quote of the day: colorism

The best thing I’ve done recently is subscribe to the Anti-Racism Daily newsletter. IT’S SO GOOD. Dooooo it!!!! I’m learning so much about racism. Like this stat about colorism from yesterday’s email:

Directly. Proportional. WTF.

Daphni’s piece also links to an article in Quartz that breaks it down:

Again. WTF. Very dark-skinned Black people have a TWO OUT OF THREE likelihood of being arrested. THAT IS FUCKED UP.

The piece calls out Netflix for the colorism in Indian Matchmaking and how many of the single people want a partner who’s “fair.” (Fair as in light-skinned, not fair as in just.) I’m guilty of thinking “fair” is just another word for “lovely,” and that’s the problem–beauty shouldn’t be equated with whiteness. Light skin should NOT be considered more beautiful or desirable than dark skin.

And that’s not being “too PC” or “too easily offended.” Colorism clearly has very tangible effects, costing Black people (and particularly very dark-skinned Black people) their futures.

I hope in the future I pay more attention when I see Black people represented at work, on magazine covers, in positions of power–how dark is their skin? (None of this Zoe Saldana wearing darker makeup to play Nina Simone bullshit.)

Colorism and racism aren’t amorphous, indefinable abstractions. Their existence is not up for debate, nor are they political issues. They steal years and decades of people’s lives (NPR: Black People Are Wrongly Convicted Of Murder More Often, Data Show) and all too often people’s lives entirely.

More on race-based wrongful convictions from the University of Michigan (click to enlarge):

#StopPACT and tell Enterprise to stop enabling human rights violations

Peaceful protestors in Portland are getting pulled off the street into unmarked, rented Enterprise vans by people in camo who won’t identify themselves. THIS IS SOME FREAKY SHIT.

It’s the work of Trump’s newly formed PACT, Protecting American Communities Task Force, which exists to protect statues and monuments, not people. Seriously? We have cops murdering Black people and COVID spreading because idiots won’t wear masks and the most important thing to protect is MONUMENTS?!

One tiny thing to do is tell Enterprise they suck for enabling this behavior.

I just emailed Enterprise and here’s an excellent email template I found on Twitter.

You can also sign this petition urging Enterprise to cut ties with PACT.


This is terrifying.

white silence is violence


Awhile ago, I started writing a blog post titled, “All white people are racist.” A friend had recommended So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, and it really opened my eyes. Like so many ignorant white people, I hadn’t realized before that we white Americans exist in a racist system. We’re taught to be racist. We ARE racist. And getting defensive and insulted about that is soooo not the point. The point is to own my privilege, recognize my racism, and do the work to be actively anti-racist.

I never published that blog post.

I went back and forth. It seemed important. It also seemed angry. Shouldn’t I stick to happy fluffy stuff, like collages and gifs and inspirational quotes? I didn’t want to be offputting, have people think I was an angry feminist or ~ social justice warrior ~.

FUCK THAT. That was a big mistake. I’m sorry for my silence. Black people don’t have the luxury of deciding, nope, I don’t want to think about race today. I’m going to do better by:

It feels weird to put that out there, like I’m bragging, but I want to commit and hold myself accountable. Silence isn’t an option anymore.

fashion distraction

“What’s out of fashion now is the schedule of the entire system: the shows, the showrooms, the orders.”

Anthony Vaccarello, creative director at Saint Laurent

runway pics via NYT; collages by moi

It’s probably frivolous to even be thinking about fashion right now, but for me, it’s been a welcome distraction from the depressing-as-fuck state of the world: friends losing their jobs, (more) racially motivated murders by police (and others), America’s worst president (enabled by a chickenshit social media platform), and an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness.

It’s a privilege and a luxury to be able to step back from all that for a second and look at pretty pictures. Color cheers me up, if only for a moment. And it’s a tiny consolation that COVID-19 just might be changing the fashion industry for the better.

For one thing, gender lines are continuing to blur. It’s slowly becoming more acceptable to be nonbinary, and fashion designers are starting to make more unisex clothes. So people are realizing that maaaybe it’s unnecessary to have different men’s and women’s lines, shown in different months. According to the NYT:

On Monday [May 25], Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, held a video news conference to announce that the brand will reduce the number of shows it holds each year from five to two…He also wants to do away with the distinction between men’s wear and women’s wear, and the traditional appellations of fall/winter and spring/summer.

Woot!! Gucci is also launching a genderless section of its website, the NYT says in the same article. Hopefully others will follow.

Another way the fashion industry should change, IMO? Lose the snooty exclusivity and promotion of rapid consumption. (Remember “Don’t stomp your little last-season Prada shoes at me, honey!” from Legally Blonde?) It’s such an elitist, rich-person world, even without shaming people for wearing something that–gasp!–came out last month. Thankfully, the lines between seasons might blur, in addition to gender divides. InStyle predicts, “Fashion trends will slow down…Designers including Donatella Versace, Rick Owens, and Guram Gvasalia of Vetements have indicated they are looking forward to slowing down and creating seasonless clothes.” (Besides, with climate change, every season is summer! 😬)

Speaking of climate change, that’s another reason the fashion industry should reinvent itself right now. Excess is never a good look, but particularly when resources are becoming more scarce AND SO MANY PEOPLE ARE JOBLESS. Rather than using child labor and oil-based materials like acrylic and polyester, we need quality clothes that are designed to last, made ethically, and priced somewhat reasonably (like Everlane, only cuter and more colorful). CGTN thinks consumers are ready: “During the crisis, many customers have been shopping more consciously and thinking about ethical aspects of their shopping experience–a shift in consumer mindset expected to accelerated by the pandemic.”

Teen Vogue says that there’s also been an uptick in online secondhand shopping (GOOD!). Thrift stores and vintage shops are where it’s at (or, uh, they will be once they reopen, if they aren’t closed forever?! #shoplocal). Maybe fast fashion is finally losing its luster.

Who knows? Call me Pollyanna, but maybe something good will come out of our current disasters: changed consumers and fashion designers alike.