Global Colorism

Obiora Anekwe
Global colorism is seldom discussed in the field of bioethics, but it affects almost every facet of medical practice. The ethical challenge of colorism has global implications that are psychologically, physiologically, sociologically, and medically related. One impacts the other, sometimes without much notice. My goal for this paper is to bring issues related to colorism to light in order to begin the process of holistic healing for people of color who are often the most vulnerable in health
more » ... e and medicine. Secondly, I hope that this discussion of global colorism will bring forth a greater realization that more research needs to be conducted on the various impacts of colorism in medical practice. What is Colorism? According to Baruti (2000), colorism is a global prejudice that people of African ancestry have toward each other and seemingly use against or to the advantage of themselves and others with relatively similar complexion. Herring (2004) also defines colorism as "discriminatory treatment of individuals falling within the same 'racial' group on the basis of skin color" (p. 21). In order to provide a more expansive definition of global colorism, I would like to emphasize in this paper that global colorism may also be promoted and practiced by the oppressed (in this case, people of color) and the oppressor (post-colonialist Caucasians). As such, the term racism, for the purpose of this paper, is referred to as discriminatory power dynamics externally expressed by post-colonialists of European descent through conscious decision-making practices based on the skin tone and complexion of oppressed people of color. The History of Skin Color The various skin colors of humans that currently exist evolved over the past 60,000 years as humans dispersed out of equatorial Africa and adapted to new environments (Jablonski, 2012). Specifically, scientific records confirm that all humanity originates from the Khuiland Great Lakes region in northeast Africa before 7 million years ago (Bynum, Brown, King, & Moore, 20 [...]
doi:10.7916/vib.v1i.6470 fatcat:qgrrdlbifva5fjnv4r65aqqcra