Colorism in Botswana

Hello everyone, on this post, I am going to share the experiences of people in Botswana in terms of colorism. I am a Kenyan but I resonate with the colorism issues that Botswanan people go through.

Before we go further, here are some beautiful facts about Botswana.

Botswana Contains One of the World’s Largest Salt Pans

Located in the dry savanna of north-eastern Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Pan is one of the largest salt pans in the world. The pan is situated in an area that was once covered by the massive Lake Makgadikgadi.

The Name of Botswana’s Currency Means “Rain”

The pula is the currency of Botswana. The word pula literally means “rain” in the local Setswana language. Since much of Botswana is desert, rainfall is a rare event in the country, and is therefore highly valuable and considered to be a blessing.

 Botswana Is One of the World’s Biggest Diamond Producers

Botswana is the world’s second largest producer of diamonds. In fact, the country produced 40 million carats of diamonds in 2016.

Botswana Is the Best Place to See Meerkats in the Wild

Meerkats are small carnivorans from the mongoose family. The species is endemic to Southern Africa, and is common throughout the Kalahari Desert. Botswana offers the best opportunity to observe these unique and interesting animals. Many wildlife tours offer meerkat safaris in Botswana.

Botswana Is Africa’s Oldest Continuous Democracy

Botswana was formerly a British protectorate named Bechuanaland. After gaining its independence on September 30, 1966, the independent state was renamed Botswana. Since that time, Botswana has maintained an uninterrupted tradition of democratic elections, making it Africa’s oldest surviving democracy.

Here is a video explaining colorism in Botswana. I hope you enjoy and learn something new. Happy week everyone. Keep safe and sanitize.

Story time

Hello everyone, I know,I usually do not post on Thursday. However, I just wanted to share a video explaining my first time experiencing colorism in a story. I am also happy that I do not cry nowadays. In the past when I was still so delicate, I would cry at every instance I got bullied for being dark skinned. I hope you watch, like, comment and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Your support means a lot to me. Sending you love. Happy Thursday.

Why are Kenyans so angry at Elsa Majimbo?( Colorism in Kenya; A practical example)

INTRODUCTION

Hello my lovely readers, this post is going to explain why the Kenyan social media platforms are on flames after a young teenage Kenyan comedian by the name Elsa Majimbo stated that her dowry should be four million dollars. This was during an interview on a Kenyan TV show.

DARK SKINNED WOMEN AND STANDARDS

If you have been reading my posts (if not I suggest you do), it is quite clear that the dark skinned woman has been defeminized for the longest time. This has perpetuated the idea that dark skinned women should accept whichever form of treatment they get from men and the society in general. The society has pushed the idea that dark skinned girls are unattractive, so the only way they can get the society’s affection and attention is by having very low standards so that they can make it easy for men and people in general to please them. Therefore, Elsa coming out of that box that dark skinned women have always been forced into and setting her standards high has left so many with questions (how can an unattractive woman have standards as high as those?, ) I saw a tweet that stated that ‘it is always the ugly ones’. Now colorism in Kenya is not an exception to the misconstrued idea of making dark skinned women and ugly synonymous. I am fully aware that beauty is subjective, but calling a woman ugly because she has set high standards for her future husband is quite laughable.

There are so many famous Kenyan light skinned women (I will not mention names for the sake of discretion) who have set their standards so high by even stating that for a man to approach them, he must have won a lottery or own multiple properties . Nobody has a problem with that statement and nobody bashes them (I am not advocating for their bashing, it is just a comparison). Kenyan men have been conditioned to believe that ‘light skinned women are expensive.’ This belief coupled with light skin privilege makes it easy for these women to make these standards unabashed but let a dark skinned woman do the same, the narrative changes quickly from ‘ women can do what they want/ she is too pretty to be with a broke man’ to ‘ it is always the ugly ones.’

I also wonder how the society expects women to look in order to have standards. Somebody said she was unattractive. My question is ‘ should high standards only be set by attractive women? Or what ?

DARK SKINNED WOMEN AND FEMININITY

Welcome to Kenya, where people think that satin material is only used to make hair scarfs and night dresses.

Kenyans went ahead to insult Majimbo based on the outfit she had worn during the interview, her hair do and makeup.

We all have a different sense of style. Therefore, a satin gown that is meant for dinner might look like a sleeping night dress to somebody else. But insulting Majimbo for wearing a satin dress to the show (umevaa night dress) and calling her eyeshadow ‘dura cot’ just because she stated what she expects from her future spouse was such a low blow. Some people say her make up was poorly done but did you have to insult her? A simple referral to a better make up artist would have done the job too. The tweet was made by a woman who insulted her in order to drive the point home(that Elsa was blowing her worth out of proportion). Other women went ahead and chimed in, laughing at the little girl who is just step into her femininity as a dark skinned woman (check out my post on femininity for dark skinned women).

DARK SKINNED WOMEN AND 4C HAIR

Just to exacerbate the problem, the lady went ahead to insult Majimbo’s hair style (which was an afro) by stating that her hair needed shampoo.’ ‘With your hair crying for shampoo’ it added. Many Kenyans joined in and stated that Majimbo looked unattractive and unpresentable with that hairstyle.

But what exactly do they mean by the term unpresentable? Maybe it is because we have been conditioned to think that the 1a hair type, bone straight hair is the the standard of ‘neat and presentable’ hair. Or maybe ,it is the deep seated belief that dark skinned girls do not shower and that is why they have dirty skin( yeah someone told me this when I was in kindergarten and someone echoed the same sentiments to me recently and I am in my 20s). This ‘lack of showering mentality’ directly translates into dirty hair that needs shampooing, I suppose.

Several light skinned, famous Kenyan women wear their afros all the time and nobody reminds them that they need shampooing. But wait until a dark skinned woman wears her natural hair in its full glory, sitting like a crown and not sleeked down. That is just chaotic. ‘ Oh you look like Lwanda Magere, kwani hajui maana ya blowdry?’ they ask. For an older, educated woman to insult a teenage girl in terms of her hair shows how far the problem of colorism and hair goes. It is absolutely weird for someone (Elsa) to face an incident full of microaggressions in a country where women who look like her are the majority. I am so glad California state is on the verge of enacting the Crown Act which bans discrimination against natural hair. Maybe Kenyans should fall in line and follow suit. Maybe it is time we stop deeming what is presentable or not presentable based on an individual’s hair type.

See the source image
look at this gorgeous satin dress fit for a date.

SUMMARY

These are the reason (s) why you are hating on Elsa;

  1. She knows satin can make other clothes apart from night dresses.
  2. The society does not expect women (especially dark skinned women who it has always put on the bottom shelf of its hierarchical arrangement of women) to set high standards.
  3. She is comfortable with wearing her 4c hair that is always considered unpresentable. You are annoyed because you always have to straighten your hair before you attend an important event, Elsa does not have to do so.
  4. She knows the difference between paint and eyeshadow. She has stepped into her femininity as a dark skinned woman and that does not sit well with your ‘ideal dark skinned defeminized’ woman.
  5. She is not your typical pickmeisha.
  6. South Africans love her more than you do. Your Kenyan rejection did not stop her from flourishing in other countries.

Have a happy week everyone and stay safe.

Vert Berry challenge

INTRODUCTION

Hello everyone. I hope you are all keeping safe during this quarantine period. I just wanted to share something that may be uplifting in a little way during this pandemic. In the light of the Black lives matter movement, I have seen big brands such as Loreal and Unilever dropping the ‘skin lightening’ tag from their products and acknowledging the need of an all inclusive product market. To be honest, I am genuinely happy about this move and I think it is progressive in helping with putting an end to colorism.

See the source image

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/06/25/unilever-drops-fair-fair-lovely-skin-lightening-cream/

See the source image

L’Oreal will remove ‘whitening’, ‘lightening’ and ‘fair’ from skin care products in response to Black Lives Matter protests

  • L’Oreal will remove ‘white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening’ from items
  • Activists claim the items perpetuate white skin as an ideal beauty standard
  • L’Oreal earlier tweeted that that it ‘stands in solidarity with the Black community
  • L’Oreal said her comments surrounding racism were ‘at odds’ with their values

THE CHALLENGE

I started the vert berry challenge so that we can recognize and appreciate dark skinned women. To participate, you need to do the following;

  1. Post a dark skinned woman (from any part of the world because we are all about inclusivity) on your Instagram page.
  2. Write her a message of encouragement and appreciation. Use the hashtag Vert Berry (
  3. #vertberry) at the end of the post and tag the Vertberrycolorism talks on Instagram. Here is the link; https://www.instagram.com/vertberrycolorism/
  4. Put a flag of the country she comes from.
  5. I will repost the ladies on the page and give them shout outs on my Youtube channel. I am so eager to see what you will come up with. Let’s go fam!

Please feel free to visit my Youtube channel for more. Thankyou!

Refrences

By JEMMA CARR FOR MAILONLINE, L’Oreal will remove ‘whitening’, ‘lightening’ and ‘fair’ from skin care products in response to Black Lives Matter protests,PUBLISHED: 16:06 BST, 27 June 2020 | UPDATED: 19:03 BST, 28 June 2020

How to deal with a colorist person

Hello my lovely readers. This post is going to share tips on how to deal with colorist people around you. These are my personal tips that help me manage myself when dealing with colorist slurs. Sometimes it is quite annoying and triggering (which is normal) but these tips help me to deal with the emotions without being overwhelmed.

  1. Educate them; It is imperative to note that sometimes, people are colorist subconsciously. They might not be aware of their behavior and you can take your time to create awareness. For example, if one gives you a back handed compliment you could reply with ‘how about you say this/ that’ because that compliment is inappropriate instead of saying thankyou or ignoring it altogether.
  2. Pray for them; Well, I do not know your religious beliefs or backgrounds but if you believe in a higher power that can help people change from certain unhealthy mindsets, then you can actually throw in a name during prayer. People who actually think they are better than others due to their skin tone may need some Godly intervention. Just saying.
  3. Ignore them; Some people may be adamant even after prayer and education. They may think you are becoming ‘too much’ or come up with deflective mechanisms such as calling you bitter, telling you to find a balance and things that fall in the same vein. They may make you think you are doing something wrong by simply expressing your views and opinions. They would highlight your ‘wrongness’ but are unable to offer any form of constructive criticism. These are the people that you need to block, unfollow or delete. They are not worth your time.
  4. Journal; You can write down your thought and feelings tied to colorism and write down a list of how you would prefer to handle the issue later. This sense of preparedness helps you because it hits you with the reality that colorism is real and preparation may help you manage triggers and be graceful during ugly encounters.
I am now on Youtube , where I will be sharing more content. Please like share, subscribe and comment.

These are my favorite personal tips for dealing with this problem. Feel free to share your tips. I would be glad to learn from you as well. Also let me know your favorite tips or something you have learnt at the comment section. Thankyou and have a blessed week ahead!

Sigh!

How to spot a colorist person

Hello my lovely readers. On this post, I am going to share five tips that may help you understand the subtle signs hat your friend, partner, sibling or any other person might be discriminatory towards people of a darker skin tone.(Plus I am now on YouTube please feel free to subscribe). Thanks.

  1. Backhanded compliments; Your friend might say, ‘oh you are so pretty for a dark skinned girl.’ This type of compliment says a lot.
  2. Uncomfortable with you; If you are a dark skinned girl with a great sense of style, high self esteem or just great inner self knowing people that are quick to put you down by comparing you to light skinned women are definitely red flags. Statements such as ‘dark skin hawezi slay, wachia malight skin’ or ‘ungekuwa light skin na hiyo kuslay yote si ungekuwa miss world’ and other statements in the same line are colorist in nature.
  3. They hate it when you get attention; Now do not get me wrong. I am fully aware that all human beings require and love attention. It is also normal for dark skinned girls to get little to no attention in most social gatherings (this is subjective), so when a dark skinned girl manages to get attention and compliments over a light skinned girl in a social setting and that becomes a problem for the light skinned sister, then that shows where she stands. If your friend thinks that they automatically require attention because of their skin tone and expects you to lack the same because of your darker skin tone, they are being colorist. They hate to admit that Beyoncé dedicated a song for us and she clearly mentioned Lupita and Kelly. Please go  on YouTube and search ‘light skinned girls’ version of Beyoncé’s Brown  skin girl.
  4. They make insensitive comments about skin tones; When you have a person in your life, who is committed to sharing insensitive comments whether subtle or direct in relation to skin tone, then they are colorist. For example, saying light skinned women are not intellectually endowed’ or  throwing around blanket statements such as ‘luo women are ugly’ or ‘Akothee is ugly compared to Tanasha.’ Using blanket statements to define women on such as subjective matter (beauty) means that you are using a blanket feature to make this conclusion. It is undeniable that most Luo women are predominantly dark skinned. So your friend uses a predominant feature (dark skin)  to identify Luo women with ugliness. That is why they are so color struck by the likes of Diana Marua and Shorn Arwa who are Luo women but they are considered beautiful.Below is a picture of Diana.See the source image
  5. They think your pigmentation is due to ‘lack of showering’; Earlier this year, I was having a conversation with my schoolmates and one of them (a light skinned lady) asked me if she failed to shower for a while she would be dark skinned.’Nkiskosa kuoga for some time si nitakuwa dark skinned?’ I was appalled because how do you think my genetic predisposition has anything to do with showering? A person with such a mindset is a colorist person.
  6. Gaslighting; Once you start talking about the sruggle of being dark skinned or get triggered by people such as Kaligraph and stormzy, they call you are sensitive, you are playing victim, ‘yaani hiyo inakukasirisha?‘ they ask. They deflect and tell you that you have issues. They tell you that you do not respect preferences. They tell you everything that is wrong with you but have no problem making fun of light skinned men and dark skinned women. They have no problem engaging with dark skinned men who bash dark skinned women constantly. So who has the problem really? Avoid these conversations at all costs by not engaging them at all. They barely hear you but quickly judge you.
  7. Jealous; People who call you jealous, bitter, combative or angry when you speak about colorism are part of the problem. When a person does not understand that speaking about colorism goes beyond securing a date, ‘feeling threatened by a light skinned woman’ or getting the attention of men, then that is alarming. When they get offended by he statement ‘beauty has no skin tone’ and say ‘well you are offending light skinned women and you are threatened and jealous of them’ those people are being colorist.
  8. Inspiration for the week;TSee the source image

My friend said I am too dark to be her bridesmaid!

Hello my lovely reader welcome to another post that touches on the issue of colorism. I got a suggestion from an avid reader who supports my work( she is a light skinned gorgeous lady) by the name Audrey. I just had to point out her skin tone because finding a light skinned woman who supports this kind of work is hard to come by. This is not meant to bash but just to point out the fact that there is a few number of light skin women who look at colorism from the dark skinned girl’s perspective.

She is probably drawing inspiration from actresses such as Zendaya Coleman and Amanda Stenberg and I absolutely appreciate it.

Now, there is a Nigerian lady who surprised her friend just before her wedding by refusing to let her join her bridesmaids. She went ahead to state that the dark skinned lady would not look appealing in the yellow dresses that were to be adorned by the maids who would grace the occasion. The dark skinned sister explained how this affected her self esteem. Colorism affects not only heterosexual relationships but almost all relationships across the spectrum. Dark skinned sisters can wear yellow and look good.

 

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Nigeria is the hotbed of bleaching and colorism in Africa. From the roads of Lagos to the remote communities in Maiduguri, buyers are all over the country.Discoveries by Saturday Vanguard demonstrated that skin blanching has turned out to be one of the most noteworthy wants by Nigerian ladies and a few men nearby different basics like tea and so on.

This is probably why Dencia Whitenicious  launched her business there.Below is her photo.

See the source image

Singer and Beauty entrepreneur Dencia recently launched her Whitenicious skin lightening cream in Lagos, Nigeria with Blac Chyna, the brand’s ambassador present.
Speaking to Broadway TV at the launch, Dencia, on whether Nigerians are going to get the product, said: “They have a choice. It’s not a necessity, it’s a luxury. The average Nigerian cannot buy it. So, it’s for people that need it and can afford it”. (BN TV. May 16, 2020)

I am not against women who choose to bleach their skin or exclude their friends from marching in their weddings. I am against their acts of colorism.

I will share my 5 tips on spotting a colorist friend on my next post, so that you can either address the issue, educate them or just leave that friensdhip altogther.

Stay safe and I am sending love to all my dark skinned Nigerian ladies. You are gorgeous, beautiful and worthy of evry ounce of love and appreciation. If you are a Nigerian lady and you come across this article please share it, so that we can reach as many dark skinned ladies as possible.

 Inspiration of the week;

See the source image

Hardy Caprio is worth listening to

Hello, my lovely readers, I hope you are all staying safe. I would like to remind you to check out the gallery section of the blog. I have featured the ladies who participated in last week’s Vert Berry challenge.

This piece was written by my beautiful sister in line with the writing collaboration series.

Enjoy.

Usually, human beings feel at ease with what they are familiar with. That is why you follow your one friend at that party that you got invited to, but know absolutely no one. That is why you feel happy to see someone with the same skin tone a yours in a country where contrast is so stark.

But then you know human nature can surprise you when you least expect it; so again familiarity breeds contempt. Being a dark skinned British girl is hard. Being a dark skinned French girl is hard. The dark skinned British and French men really do promote colorism. It is funny how they bring men of other men into the circus, to actually spite dark skinned girls. They disrespect their women, and this isn’t enough for them. They encourage other men to do so as well. I feel the girls in these countries need more support. They already have enough with the ever-present disdain of racism. They do not need their own men giving them a hard time for resembling their own mothers and sisters. Look at this British artist and the message he is sending.

See the source image

 

I recently heard a song by a British singer by the name Hardy Caprio. In his song titled, Short and Sweet, he pithily called out colorism with this lyric, ‘dark skin, f*** colorism’ and that was the line that caught my attention. For a dark skinned British singer to actually address this? It makes me happy.

It gives me hope that the coming generation will not judge a person based on superficial things such as skin color. I hope more musicians address this. These people influence our thoughts whether we acknowledge it or not. So I really hope they influence us in a positive way over this colorism issue.

In short, I just wanted to say I like Caprio’s song. Go check it out.

Thanks and remember, colorism ends with me is the motto.

Our inspiration of the week is our very own Kenyan lady popularly known as Rue Baby.

Rue Baby