colorism

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

color +‎ -ism

Noun[edit]

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.

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