Rashida Strober Sets The Record Straight On Colorism
We recently published an article submitted by Rashida Strober and the feedback we got from our audience was that she perpetuates colorism. I contacted Rashida and told her about how a large percentage of the black community on social media feel about her, and wanted to give Rashida Strober an opportunity to set the record straight in an exclusive interview, about her relationship with her light skin brothers and sisters, who by the way… are black.
David P Fenelus: Hello Rashida, thank you for accepting to be interviewed to set the record straight about colorism. So let’s get right to it. The definition of Colorism is “prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.” As an adult, do you believe light skin men and women discriminate against you because of your dark skin tone? If yes. Share examples.
Rashida Strober: To her credit, Alice walker coined the term “colorism” in the early 80s which refer to skin tone discrimination among black people and non-black people alike. Darkism focuses specifically on DARK skinned discrimination only. I coined the term darkism in my book of the same name Darkism: 25 ways dark skin people are discriminated against. While darkism includes the discrimination of dark-skinned people by non-dark black people its way bigger. Darkism is a global system of discrimination created out of imperial expansion spearheaded by European Manifest Destiny. Darkism within the black community is a symptom of that. So let me give you the definition of darkism. Under such a system, THE ENTIRE society is guilty of darkism.
Darkism – any dark skinned person around the world who is treated differently because of their dark skin tone. This includes the discrimination of a dark skinned person by a non-dark skinned person or the discrimination of a dark skinned person by another dark skinned person. Differential treatment occurs in all areas of a person’s existence including but not limited to economics, politics, and social standing.
As a dark skinned woman, I have experienced discrimination by all shades of black people and non-black people as well. One example was recent. I stood in line waiting for my turn to be served by two DARK skinned Indian cashiers. I was the only person in line. As soon as a light skinned black woman walked in, the cashier IMMEDIETLY asked to assist her, ignoring the fact that I was next.
I was once told by a light skinned black man that I am lucky that he was interested in dating me because he does not usually date chicks dark as me. When I brought dark skin activism to the internet I received multiple death threats from ALL skin tones of black people because they were angry that I was speaking the truth so once again darkism is global and all skin tones are guilty.
David P Fenelus: Has the stress of being dark skinned in America put a strain on your relationships with your light skin brothers and sisters?
Rashida Strober: No. My best friend is a super light skinned black woman. Her mother took me in when I was homeless and on the streets. Had it not been for her I would have never gotten my GED and ultimately a master’s degree. Those that take issue with dark skin activism are simply in denial or are perhaps the perpetrators of darkism.
David P Fenelus: When you look at light skin people do you consider them black? If yes. Explain to our audience why you were so offended when Kendrick Lamar married his light skinned high school sweetheart?
Rashida Strober: There are plenty of light skinned black people with two black parents. The fact that there are light skinned black people has nothing to do with the fact that a person that has a white parent and a black parent, for example, is not black. That person is in fact mixed race. Anyone that is insulted by this is insulted by facts. Stating facts are not the same as stating insults. Kendrick Lamar’s wife is not black. She is a mixed race woman as one of her parents is mixed and the other black.
Black men like Kendrick Lamar need, to be honest, and quit using dark skinned women as a come up to garner support from a marketing standpoint, which causes them to sell more of their flawed product. It is quite reasonable to expect that a man that speaks about dark skinned women, should actually place dark skin women in his videos and who has a song called “Complexion” may just be married to or dating a DARK SKINNED BLACK WOMAN. But this is not the case. Fraud. Leave dark skin women out your bullshit! I as a dark black woman am tired of being used for an economic come up then being ditched when socio-economic benefit starts rolling in. I’d rather a person like him not advocate my dark skinned female oppression. HE Lacks CREDIBILITY.
I could respect him if he were more honest in his music or left dark skinned women out the equation. For example, the Blacker the Berry should not be in his vocabulary given his true preference. The Blacker the Berry is a book written back in 1929 by Wallace Thurman about an OPPRESSED DARK SKIN GIRL HATED ON BY HER OWN BLACK COMMUNITY FOR BEING DARK SKINNED. Uhmmmm……I wonder if he ever read the book?
David P Fenelus: Do you believe that every black man in the world who don’t find you attractive, whether they be light skin or dark skin, is solely because of your dark skin tone?
Rashida Strober: I don’t believe that every black man who does not find me attractive has to do with skin tone. However, the truth is most of it does. If I had the same looks and I was not dark skinned I would attract way more men of all races. Dark skin females are excluded from the ugly past. That is reserved for non-dark women.
David P Fenelus: What do you have to say to the people in the black community who say you perpetuate colorism and alienate people who would like to support you?
Rashida Strober: It’s simple…face the truth of DARKISM. Come out of denial. If we can be HONEST with ourselves then we can move forward. So long as the lies and denial continue then darkism will not be solved.
David P Fenelus: What is the end goal of your activism for dark skinned people? How is a young dark skinned child going to benefit from your activism 20 years from now?
Rashida Strober: The end goal of ending darkism through dark skinned activism is SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC EQUALITY. I started dark skin activism back in 1998 with the historic lecture I gave at St. Petersburg College on the beautiful jet black model Alek Wek and began calling myself the dark skin activist because I knew that dark skinned people had always been subjected to injustice because I was a victim of darkism myself. I wanted to change that.
As Dr. Neely Fuller states, we need to replace injustice with a system of justice. When dark skinned people are treated equally in all areas of life then my work is completed. Dark Skin Activism’s impact on dark skin children is already underway, as I speak in schools in regards to darkism and have been doing so for years. This has stopped many attacks on dark-skinned children, for example, the time when a dark skinned boy could have gotten thrown out of school for throwing over tables and destroying a classroom. I stepped in and said “no.” This kid was called “black” by another student whose aim was to disparage him for his dark skin. I made sure that this child was not wrongfully disciplined because he was the victim of darkism and was acting on that victimization. Examples like this are proof positive of the impact of dark skinned activism. I also counsel people from around the world in regards to dark skin issues and have seen many great changes and I will continue to do the work of dark skin activism in this way because it all lead to SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC EQUALITY for dark people which is a human right as far as I am concerned. Anyone that is concerned for all humanity should have no issue with equalizing the most oppressed group on earth, dark skinned people.
David P Fenelus: Thank you again for taking the time to answer our questions and setting the record straight on colorism Rashida. You can follow Rashida Strober on YouTube and subscribe to her channel. To learn more about her activism buy her book Darkism: 25 ways dark skin people are discriminated against