"When you participate in colorism in any form, you are participating in white supremacy."
- Jazmyne Drakeford
A few days ago, we heard Jesse Williams, a pro-Black, biracial actor, best known for his role on Grey’s Anatomy, give a powerful speech on police brutality, the Black Lives matter movement, and the current state of Black America, and to no surprise, this caused quite a stir.
As expected, many white people showed their true…pale…color and attacked this man, calling him a racist *rolls eyes*, a nigger, and a number of other disgusting things. But what I find more disgusting than how white people responded to him, is how a large number of Black people responded to him.
"Half-breed", "mulatto", "light skin" (I know this isn’t an insult but they sure were intending on using it as one!), "fake-Black", "sambo"…these are the words I saw up and down my timeline by members of the BLACK community, and the question arises: Should Biracial people be allowed to speak on Black issues?
When I first listened to this speech, I literally said to myself….this is one hell of a speech! But what I found to be highly disappointing, is the reaction I saw from all these so-called “pro-Black” people; once again, colorism is keeping up from being unified.
Although colorism and biracial people aren't exactly the same topics, it's often difficult to discuss one without mentioning the other, because of course, not all light skin people are mixed, and not all dark skin people are full Black….contrary to ignorant belief. So honestly, this article is much less about Jesse Williams and his speech itself, but rather the Black community's bias when it comes to being accepted.
First off, I have to appreciate his acknowledgement for the [highly unappreciated] Black women and the pivotal role we/they play in our struggle for justice in this country.
But anyways! Why is it that Black people always try to pick and choose who should be considered “Black” when it comes to biracial people? Speaking specifically on Jesse Williams, it seems like the biggest concern for Black people wasn't the content of his speech, nor was it all the life that was given in this speech, but if we should even listen or care because he has a white mother. Whet?
This man, however you'd like to categorize him, is unapologetically proud of his culture and has been riding for us and with us for years. His activism was not activated by some trend or new wave of wanting to be "woke".Mr. Williams has been using his platform to speak on these issues for years. So what if his mom is white and so what if his dad married a white woman, look at the mentality of the offspring that was created. Why should it matter?
And you know what's funny? Is how quick we are to disown someone who is only 50% Black when only a few decades ago, they wouldn’t even accept someone with one drop of “Black blood”. Funny how that works. Blackness, not speaking in terms of race or ethnicity, but the socio-culture-political term of Blackness, is a mentality and a class in a caste system that we never asked for. So while you're trying to disown Jesse Williams, Halle Berry, Barack Obama, or any other famous or non-famous biracial individual, please keep in mind that just because someone is full Black doesn't mean they're on your team.
The point that I'm making here is, when you participate in colorism in any form, YOU ARE PARTICIPATING IN WHITE SUPREMACY. The goal is to fight racism and discrimination, and making life better for all disenfranchised and marginalized people. So yes, I will gladly take Jesse Williams, light skin with a white mother and all, before any of these other Black celebrities we clearly have no problem praising and giving all our money and support to, while never saying a word about the issues plaguing the Black community, and who are in fact causing more damage to the Black community. Just because someone is Black doesn’t mean they’re gonna ride for ya Black ass. Seriously.
Yes, color matters, way more than it should, but when it comes to the struggle, the revolution, and fighting the system, content of character over color any day because being in a 100% Black body isn't enough if your mentality isn't A1. Black liberation isn't supposed to be selective and exclusive as people seem to think, and in all realness, if you actually study and pay attention to any minority liberation movements in history, they’re inclusive of all people of color, because our struggle is virtually the same.
But of course, before we can find harmony amongst each other, we must first find unity within ourselves.