Colourism is a big deal, says author of new book

Colourism is a big deal, says author of new book

Journalist Deborah Gabriel is not afraid to tell it like it is, with a reputation for writing hard-hitting articles in publications like Red Pepper, The Parliamentary Monitor and It is from a global perspective that in her first book – Layers of Blackness: Colourism in the African Diaspora, the author has approached the rarely discussed issue of colourism – a term that denotes the process of discrimination based on skin colour among individuals from the same ethnic group, where lighter skin is more valued than dark complexions.

Deborah Gabriel said: “There has been a great deal of interest in aspects of colourism in the media over the last couple of years, especially skin bleaching, but coverage is generally sensationalised and there is never any serious attempt at explaining its origins.”

The author examines the shared experience of slavery and colonisation as a starting point for analysing how colourism has evolved in the USA, Jamaica, Latin America and the UK. The historical context is balanced with a strong political perspective and an examination of how colourism impacts black communities in the African Diaspora today.

A chapter on Jamaica features an interview with Donna Mc Farlane, the Director and Curator of Liberty Hall-the former headquarters of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Mc Farlane warns that skin bleaching as a legacy of enslavement, has become so widespread that it is not only adults who bleach but children too. A study published in January of this year also provides evidence that a stigma against dark skin still exists in Jamaica with children aged between three and six years old showing a preference for light skin.

Deborah Gabriel said: “People need to understand that colourism goes beyond personal preferences and aesthetic ideals – we are talking about social and economic disparities among people of African descent because of skin colour and that’s a big deal.”

ISBN: 978-0-9557210-0-7
PUBLISHER: Imani Media Ltd
PAPERBACK: 152 pages
PRICE: £10.99 + P&P
PUBLICATION DATE: 1st September 2007


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Name: Deborah Gabriel
Phone: 07951 344928