Author speaks out about colourism in Radio 4 interview

Author speaks out about colourism in Radio 4 interview

Journalist and lecturer Deborah Gabriel, the author of ‘Layers of Blackness: Colourism in the African Diaspora,’ has spoken out about colourism in an interview with BBC Radio 4.

The interview, recorded on December 10 2008, forms part of a documentary called ‘Colour Me White’ which examines the reason why people from black and Asian communities use bleaching creams to lighten their skin. It is being produced by Tamsin Barber and is presented by Aasmah Mir.

Commenting on the interview, Gabriel said: “We had a frank, open and relaxed dialogue that I am sure will dispel some of the misconceptions about skin bleaching that may be held by people outside African and Asian communities”.

In her book, Gabriel provides an in-depth analysis of colourism – the process of discrimination among people of the same ethnicity that values light skin above dark complexions, linking its origins to religion, slavery and colonialism.

“During the interview I explained that when people bleach their skin, they are not seeking to become white – just lighter, in order to conform to the European standard of beauty that dominates the world and which has both social and economic benefits”, she added.

The documentary will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on February 20 2009 at 11.00am. The book is available to purchase on or on the author’s website.

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