Here's Why People Are Angry About Tinashe's Comments on Colorism

June 13th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

Singer Tinashe made some controversial comments about discrimination in a recent interview, and it started a big discussion about colorism on social media.

In an interview with The Guardian published on Monday, Tinashe Kachingwe, who is bi-racial, seemed to imply that colorism was an obstacle she had to overcome in her life and career. Colorism is prejudice based on color within a racial group, that gives light-skinned people privileges that dark-skinned people do not have.

“There’s colorism involved in the black community, which is very apparent. It’s about trying to find a balance where I’m a mixed woman, and sometimes I feel like I don’t fully fit into the black community; they don’t fully accept me, even though I see myself as a black woman," she told The Guardian's Michael Cragg. "That disconnect is confusing sometimes. I am what I am.”

People on Twitter had mixed reactions about her remark.

Although, mixed race black people can have a different personal experience than other black people or sometimes feel like they don't fit in, the implication that colorism has been a significant obstacle in her life or career misses the true definition of this type of discrimination.

Kachingwe, is a light-skinned black woman and, therefore, she benefits from systemic privilege that dark-skinned black women are not afforded. Her personal experience of feeling ostracized in the black community doesn't negate those systemic privileges. However, it's important to note that black people with darker skin tones are less likely to be hired and more likely to receive harsher prison sentences than black people with fairer skin.

ATTN: has previously written about the lack of dark-skinned women in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, including, how society's beauty standards often favor light-skinned black women due to America's undeniably ties to a legacy of slavery and colonialism.

"Colorism for Latinos and African Americans has its roots in European colonialism and slavery in the Americas," Researcher Margaret Hunter from the Department of Sociology at Mills College wrote in a paper on the history of colorism. "Both systems operated as forms of white domination that rewarded those who emulated whiteness culturally, ideologically, economically, and even aesthetically. Light-skinned people received privileges and resources that were otherwise unattainable to their darker-skinned counterparts."

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