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Understanding Colorism's Effects

Chika Okoro's Talk on Colorism Targets Media Representation

— September 25, 2017 — Keynote Trends
Chika Okoro, an MBA student at Stanford, begins her talk on colorism by telling her audience about her experience seeking out an acting role, and how she was told that any woman of her skin tone would be considered a "D girl," due to her darker complexion and the hair extensions she wore. Meanwhile, other roles were reserved for women with lighter skin tones, natural hair, and lightly colored eyes. As Okoro explains, colorism has always affected the treatment of people of color, as those with more "angular features" and lighter skin tones were often given less laborous duties before slavery was abolished, and even afterwards, when they were more likely to find work, housing, and education opportunities.

In addition, colorism has caused people of color to discriminate against one another, which is largely due to the images that are perpetuated by the media. This has also caused the skin lightening and bleaching industry to amass billions of dollars, despite the harmful effects of such products, and the problematic ideas they promote. With her talk on colorism, Okoro communicates the need to speak out against these harmful ideas that continue to be spread, and calls for advertisers and brands to represent darker skin tones in ads and campaigns, so that the status quo is challenged, and the standard of beauty is broadened as a result.
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