Week 5: A Community Issue – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 5: A Community Issue

The article I picked for this week’s blog was about feelings towards actor Jesse Williams’ speech, made at the 2016 BET awards this past Sunday. Mr. Williams delivered a beautiful, yet honest acceptance speech on systemic oppression and white privilege. He said what most black Americans feel, but don’t have the platform to have said.While everyone in the Microsoft theater was with him, later on in the evening the leeches and critics of the world had something to say.

The article I read proposed the idea that some black Americans felt that since, Jesse, a light-skinned, mixed-race man who plays on the hit show Greys Anatomy has no authority to speak on black oppression. This is a classic case of colorism. Now, there is no secret that light-skinned people have faired much better than their darker-skinned counterparts. Never the less, this doesn’t take anything away from his platform.

One of the authors cited in the article makes the point that just because we are different shades, doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to speak up against barriers set upon us. Mr. Williams, just like every other black person in America has a right to speak their mind when it comes to racism they may face.

As a community, we have to get out of this light-skin versus dark-skin idea. We are one race and until we can unify under our commonality, I don’t think we can expect change. No one person is better than the other, and that goes for any race. Colorism is a practice that we need to leave in the past. After all, it was a mechanism used to divided us in the first place.



1 thought on “Week 5: A Community Issue”

  1. Great post Sydney! Jesse Williams speech was great and your insightful reading of your article does a great job at tackling the issue of colorism within the African American community.

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