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Alternative forms[edit]


color +‎ -ism


colorism (usually uncountable, plural colorisms)

  1. (American spelling) Prejudice or bias against persons on the basis of their skin color or complexion, often among persons of the same racial identification.
    • 2011, Don Lemon, Transparent[1], Las Vegas: Farrah Gray, →ISBN:
      Black America used to be, and perhaps still is, a pigmentocracy, which means that the social hierarchy is based largely on colorism. When I was growing up, Louisiana was ruled by pigmentocracy. I know there are other black communities where colorism has dictated who socializes with whom, what organizations and churches one can belong to, and even where one goes to college, but I suspect that Louisiana is the pinnacle of color consciousness.
    • 2019, Alicia Williams, “2019 Kirkus Prize Finalists: Alicia D. Williams on Writing Genesis Begins Again”, in Kirkus Reviews[2], retrieved 2021-04-15:
      Old church ladies or well-meaning elders compliment the light-skinned kids with good hair or colored eyes, but those niceties stopped with the dark-complexioned ones. This type of preferential colorism isn’t only found in the church aisles, it’s at family gatherings, on the dating scene, in the classroom, on the playground—it’s everywhere.
    • 2019 April 18, quoting Pariha Laila Begum, “Shades of Black: how readers responded to our series on the colorism taboo”, in The Guardian[3]:
      Colorism from your own people feels worse than racism – at the very least your own family and people should welcome you, no?
    • 2020 July 29, E. Tammy Kim, “The Perils of “People of Color””, in The New Yorker[4]:
      It’s now common to hear East Asian and South Asian Americans declare that fixing the anti-Black racism in their communities is a precondition for taking part in Black Lives Matter. Eliminating racism and colorism is, of course, a worthy pursuit, but it’s also impossible to do in the abstract.
    • 2021 March 15, Kovie Biakolo, “The Bachelor’s “Groundbreaking” Season Was a Representation Nightmare”, in Vanity Fair[5]:
      Like those, James’s season still gave noticeably less screen time to its Black contestants—and because of James’s Blackness, the colorism that has always plagued The Bachelor became more visible. Darker-skinned and/or monoracial-presenting Black women were sent home earlier; none even made it to the hometown dating rounds.
  2. (painting) A style of painting characterised by the use of intense color.
    • 2002, Robert Suckale, Ingo F. Walther, editor, Masterpieces of Western Art, Taschen, →ISBN, page 419:
      Turner's colorism with its cosmic world view had nothing to do with realism, in spite of its impasto handling of colour. [] Turner's images are based on the far-sighted and purely objective views of the 18th century which he imbued with new meaning through his colorism based on colour theory and plein-air painting.


Further reading[edit]