On Monday, March 13, 2017 we (UofMosaic Fellows at McGill) partnered with McGill Women in Leadership Students’ Association to host the second segment of our 2-part panel discussion series on colourism. The panel explored how the theme of colourism is presented within the
Latin American, South Asian, North African and Anglo-Caribbean diasporic contexts.
Our four guest speakers, Lidoly Chávez Guerra, Leah Paul, Leslie Nikole and Malek Yalaoui, coming from diverse backgrounds rallied together to highlight the importance of challenging systemic racism and colourism. They did so by reframing the ways in which we acknowledge intersectionality and practice transformative solidarity within our individual communities.
While discussing the nature of colourism, Malek Yalaoui stated the primary importance of understanding the political reality of anti-Blackness is that colourism and anti-Blackness both stem from the foundation of white supremacy. As a result, we as global citizens hold a great responsibility to fight not only racism but also internalized racism and the very notion that paleness and whiteness equate to prestige and superiority, especially amongst people of colour.
Throughout our Q&A session, the speakers and attendees discussed that colourism is not simply a discussion on discrimination regarding shades of skin tone but also inextricably intersects with other structural systems, such as gender, social class, ability and ethnicity. Consequently, by exploring the varying aspects and degrees of discrimination, fostering further dialogues, and allowing people of colour to stand together in solidarity, only then are we able to join together as allies and create progressive and concrete outcomes. We hope that the panel was able to help gain exposure of and foster an inclusive dialogue pertaining to anti-racism and anti-blackness.
We thank The Mosaic Institute, the attendees, the speakers and McGill Women in Leadership Students’ Association for allowing us to host this event.
Blog written by UofMosaic Fellows at McGill (Keira Kang, Mayumi Sato, Serisha Iyar and Helen Ogundeji)