Hello Meltingpot Readers,
If you’re regulars here, then you know I’m working on a book called Same Family, Different Colors that explores colorism in the United States. I’ve been working on the book for quite a while now, and have been completely immersed in the world of colorism, so much so, I didn’t think anything could shock me when it came to color-based discrimination. But I was wrong.
A colleague told me today about a case of the color wars that had me shaking my head and sucking my teeth. For real. Not only was I shocked by what he told me, I was shocked that the incident hadn’t come up in all of my research for this book. I guess my Google alert doesn’t capture all.
In a nutshell, the popular African-American radio host, Tom Joyner hosted a Caribbean cruise this past spring where one of the planned events was a massive water gun fight where guests were split into two teams. Yep, you guessed it, TeamLightSkin vs TeamDarkSkin. For the record, TeamLightSkin won. What was most shocking about this color based competition is that it wasn’t the first time it was held. Apparently Joyner has some sort of TeamLightSkin vs TeamDarkSkin battle every year on the cruise. Reportedly, this is his way to make light of a very dark situation. (Puns intended.) I guess he’s trying to normalize the conflict between African-Americans on either end of the color spectrum by openly pitting the two extremes against each other.
I’m not sure I believe in this type of healing. When you consider the ubiquity of social media, where images are shared without context, one could easily assume that Joyner, who is himself melanin challenged, was simply fanning the flames of conflict between these two groups. So, despite his good intentions, if I were him, I might rethink this act of subversive, reverse psychology. Instead, I’d retire the TeamLightSkin vs TeamDarkSkin labeling and instead support TeamAllShadesofBlack.
What do you think dear readers? Is Joyner doing the right thing with these annual battles? If the people participating on these cruises don’t mind, should I? I’d love to hear your thoughts.