Light, Bright and Damned Near White is a documentary investigating colorism which is discrimination based on skin color within an ethnic group. In my many-shaded family, we always called it color-struck. Let’s put it this way. My great-grandmother who was described as black as an iron skillet chided her pregnant cafe-au-lait-skinned granddaughter (my mother) when she caught her drinking chocolate milk since it might make the baby (me) dark. Wow. She meant well. Darker skinned people often feel that they receive harsher discrimination. Though I’m light, I feel I’ve certainly gotten my share and always rolled my eyes at this notion that I had it any easier. Still, according to Light, Bright and Damned Near White, lighter skinned immigrants tend to have incomes 8-15% higher than dark skinned immigrants with similar characteristics.

This video goes into the tension within the black community but also takes a look at colorism within other ethnicities (Indian subcontinent, Latino, etc). My own theory is that colorism is both a reflection of larger social racial tension turned in on itself in addition to deep discomfort with the reality of multi-racial identities within groups. It’s also dumb. Bigotry comes in more than one color, y’all.

Set your Tivo to see Light, Bright Damn Near White documentary clips and an interview with one of the directors, CC Stinson currently airing on TVOne Access . The topic of this month’s episode is “Black is (Still) Beautiful” in hollywood. A whole segment was devoted to the issue of Colorism and several clips from the film were used to help explain this phenomenon. And take a look at the blog at

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