Lupita Nyong’o: Colourism Is The Daughter of Racism

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o has spoken up about her experience with colourism as a child and how she’s beginning to change her outlook on it.

The term ‘Colourism’, was coined by writer Alice Walker and is simply put the belief that a certain skin tone is superior to another.

We see this play out all the time with lighter skinned African American actresses getting advantages that their darker skinned colleagues don’t. Even in everyday life, there seems to be the perception that women who are lighter skinned are more beautiful.

This ‘ism’ affects every facet of life with darker skinned women deemed as less beautiful, less marriageable and even more prone to getting into trouble.

Lupita Nyong’o was on BBC Newsnight where she was promoting her book, ‘Sulwe’ and there, she explained that while she never experienced racism till she came to America, she certainly experience Colourism.

“I definitely grew up feeling uncomfortable with my skin colour because I felt like the world around me awarded lighter skin,” she said during the interview.

The Kenyan actress also revealed that her sister who is lighter skinned was seen as the beautiful one and that colourism and racism are inextricably linked.

Explaining that point of view further, she said: “We still ascribe to these notions of Eurocentric standards of beauty, that then affect how we see ourselves among ourselves,”

Lupita did explain that her experience with Colourism is different from that of Racism as while both were linked to the colour of her skin, she felt very differently when confronted with them; “Race is a very social construct, one that I didn’t have to ascribe to on a daily basis growing up,” she said. “As much as I was experiencing colourism in Kenya, I wasn’t aware that I belonged to a race called black.”

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