Cal State Fullerton’s Sistertalk closed out Black History Month with a discussion about colorism and cultural appropriation in the WoMen’s Center on Wednesday.
Shaqreua George, Sistertalk discussion facilitator, had members write down issues they’ve experienced, or are still a experiencing on pieces of paper.
George then led the discussion by addressing each issue written down. Some of the issues discussed during the meeting included the Black Lives Matter movement, embracing natural hair in society, Rachel Dolezal, colorism and cultural appropriation.
Kylie Jenner was brought up in the discussion about cultural appropriation. Taylor Thornton, CSUF senior, expressed how Kylie Jenner is often excused from cultural appropriation from the black community because of who she is and her association with the Kardashian family.
“She perpetuates black female bodies without a black female body and then makes money off of it,” Thornton said. “She’s making money off the features you (women of color) already have, the features we are looked down for and were deemed not beautiful because of it.”
George expressed that gender and race are equally important markers in a woman’s identity.
The controversial story of Dolezal sparked a discussion about finding identity in being a woman of color. Dolezal is a white American woman who tanned to a darker shade and styled her hair like a black woman because she identified as African-American. Dolezal was “uncovered” when her biological parents told the press she was born white, which led to her being fired from jobs in Spokane, Washington and also forced her to resign from her position in the NAACP.
“It’s understandable to see that she did stay with the black struggle while pretending to be black,” Thornton said.
Colorism was an issue women often touched throughout the session. Freshman Jordan Morales, who is Mexican and Salvadorian, shared that she is often asked why her skin color is lighter and not a darker tone.
Another member shared about being called an Oreo in high school because of her skin color.
George then emphasized that colorism often focuses on the marginalized dark-skinned women in contrast to lighter-skinned women.
“When we saw that colorism affected Hispanic people, biracial people and black people, we realized that one of the things we need to do in the future is to more so stick together rather than separate ourselves,” George said.
George hopes to expand Sistertalk with the Asian Pacific American Resource Center, Chicana & Chicano Resource Center and Titan Dreamers Resource Center.
“I feel like we need to be intermingling more because we’re all minority groups and we all have the same problems,” George said. “Why aren’t we talking more together?”