“I’ve had my own inner monologues about colourism and heard people talking about colourism in abstractions, but here was a roomful of people giving real world examples of how colourism has affected them, and the impact of that struck me at my core.”Daniela Capistrano, Attendee, Workshop at Allied Media Conference 2013 | Founder, POC Zine Project
Colo(u)rism is the practice of, or a system that creates opportunities for people with light skin regardless of their true strengths, often thriving on the community’s silence.
A Working Definition by Jyoti Gupta, Founder-Mediamaker, The Colo(u)rism Project
Colourism and skin-lightening culture continues to be rampant worldwide, from The Phillipines to Chile, from Australia to North America leading up to altered life chances.
Deconstructing media and cultural messaging and finding new ways to tackle social effects that privilege some at a cost to others, is the way forward.
“I had never been in a room before with both other POC and white folks talking about personal experiences with colourism…”
The variety of spaces that need to be having these conversations–within and across– racial, caste-based, cultural and/or ethnic groups regardless of class and age is beyond comprehensible. It never ceases to amaze me. 10 years of conversations, each a little different from the last, however, fitting the same sort of definitive power relations that are of course specific to that system…
Putting the U in Color
“The media do not want us to know that the $10 billion skin-lightening product industry perpetuates skin-color stereotypes and discrimination. Spanning four decades, the myth-building has filled pockets of manufacturers.”Jyoti Gupta, Initiator, The Colo(u)rism Project
Early Rumblings: ColorsOfBrown.org (2007-2008)
I published Colors Of Brown: Dispelling Skin Color Bias through Online Dialogue in 2008. In this website, I delved into the ‘why’ of this centuries-old tradition. One that continues to this day. Conversations with scholars about skin color references in the ancient Indian tradition of art, folk literature, and dance, led me to its roots. Candid interviews with media icons, as well as people on the street in New Delhi, confirmed that colorism and the skin-lightening product industry were here to stay. To read about Bollywood beauty standards, the alternative cinema defiance, television, the skin-lightening product industry, and emergent counter culture at the time, visit www.colorsofbrown.org.