any significant value to it.

            But I am a bit confused. One link you shared suggests that Africans may have had light(er)-skin preferences prior to colonialization. But the other suggests that sexual preference doesn’t play a role in the sexual dimorphism of skin tone. I mean, don’t they contradict each other to some extent?

        • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

          Now that I’ve looked through the links, it appears to me that one reason for the dimorphism could be that women need to produce more vitamin D for reproduction. Another explanation could simply be that throughout history, women have spent more time indoors. Or some other explanation. The abstract sited in the link says that sexual preferences have no impact on skin-color dimorphism. So something else is at work.

          So how do we explain the quotes siting light-skin preference in your other link? It could be that light(er) skin was rare and therefore seen as “special.” But, it seems to me, the quotes don’t go back far enough to hypothesize that skin-color preference existed in large numbers prior to European influence. I agree that it would take something more than 100years of colonialism to create what didn’t already exist. My guess, though, is that we have to remember that European oppression existed before official colonialism; that colonialism extended beyond governmental control and material theft into the black psyche. The observation of skin-color preference has more to do with European crimes that whether or not Africa’s cultures are weak.

          That’s just my take, and you’ve probably read more about it than I have. But it seems to me that European influence was longer, more violent, much more violent, and oppressive than is being accounted for. Besides, that would be just one part of culture. European influence on skin-color preference seems reasonable considering the circumstances. I’d be more worried about the weakness of African cultures if, for example, rice weren’t still such a dietary staple. The cooking’s the same, dress seems consistent . . . I think we’re okay where it concerns the strength of Africa’s indigenous cultures.

          On a lighter topic, no pun intended, Dragon Horse, what’s the story behind your handle? I live in a rural area in the Southeast US, and so when I saw “Dragon,” I thought “fly” was sure to follow. “Horse” is stronger, a pleasant surprise. That notwithstanding, “horsefly” also comes to mind. I assume either your handle has nothing to do with insects, or that the story is hilarious! Which is it?! =)

          • Dragon Horse

            First off, my name comes from LongMa (Mandarin) or Ryoma(Japanese). Ryoma was a famous Japanese samurai who is very famous in Japan, but strangely, for fighting against the central government. He wanted to maintain the feudal Samurai culture of the Shogunate. He basically wanted to stop what he saw as “foreign influence” that lead to modernization of Japan, he felt it went too far too fast. He died surrounded, I believe having killed himself, an honorable death in Japan. Today the Japanese government actually shows respect to him as an honorable man, even if flawed.

            As far as your comments. My thoughts are generally that people give way too much power to Europeans, and attempt to demonize them too much. On one hand they are the “great evil” the “Great Satin” and on the other they are like “Gods” who can magically control everyone’s smallest move through some type of mind control.

            Unfortunately, since most Africans outside of the Horn were illiterate until well into the European Middle Ages, we have no clue what it was like there. I do know of some Euro stories of some VERY brutal tribal chiefs in the Congo region who put their subjects (to brutal death) for the slightest infraction or so it seemed to Euros, but I have no idea if this was the act of a mad-king or normal. What we do know of recorded history on Eurasia, from earliest Greek times to Chinese is that Europeans who came to Africa really didn’t do much that was “strange or unusual” in a historic sense, in fact if they were VERY brutal as we often make them out to be they would have did what Greeks or Mongols did to those who they defeated in battle (also the Israelites and Muhammad in the Bible and Qur’an) which is kill all the males (often including the babies), rape all the women you can find, the ones you don’t want would be sold into slavery. Loot all the wealth, burn the village – city -fields to the grown. Maybe, you will divide the land up among your own farmers and herders, or maybe you will burn it all as an example. This type of warfare can be seen from the earliest days of recorded history all the way until the 1940’s with Nazi Germany on the Eastern Front.

            As far as how slaves were treated…hell look at how Serfs were treated during the Middle Ages. Trust me, a Russian serf in the 1600 would have gladly been a black slave in Virgina, because the chances he would live were much higher.

            While genocide was committed in Africa in some locations that was not the rule. Truth is slaves were too valuable, even in the new world, while the French and Portuguese were quite brutal in their work conditions, the Americans largely were not (not that being a slave was fun, it was definitely not), but I read once that the Irish in Louisiana were sent to do some dangerous work that no one would let their slaves to, simple because Irish were not worth as much. LOL Then again, compared to how Romans treated slaves, well. If a slave escaped, all the slaves in the house were automatically whipped, if a slave killed his master, all the slaves were crucified, BY LAW. Imagine what Nat Turners rebellion would have met in Roman times. Every slave, man, woman, child would have been executed if their master was killed.

            Seriously, a slave was too valuable for an Anglo-Saxon slave owner. Trust me, the Russians or the Chinese would have loved to be treated like Africans compared to what the Turko-Mongols did to them. Hell, if you want to see the height of brutality in Europe, forget colonialism, read the history of the 30 year war, 1/3 of Germany’s population died!! That was Euro on Euro brutality.

            If Africans were not as violent, it is largely because they did not have to be. Due to location they were rarely invaded until well into modern history (for for the Horn and Sudan), so they didn’t need to form the very complex, LARGE, hierarchical societies that Eurasia built, because they were not forced to do so, by threat. When they did start doing this in West Africa it was largely a response to Berber and Arab contact/conversion/invasion. This is not strange at all, same thing happened with Germans and Slavs in their contact with Romans/Byzantines. Same thing happened in Japan, with their initial contact with the Chinese on the Korean Peninsula, and the Vietnamese contact with the Chinese in present day Guangdong province. It is not a shock that the areas in Africa that were closest to Eurasia (Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, the Swahili Coast) were the most developed and centralized.

            I said all of this to get you in a frame of mind.

          • Dragon Horse

            Most Africans were not “persuaded” to accepting “European beauty” because no such thing existed. Europeans today don’t agree on beauty. Let’s define terms. Europeans also don’t see themselves as the same race. If they did you would not see articles like this in the BBC.

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7433720.stm

            Notice the title…didn’t you know Polish people weren’t the same race as Brits? LOL I didn’t until I spent a lot of time in Europe. Euroepans did not come together into the “white race” as we know it until they came to North America, before that, and even within Europe it is not strange for a German to tell you to your face “a Russian is not my race”. They defintely don’t agree on beauty.

            What you are really talking about is the beauty standard of the oppressor, which in our case was Anglo-Saxon (not even Irish redhead and freckles, not even Spaniards or Portugese too swarthy…)

            Lets go back to Africa though, as I said, most Africans NEVER came into contact with Europeans before or even during colonization for any period of time, but for some tribal leaders and chiefs. Europeans were not walking off the coast of Africa until the 19th century, because they could not due to disease, they sent African and Arabs to negotiate for and hunt slaves. During colonization do you think the average black saw a white man on a daily basis or even monthly? I don’t think so but for certain key strategic cities, during times of war/rebellion, etc. We have to remove ourselfs, think about military colonization, forget that we are minorities in a predominate EUro descendant country, and think about what we are talking about in the African context. I would bet the average black never even heard a white man speak more than a few words during colonization. Africa, even today, is very rural. I’ve been to Subsahara Africa once, Ethiopia, and I was amazing by how there is so much “nothing”, just open space. One has to ask what did EUropeans really “control” and what was “under threat of violence”. This is similar to Alexander the Great. He would invade an area, put a guy in charge, tell the people “this is our land, if you don’t obey, you don’t pay taxes, we will come back and kill you…” and then the Greeks moved on. He might take some young men for military reinforcements. In certain key strategic areas they made forts. Much was the same during the Crusades, the average white Europeans did not interact with a local Middle Eastern Muslim or Christian. They stayed in the fort-towns, behind walls. I can give other examples of even inter-Euro colonization (Prussians with the Baltic/Polish areas, Romans with the Celtic and Germanic areas, etc the dynamic is not much different).

            As I said, the black elite of these nations may have been influenced, but I don’t think the rank and file were very much. If skin color differences in black poplations had no selection pressure they did not have to because they were largely “fixed”. It is like living in a country where 90% of people are blond, hair might have no baring on selection pressure at that point, for what? It is already a given the average woman is lighter than a man, you don’t need to select, but due to diveristy in the gene poll, individual mutations, etc you will have some women always who are as dark or darker. That may or may not be a bad thing. As one of the article says, some men thought “dark women” were better at farming, and since in much of subSahara Africa women do the farm work on small plots, there might be at trade off between what men consider “most beautiful” and “a better wife/mother”. The same is true in every nation. Not all men marry an ideal, most men do not for a myriad of reasons.

            As far as Eurocentric standards focused on women, well aren’t all beauty standards really focused on women anywhere? I’m not saying men are not judged by their looks. They are, but not a lesser extent. Obviously, you see a lot of rich men like Donald Trump dating models, whereas if he was a middle manager at some Fortune 500 he would not be. Male status is very important. On the other hand, men don’t care much about women’s status in general (although their families, especially their mothers might). Men primarily judge women on their looks. Women judge men on looks AND PERCEIVED STATUS. If anything, a high status woman might be a turn off to many men. So as always men marry the same or down. Women marry the same or up.
            As far as black men “rejecting black women” in America in 2011, I do not believe all of it has to do with “European Beauty standards” or even beauty. Listen to what many black men say, even if you dont want to hear it. The first thing you hear is black women (on average) are moody to nasty in attitude, they want to dominate, they are uncooperative, it is always drama. Many other black men of a bit higher social class might say that black women chase after thugs, too many have kids and they don’t want to be botehred with a “baby’s daddy”, many are obvious gold diggers, many are too focused on their careers, etc.

            What’s really going on? I’m not saying the men are all right, but I do know one thing, blacks are least likely to get married and most likely to get divorced. black women married to WHITE MEN are less likely to get divorced than a black woman married to a black man.

            You may say that Indians (looking at Bollywood) have a “European beauty standard), but they don’t have these other issues, that is not enough to cause these problems. Black men “rejecting black women” is deeper than a hair weave or a hot comb. It goes to the very root of African American culture.

          • Dragon Horse

            one more thing…Weakness is provocative (Don Rumsfeld actually said something right)…if you are weak people will attack and take advantage of you. This is nothing new. Africans were the most exploited because other than some Pacific Islanders they were closer to EUrope, more populus, and simply weaker than anyone else. It was just “too easy” and it was more devastating and harder to recover because they were already at a lower base of technolocal and political development.

            As far as the “weakness” of black culture, black culture was weak in one way to me, and everything goes from that. First, let me say, there is no “black culture” in Africa, there are “cultures” that are more diverse than in Europe. A Turk and a Frenchman have more in common culturally than a Ethiopian Amhara and a Congolese. YOu really can’t compare. The weakness of “black cultures” in Africa were simple, they were not condusive to being strong cohesive heirahctical political instutitions that could focus and direct state sponsored violence. It is that simple. When they came up against people who did, Arab/Berbers and especially Europeans, who had been fighting ferse competitive wars for over 10,000 years the Africans got their butts kicked. It is that simple. Notice that Europeans (Portuese) tried to colonized Japan, the Japanese had inferior cannon and fortifications. But when the portuese tried to covert them, enslave them, etc The Shogun mobilized his “inferior force” and ran the Portugese out of Japan, never to return, and curcified most of the Christians. They also built guns, A LOT OF THEM, because they were technologically develoiped enough to be able to copy Portugese firearms, they were not dependent on buying them from EUropeans. This is a “strong culture”, I think if the culture can not reproduce and protect itself it is weak. That’s my standard. Chinese were also never fully colonized although they lost control of several port cities.

            You would think Africans would learn from this. Look how France ran up into Guinea last month. Do you think they can do that in Vietnam? Do you think any Euro country would run up into China, Indonesia, even Myanmar? All areas where colonizers held sway? NOPE. We can’t even run up into North Korea, because they will drop a nuke. But why is that? Maybe if we look at history, these nations were for the most part “nations” or very centralized kingdoms before Europeans came, that controlled large areas of land for centuries, they had their own writing, etc.

            Hell, even look how Africans talk today politically, they use all the terms Euros use. The Chinese took in Marxism and Leninism but it was combined with pre-existing ideas of Confucianism and Chinese Legalism that go back over 2,000 years. Today Chinese carry “Mao’s Red Book” not a book by a white man as the most high political ideology. LOL What does Africa have? The “Green Book” by Quadaffi? LOL Seriously if black folks ever want to be strong and equal they need to look at why their ancestors were not. The answer is not that “The European was a super evil devil who had magic powers of mind control’, the answer is more that Africans were weak and Europeans took advantage of them because THEY COULD and Africans largely allowed it, and when they did put up a fight it was not much of one.

            All of what we talk about now comes from that history. If not we would not even be discussing any of this. We would not even be in this country.

          • Dragon Horse

            Oh yeah didn’t even get into the fact black women are most likely to be overweight and the average one is overweight, with over 1/3 being obease. Although black men like “thick” uhm…

            I think if you want to speak about “black male rejection” of black women, what you term as “Euro Beauty Standards” is possibly one factor, but I don’t think it is the leading factor. A lot of folks in the world (as I mentioned India and Latin America) have similar colorism issues, but they don’t have the relationship-disaster record that black Americans do. It’s way way more complex.

  4. whatlogic

    Not to confused the topic too much. But even throughout historical era’s within European aristocracy, it was always considered more ‘noble’ the fairer the skin. Even within a nearly all white society. Just having tan skin meant you were of lower class who worked labor. I keep finding this a repeated mentality through classic books and artwork. I can only assume it was tied into a comparison of working class versus the nobility of the ruling class that simply spent more time indoors delegating versus working in the class society.

    Keep in mind this is before Africans represented European society. It was a very messed up and mostly unscientific era (despite some of the great breakthroughs in science) compared to today, but lets face it, when Jesus and God are typically depicted as lily-white by during these historical eras of European rule from 1400’s to 1800’s — I tend to think this old influence and mentality still finds its way into today’s social status.

    Hitler played off these ideas to a terrible degree—and it was still “whites” being prosecuted, but ethnically different, primarily Jews.

    I would still confirm that modern racism is hate, and can be a mutual hate in any part of society as long as there is a power struggle among class, and where there is no prevailing intelligence to lead and fight the ignorance.

    Thanks for letting me ramble! Peace -Tom

  5. Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

    @ phelonn and Dragon Horse – This discussion has really peaked my interest. I had thought that all that was at work in colorism was internalized racism, but you guys bring up good points as concerns pre-existing preferences for lighter skinned women and slave women’s lack of beauty aids.

    @ phelonn – You’re most likely right about your suppositions re, “A white man’s not a man until he’s had a black woman.” By “had,” we definitely mean just for sex; and, using black women just for sex is another way white men can emasculate black men.

    What I find particularly annoying is that the same black men who’ll flaunt their white girlfriends get all pissy when they see a black woman with a white man. On one level, I understand the competition between black and white men for who’s really a man, who can sex his woman and yours too. I get that, even if black men don’t. But if what black men want is race solidarity, then they need to quit throwing black women, of all shades, under the bus.

    All the way around, we’ve gotta stop playing by Eurocentric rules, including the patriarchy that men so love. I’m not saying we should do the exact opposite of whatever white people do, including being matriarchal, just for the hell of it. I’m saying that to the extent possible, the best resistance would be not to engage. The opposite of hate isn’t love, its indifference. To the extent possible, we should just ignore whites’ cultural standards and do what’s best for us. That includes rejected colorism.

    • phelonn

      Hi, Blaque Swan: You use the words “stop playing by Eurocentric rules,” and I agree that it DOES NOT mean doing the opposite of what whites do. In the imagination of some blacks, they believe the only way to be accepted by white society is to embrace the Eurocentric value system, which is a false notion. I do not believe African Americans, as a whole, will be accepted by white society, even if they adopt the Eurocentric value system and practice it better than whites themselves. The problem arises when African Americans denude themselves of who they are. During slavery, African slaves were deracinated of their home-culture (a concept I borrow from Joe Feagin’s The White Racial Frame [[http://www.amazon.com/White-Racial-Frame-CenturiesCounterFraming/dp/041599439X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302281231&sr=1-1#reader_041599439X]] in chapter 7 and were not permitted to practice it. Because of slavery, they had no control over what they could or could not do, if it were not legitimated by their slave owners. Therefore, the Eurocentric value system has played a major role in the direct attack on the sense of worthlessness, self-affirmation, self-loathing, and African Americans’ “undeniable black phenotype degraded by racist ideals of beauty,” according to Cornel West, [[http://www.amazon.com/RaceMattersCornelWest/dp/0807009725/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1302282239&sr=8-1#reader_0807009725]] in black America that has contributed handsomely to colorism (black on black discrimination).

      • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

        The good news is that deracinated though we were, we didn’t lose everything. When it comes to food, music, religious worship, and language, we managed to save some components of our home culture. That always makes me feel better!

        You’re right. It doesn’t matter how well we practice Eurocentric-values, we won’t be accepted. In fact, in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, black crime (actual crime like robbery, not made up crime like being 10miles from home) was nearly negligible (Douglas Blackmon, SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME). And that got us where? And you see how white America has just lost its collective mind seeing a black person in the White House who wasn’t there to clean. So yeah, I’m definitely a proponent of doing our own thing.

        I mean, really. When a white man can call black women “nappy-headed hos,” and the national conversation becomes the influence of rap – you know things ain’t right.

        • phelonn

          Blaque Swan: First, I want share one example of what I believe is colorism in full bloom. Michael Jackson, the once dark-brown complexioned little kid with a lovely voice who sported a thick Afro during the 1960s “I’m Black and I’m Proud” days became a victim of colorism. Once he became a world icon, the King of Pop slowly transformed into something beyond whiteness. His skin became whiter, nose narrower, and hair longer and straighter. For some reason, it appears he was trying to out-do “whiteness.” This says something about his psychological state and the drugs kept him sedated in this false consciousness. However, I want to preface my statement by saying I’m not against interracial relationship. But I believe Jackson’ interracial relationships, together with his white children and all the white children with whom he surrounded himself at his Neverland Ranch was part of the white world to which he wanted to escape but was not totally accepted. As much material wealth he shared, he was still accused of horrific sex crimes among those he embraced. In essence, the King of Pop became captive to historical amnesia and white accommodation for acceptance. I submit this thesis to you. It does not matter how many Ivy League universities from which African Americans hold college degrees, what exclusive neighborhoods they live in, how wealthy they are, how intelligent they are, if there is such a thing in the white imagination, they will never be treated as equals with whites. In his, White Men on Race: Power Privilege, and the Shaping of Cultural Consciousness, Joe Feagin informs us that

          “Prejudices are most likely to be affected by equal-status interaction if that interaction is cooperative, interpersonal, and friendly, and if it involves people with similar social backgrounds and common goals” (p. 61) [[http://www.amazon.com/White-Men-Race-Privilege-Consciousness/dp/0807009830/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302405434&sr=1-1#reader_0807009830]]

          This goes back to one of Alex Haley’s Roots scenes about Master Moore and his cock-fighting slave, Chicken George. Chicken George went off to England to train one of the Englishman’s cocks in order to work off Master Moore’s debts. Master Moore promised Chicken George he would not separate the family by selling them off, but he did. When Mrs. Moore asked Master Moore what he was going to tell Chicken George upon his return about selling off his family, Master Moore said that Chicken George will not come back white. After all, he’s a nigger and what’s a nigger gonna do? This statement supports Joe Feagin’s white racial frame [[http://www.amazon.com/White-Racial-Frame-Centuries-Counter-Framing/dp/041599439X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302405582&sr=1-1#reader_041599439X]] research and the patriarchal attitude of white males with reference to race. Drawing on Feagin’s white racial frame research, Chicken George always found a counter-frame to resist most white males’ dominance over his person and his family.

          You made a good point about Don Imus calling the Rutgers basketball team, “nappy headed hoes,” which comprised 10 African American females and 2 white females. The other team Rutgers played against and lost was from Tennessee, comprised mostly of white females. He said the girls from Tennessee were “cute,” which suggests that the “nappy headed hoes” were too rough looking with their nappy hair and tattoos and too Afrocentric looking. Simply put, he was degrading them based on what Cornel West calls their “undeniable black phenotype” by comparing them to his racist idea of beauty. But I’m not surprised there was no outcry against this Imus’s racist behavior. You can view the tape of his racist description of the Rutgers’ team [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui1jPNDWArM]]
          Even though Don Imus made racist statements against the female Rutgers basketball team, there is another racist demagogue who uses his program as a platform to spew out his hatred against Americans of color and foreigners. Recall when Obama invited the Chinese leader Hu Jintao for a state dinner. Rush Limbaugh mocked the Chinese language,
          [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnfwVRA7lz4]] and I’m sure his program airs worldwide. What’s ironic is that Obama’s critics claim he’s embarrassing America over nothing, but they never whisper a word when racist demagogues like Limbaugh makes fun of minorities and foreign leaders on a show that airs internationally.

          • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

            MJ had a skin condition. I know people with the same issue.

            That said, his deal with white women and the white children . . . But no, he was never “equal.” Already, I’ve seen some question on whether he’s still the King of Pop, or if Bieber has taken the throne.

            As for Rush . . . apparently he’s just saying what I lot of people are feeling. My middle school band teacher would make the same jokes. White people can do that. (Unless they’re Democrats.)

            Good exchange. Thanks.

  6. cordoba blue

    Thank you Dragon Horse for the extensive history lesson! I believe everyone who reads your last post will be very impressed!
    I have taught my ESL students American and also World History. I have to say I agree that the African continent did not play into world history for many thousands of years. The upper part of Africa did, because it was situated on the Mediterranean..and thus there was access to Europe and the Middle East..where all the action was, so to speak, for thousands of years.
    I also agree that Africa was by no means a united entity. It was largely composed of various tribal groups for thousands of years. Plus, in reaction to your statement about degree of technological advancement..Afica was not as technologically advanced as Europe or the Middle East or Japan. And no, they did not HAVE to be because they were relatively isolated {at least in Sub Sahara Africa} from the rest of the world. To defend yourself, you need advanced weaponry. And there was little motivation for Africans to do this.
    It’s true that Europeans exploited Africa because it was just too easy. And this is nothing new in world history. Survival of the fittest.Europeans also exploited the indigenous people of South America {Aztecs, Incas} with a handful of men compared to thousands, due to advanced weaponry as well as diseases the native Americans had no resistance to. Same story for North America.
    I believe the point is, was this humane? No. But why even discuss it, if it’s such an inherent part of human history? Because America was supposed to be the “Great Experiment” in equality. Even though it falls far short of this mark. The Constitution was supposed to wipe the slate clean for all people.Anybody could achieve success in “glorious America” as opposed to Europe where you were pre-destined from birth to a life of misery as a serf, or life of relative luxury as part of the aristocracy. Couldn’t do much to change your fate.
    But in the New World..well..now everybody could start fresh. Free from religious persecution. Tons of land for the taking {if you could keep the Native Americans off your back}. A peasant could own 1,000 acres! What a miraculous turnaround.
    However, this blog is all about how the philosophy and dream did not apply to everybody. But it was Supposed To. That “all men were created equal” meme did not apply to black men. You get the idea. Didn’t apply to Native Americans either.
    No. Many things not new.. under the sun. All been hashed out before. Agreed. But maybe we can create something new. Because of the globalization of our world in a manner never seen before..I think we need to start objectively asking ourselves about our lack of understanding of other cultures..because we are swiftly become One Culture at an exponential rate. And this is truly New Unexplored Sociology. What one country does now Instantaneously affects every other country. Everybody types their opinion minute by minute on the Net regarding Everything that happens Minute by Minute all over the world. That actually is new..under the sun.

  7. Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

    @ Dragon Horse – Interesting story on your handle.

    A lot of what you say has no basis in present or historical reality. Much of it sounds like racialized misogyny. I may read over it again to make sure I read what I think I read.

    But, I probably won’t.

      • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

        I’m not sure what I need to elaborate on. But, by racialized misogyny I mean something like gendered racism.

        The whole thing about weakness I completely skipped over. It’s a display of either racism or misunderstanding/ignorance of history.

        Come to think about it, people who push the rhetoric DH is pushing are usually . . .

        Anyway, I hope that answers your question! 🙂

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