Tag Archives: Colorism

A New Toni Morrison Story…

Is on the horizon and I’m besides myself with anticipation. I love Ms. Morrison, she uses fiction to explore truth in a way no one else does. Her perspectives are always insightful, peerless and masterpieces that excavate and explore the human heart in all it’s complexity. No mean feat.

Here’s an excerpt from her upcoming book, God Help The Child, courtesy of the New Yorker:

It’s not my fault. So you can’t blame me. I didn’t do it and have no idea how it happened. It didn’t take more than an hour after they pulled her out from between my legs for me to realize something was wrong. Really wrong. She was so black she scared me. Midnight black, Sudanese black. I’m light-skinned, with good hair, what we call high yellow, and so is Lula Ann’s father. Ain’t nobody in my family anywhere near that color. Tar is the closest I can think of, yet her hair don’t go with the skin. It’s different—straight but curly, like the hair on those naked tribes in Australia. You might think she’s a throwback, but a throwback to what? You should’ve seen my grandmother; she passed for white, married a white man, and never said another word to any one of her children. Any letter she got from my mother or my aunts she sent right back, unopened. Finally they got the message of no message and let her be. Almost all mulatto types and quadroons did that back in the day—if they had the right kind of hair, that is. Can you imagine how many white folks have Negro blood hiding in their veins? Guess. Twenty per cent, I heard. My own mother, Lula Mae, could have passed easy, but she chose not to. She told me the price she paid for that decision. When she and my father went to the courthouse to get married, there were two Bibles, and they had to put their hands on the one reserved for Negroes. The other one was for white people’s hands. The Bible! Can you beat it? My mother was a housekeeper for a rich white couple. They ate every meal she cooked and insisted she scrub their backs while they sat in the tub, and God knows what other intimate things they made her do, but no touching of the same Bible.

For full text click here. You’re Welcome.

Great precursor to my upcoming piece on Colorism….

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Opinion: Black Americans Must Embrace True Colors

Professor Tiya Miles, University of MichiganExcellent piece on colorism and African American culture and identity. Good enough to earn my favorite accolade, “It speaks volumes” 🙂

In America

Editor’s note: Historian and author Tiya Miles is a professor at the University of Michigan’s Afroamerican and African Studies department and a 2011 MacArthur genius award recipient.

By Tiya Miles, Special to CNN

(CNN) — In the documentary film “Black Indians,” a man who appears to be African-American recounts his delight at eliciting shocked looks from strangers when he launches into a conversation with his wife in the Cherokee language.

The man who tells this story is Cherokee as well as black and a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. His is just one among thousands of examples that show diversity has always been a core aspect of African-American identity.

That diversity has been rich — from the moment when Africans from different tribes, cultures and language groups were captured as slaves and transported to North America to the present day, when African-Americans live in various regions and intermarry with…

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