I’m a white man. You might go: Why the hell you keep repeating that shit like there’s relevance to it? I keep repeating it because there is of course major relevance to it. It means that there a numerous forms of psychological (and physical) oppression that I am not subject to. On the contrary, my presence might perpetuate them. The visibility of my socially categorised skin-color and gender perpetually places me in a position of privilege and saves me from harrassment that many other people have to endure.
I am rarely confronted negatively on the basis of the color of my skin or of the texture of my hair. That is not to say I am not confronted at all. Cause I am. Thinking about it, it really stuns me, how often people comment specifically on my hair. It is blonde, but to be honest, I dye it. Nevertheless, so many people tell me how the first thing they remember about me, is my hair-color. Or how they like my hair color. How my hair color matches the color of my beard. And I could go on. Issues of appearance are incredibly dominant in all our lives.
This following documentary (duration 20:10) by Nayani Thiyagarajah, Brian Han, Leanne McAdams, Derek Rider, and Vanessa Rodrigues is a beautiful reminder of the impact that skin-color has for people all over the world. It is an ambitious and succesfull attempt of taking a look at how people of color have to deal with the issue of “fairness” culturally and socially placed above “darkness” in not only the Global North.
“This documentary short is an introduction to the issue of shadeism, the discrimination that exists between the lighter-skinned and darker-skinned members of the same community. This documentary short looks specifically at how it affects young womyn within the African, Caribbean, and South Asian diasporas. Through the eyes and words of 5 young womyn and 1 little girl – all females of colour – the film takes us into the thoughts and experiences of each. Overall, ‘Shadeism’ explores where shadeism comes from, how it directly affects us as womyn of colour, and ultimately, begins to explore how we can move forward through dialogue and discussion.”
You can get to teh shadeism vimeo profile by clicking HERE.
I am looking forward to another documentary scheduled to debut later this year at the International Black Film Festival in Nashville named “Dark Girls”. It discusses the same issue with a slightly different take and it looks like they are documenting the more brutal aspects of the issue of shadeism and its relation to racism as well. You can watch the trailer (duration 9:22) below.