Colorism In 'I Am Not Sidney Poitier'

Amazing Essays
Despite the belief that there is not a difference in the treatment or a difference in the way dark-skinned African-Americans are perceived compared to light-skinned African-Americans, it is actually true that dark-skinned African-Americans do not enjoy the same privileges that light-skinned African-Americans do because of colorism. Colorism is the discrimination and or prejudice of one based not strictly on ethnicity but on skin color. In the novel I Am Not Sidney Poitier written by Percival Everett, the main protagonist was a victim of colorism by his girlfriend’s parents. They believed that he was too dark to date their light-skinned daughter. Despite disputing assertions, colorism is a common issue that has had detrimental effects on the …show more content…
To this day there is a subtle rift in the African-American community caused by the damaging effects of colorism during the antebellum period. Countless light skinned African-Americans still hold the creed that dark skinned African-Americans are inferior and treat them as such. For example, in the novel I AM NOT SIDNEY POITIER, the main protagonist was treated as if he were inferior to his girlfriend and her parents because he was dark skinned and they were light-skinned. That attitude towards dark-skinned African-Americans can be contributed to the perception that authors J.L. Hoschild and V. Weaver have that state “Dark skinned blacks in the United States have a lower socioeconomic status, more punitive, relationships with the criminal justice system, diminished prestige, and less likelihood of holding elective office compared with their lighter counterparts.” …show more content…
Colorism has had detrimental effects to the entire African-American community. Through propaganda and media America has successfully perpetuated the stereotype of the villainous unintelligent, subordinate dark-skinned African-American. While maintaining that the light-skinned individual is the only African-American who could be elite, genteel, intelligent and attractive. The psyche of an entire subgroup of a population has been put at stake in order to maintain European ideals of racism and inferiority between African-American people. All African-American people must realize that race and skin color are social constructs put in place in order to keep African-Americans susceptible to the trickery that will continue to keep America a white patriarchal society. Colorism, for hundreds of years has and still is single handedly dividing a community that should be working to uplift one another and working to expose the oppressive nature of a systematic force that continues to negatively influence the African-American community. Although the practice of colorism is quite trivial these ideas are expeditiously tearing African- American community apart from the inside out. In the future if these ideologies are not changed it will be because the bigger issue of racism which had a hand in creating colorism was never

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    They excused themselves simply because darker skin meant that that person was also inferior. Millions of minorities have suffered because of this. There were multiple laws that encouraged racism before and after the Civil War. These laws separated the whites and blacks and made it seem as if whites were higher in class than blacks. Bill Bigelow writes about this occurrence in “The Color Line”: “The social…

    • 1263 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Black Culture

    • 1146 Words
    • 5 Pages

    This is all characterized from Euro centric beliefs and the devaluation of Black culture. Black culture is the less ideal and therefore, causes members of its group to want to withdraw and enter into the leading mainstream culture. The major problem associated with social identity is the refusal of members from the dominant group to acknowledge their privilege. The attitude and racist norms which shape the way it means to be black is framed by whites. White police officers who are killing defenseless black males have been socialized in this racist narrative against the black social group.…

    • 1146 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Racial Inequality

    • 1272 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Wilson (2011) identifies an emerging form of racism known to social scholar as “laissez faire racism”, as the belief that blacks are responsible for their own socio-economic circumstances and therefore are undeserving of any outside aid. This school of thought and those sharing a distasteful views towards black people result in “devastating effects of oppression is that it dehumanizes the oppressed people” (Osajima, 1998, p.153). These views ultimately believe that blacks are culturally inferior. With the media constantly portraying black males as the one-dimensional aggressors of crime and predators, it is difficult for certain offensive stereotypes to not develop. Racial tensions between blacks and mainstream American society forming from an inadequate understanding of the reality and causes of ghetto culture continue to set back black people’s progress in the nation.…

    • 1272 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Dark Knight Rises

    • 1257 Words
    • 6 Pages

    African Americans have been racially oppressed for generations, and to deny their oppression and ignore the racism that is so integrated in our society is, inherently, racist. We need to acknowledge their oppression and our own racism, because before we can rectify the problem everyone needs to understand that there is a problem in the first place. The police brutality against African Americans needs to stop. The violence against them needs to stop. The racial prejudice against black people from the media needs to stop.…

    • 1257 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Coates wants the readers to understand that being is “noble” but that nobility comes with negative stereotypes, connotations and treatment, because of this Blacks constantly face subjection to “white supremacy”. America is a place where whites insulate their place at the top by oppressing Blacks through biased law enforcement, poor educational systems and a lack opportunities in America. Living in America as an African American comes with premature judgments making it almost very difficult for Blacks to be successful because of the constant negative associations. Like many Coates had aspirations to be something in life but he was one of the few who was able to make it out of the ghetto that whites try to trap blacks…

    • 788 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    By imposing the stereotype onto all those of darker skin, society enabled the discrimination of African individuals and justified their cruel treatment. This prejudice towards African Americans ran so deeply that even those who vowed to follow the constitution and lead our country responsibly believed in these stereotypes. President Theodore Roosevelt once said, "As a race and in the mass [the Negroes] are altogether inferior to the whites". Similarly, Abraham Lincoln once declared in a Lincoln-Douglas debate that: “There is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And ...…

    • 1272 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Introduction: The issue of White-supermacy has been the major problem in the history of United States.It is started from the Era of slavery,the most sensitive Era for African-Americans.Superiority and inferiority are the two opposite words that always has been used together.As if one is superior in rank,colour,nation then he considers others inferior because of his rank and race.And the one who is superior governs over the inferior or suppressed.In America,White community govern over the Black people as they are considered inferior because of their skin.Because of this oppression,segregation,both communities White and Black fail to understand eachothers.And this misunderstanding creates hate between Blacks and Whites. Many Black writers wrote…

    • 1271 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Although some may view this as an extreme approach it is a direct response to the years of oppression that African- Americans were forced to undergo. The unjust system in which Black people had, and some may argue still have no rights proves that Malcolm X was not in any ways extreme. However, a direct result to the reality that he had knew and that his brothers and sisters knew. In order for there to be a just and equal society one must wake the attention of their oppressor by threats, violence, or whatever is deemed necessary for the situation. Malcolm X believe that “all of us [African- Americans] have suffered here, in this country, political oppression at the hands of the white man, economic exploitation at the hands of the white man, and social degradation at the hands of the white man” (Ballot or the Bullet).…

    • 1807 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Tell Me A Joke Analysis

    • 829 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Conflict Theory deals with seeing one group as being mistreated unfairly. It can be defined as proposing that each individual or group struggles to attain the maximum benefit, (Tischler, 2014). I chose this theory because I feel like it relates well to the joke. African Americans are not treated fairly in our society. Even after we had the first African American president, there was still hatred among this minority group.…

    • 829 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    However, the issue of prejudice and racism is always an uncomfortable topic that seems to constantly be swept under the rug and rigorously denied. From the perspective of oppressed groups living in America such as African Americans it has become a general consensus that their lives hold less value than white people’s do. Coates (2015) describes this concept stating, “Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body-it is heritage.” (p.103) This idea has driven and motivated the current movement of black lives matter. The underlying racism and injustice faced by minorities has become an issue that cannot be overlooked. The unfortunate truth is that the present state of mass incarceration, racial profiling and impoverished neighborhoods that minorities face displays the apparent discrimination that still exist today.…

    • 1404 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays