The Equity and Inclusion Committee of the University of Wisconsin Associated Students of Madison invited Anjali Misra, a social justice activist, to discuss anti-blackness and colorism within communities of color and how to actively oppose racial discrimination Monday.
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Misra, assistant director of the Undergraduate Research scholars program, also said education is important in colorism awareness. Individuals need to educate themselves first before educating others.
“I like to encourage people to educate themselves on issues of racism without putting the burden on people of color,” Misra said. “You cannot rely on people of color to educate you on their experiences.”
Misra also discussed the Buzzfeed video “What Dark Skinned People Will Never Tell You.” The video featured University of Southern California associate professor of anthropology Lanita Jacobs, who said having dark skin can affect society’s perceptions and people of color’s potential for success.
The phenomena of bleaching skin, as mentioned in the video, helps to reinforce whiteness and light skin as the beauty standard, Misra said.
“Even in people of color communities, whiteness is the ideal and it is hard to acknowledge how it is a problem when it comes from people we love,” Sara Easa, an ASM Equity and Inclusion Committee member, said.
Additionally, UW student Kaitlynne Roling said beauty campaigns use light-skinned models, which perpetuates the beauty standard as white versus people of color.
To finish, Misra offered some advice on how to tackle anti-blackness as a white person.
“Listen to experiences of people of color, speak up in defense of them and know when to pipe down by knowing when it is not your place to advocate for someone,” Misra said.