I know it’s not Friday, but whatever. Recently Blake Lively thought it’d be funny to go on instagram and post photos of herself with the caption “L.A. face with an Oakland booty”. Because white women are beautiful and glamorous and live in Los Angeles while black women are ghetto and have big butts and live in Oakland.
The more I think about this, the angrier I get.
I’m tired of living in a world where people stumble into racist, anti-Black sentiments that blatantly set up whiteness to mean ‘beautiful’ while blackness is reduced to exotic and oversexualized body parts.
But Lively’s comments up the ante even further, not only claiming beauty for whites while dismembering black bodies but also giving it a geography. Somebody needs to let the 3.8 million black people in LA know that they’re living in a city synonymous with white beauty. Don’t they know their place is in Oakland?
There’s so much more to say on this… but for right now I’ll leave you with Franchesca Ramsey and crew to talk about the pernicious evil of white beauty standards.
A few months ago Cara wrote a piece on colorism in the black community. The idea that having lighter skin offers advantages not available to darker skin black folks is a conversation black folks (especially black women) have been having for a long time. Often, we speak about colorism on the individual level. We talk about our own lived experiences and how colorism has impacted us personally. And while I wholly believe that it is important to have these personal conversations, it’s equally important to showcase the real-world systemic impacts that colorism and racism can have on society.
Take criminal justice as an example.
There’s a strong body of research highlighting the racial disparities in the criminal justice system. From arrests, to sentencing, to parole opportunities, and probation — for no other reason than being black, you can face much greater penalties at each step of the judicial process. But does the shade of your black matter? Does colorism have an impact on, say, how long you’ll be locked up?