By Maya Scruggs // Contributing Writer | Photo by Anna Wolf // Flickr
MTSU held the “Erasing the Stains of Colorism” discussion in the Student Union Building Tuesday night as part of their annual Black History Month celebration.
Joshua Jackson, a junior majoring in theatre at MTSU, performed a one-man skit in which he played a professor, who represented the thoughts of society, and both light and dark-skinned men who shared their own perspectives on the color of their skin.
“I had a book to read about colorism in my African American Studies course one semester and I just fell in love with it,” Jackson said. “In that same year, ironically, I had a class about how to create a one-man show. I was so impacted by the topic of colorism that I wanted to do a show on colorism (it?).”
During the discussion, Jackson gave examples supporting the argument that any word associated with the word “black” is considered negative.
“We don’t say whitemail, we say blackmail, right? I mean we wear black to funerals, but white to weddings. It’s even considered bad luck if a black cat crosses your path. The question is who decided that everything that’s black is bad and white is good?” Jackson said.
The discussion continued with a video clip of a recreation by Kira Davis of Dr. Kenneth Clark’s historic “doll test,” originally conducted in the 1940s. This experiment would eventually lead to the desegregation of schools in the 1950s.
MTSU student, Kellie Whitaker, a junior majoring in Integrated Studies, discussed the problems that she and other people have encountered when talking about race.
“As a dark-skinned girl I can talk about how people always make fun of me and tell me I’m mean and angry, but at the same time you have to think about ‘light skins’ who say that people don’t even consider them black 90 percent of the time,” said Whitaker.
“Erasing the Stain of Colorism” was sponsored by MTSU Intercultural and Diversity Affairs.