If you need further proof that racism and colorism are still alive and well, just look at what Khloe Kardashian and Tristian Thompson’s daughter True Thompson is already having to deal with. At only 5-months-old, True has already received cruel criticism from haters on Instagram regarding her skin tone and it’s heartbreaking to say the least.
Earlier this week, Kim Kardashian shared the most adorable photo to Instagram of her daughter Chicago with her two nieces Stormi (Kylie Jenner’s daughter) and True (Khloe’s daughter). With a photo this cute, you’d imagine all the comments would have been sweet but instead internet trolls decided to post vicious attack’s on True’s darker complexion and how it compares to her two lighter-skinned cousins. Like True, both of her cousins—including North, Saint, and Dream are half black. But unfortunately, colorism—the idea that whiter is better—is still very prevalent in brown and black communities .
Some of the comments made about True’s color were beyond cruel and disgusting. They called her everything from “too dark” or straight up ugly all because of her darker complexion. A few people even went as far as pointing out how Stormi and Chicago are “a nice mix” and that True is a cute kid “just too dark.” Clearly, when they refer to a a “nice mix” they are implying that Stormi and Chicago are cute because they look like what society believes mixed race, biracial kids should look like with tan or olive skin tones, whereas True just looks black. Not only is it highly problematic that adults would make comments like these but it’s also incredibly harmful for communities of color.
People are fucking disgusting pic.twitter.com/6TYyxVREl9
— 🍋 (@Ritawhoras) September 15, 2018
Like racism, colorism exists because of colonization and Eurocentric standards that have been placed on society for centuries. It’s a system that’s conditioned people from around the world—including communities of color—to believe that white Europeans are the superior race. Therefore, the lighter your skin and the closer you are to meeting that standard, the higher you rank as a human in society. This philosophy has harmed people of color throughout Asia, the middle east, Africa, Latin American and in the states for hundreds of years and it’s only in recent years that we have strongly fought to shut down those false and corrupt ideas. But we’re still suffering the consequences of years of colonialism and European power even within our own communities.
In Asian, Latinx, and black communities especially, we still see people with lighter complexions considered more beautiful and in positions of economic, societal and political power. What’s especially devastating about this is how this mentality directly effects women and young girls. We still hear comments being made about how so and so is pretty “for a black girl” and darker skinned Afro-Latinxs still treated as “others.”
True isn’t even a year old yet and she’s already dealing with discrimination and hatred solely based on the color of her skin, something her half white, half Armenian mom is now going to have to learn to navigate as a parent. Because darker skin for so many years was perceived as less beautiful and desirable, women with darker complexions have had to fight to be seen. Even the beauty and fashion industries ignored them with numerous beauty brands not including them in their campaigns or even creating foundation shades for them. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty cosmetic line really revolutionized the makeup industry making it a priority to create shades for women of ALL skin tones and has set an example for other brands to do the same. But even after Fenty Beauty, we still don’t see enough dark skinned girls in ads and on the cover of magazines—though that is finally starting to change. And as hard as it is to wrap my head around, there are still brands who fail to think about darker skin women like BeautyBlender who launched their first foundation line this year and barely had any foundations for women with darker complexions.
For a lot of women with very dark skin—black women especially—colorism can take a huge hit to their self-esteem. Actresses like Lupita Nyong’ o, Viola Davis and Kelly Rowland have spoken out about some of the trauma they’ve experienced with colorism as dark-skinned black women.
In an interview with EURWeb back in 2013, Kelly Rowland opened up about how hard it was for her to accept her dark skin. “You know what I had great women in my life to help me overcome that. I remember I went through a period where I didn’t embrace my chocolatiness,” she said. “I didn’t embrace my chocolate lifestyle. Just being a chocolate, lovely brown-skin girl and being proud of that.”
Her insecurities around her skin got so bad, she started avoiding the sun. Thankfully she had Beyonce’s mom, Tina Knowles along with her own mother, who both helped her to finally embrace her beauty. Lupita Nyong’ o went through a similar experience growing up. In her moving 2014 Oscars acceptance speech she revealed that she prayed for lighter skin when she was a child. These experiences are all a result of the traumatic aftermath that results from colorism.
Despite the hate that still exists towards darker skinned girls and women, there are fortunately a number of folks out there who are ready to do away with this disgusting system for good and call it out when they see it. For every troll that attacked True’s complexion, there was a woman who immediately shut it down while also highlighting the damages of colorism and the fetishization of lighter-skinned black and bi-racial children.
As for the Kardashian’s who have all frustratingly appropriated black culture without giving credit in some way shape or form to the black community and who have had children with black men—Kim, Khloe, and Kylie specifically—it’s time they open their eyes to some of the hard realities their bi-racial children could and are currently facing. It’s cute to post pics of your adorable bi-racial children on IG but it’s also crucial that they do the work in understanding how their children’s experiences will drastically vary from theirs along with acknowledging the Eurocentric beauty standards that are still pushed on women and girls of color.
Pretending that colorism doesn’t exist is actually even more damaging, so it’s everyone’s responsibility to do the work in dismantling it but also calling it out when they see it.