Colorism is the principle that people with lighter or fairer skin are treated with a higher consideration than those with darker skin that is observed between racial communities and within racial communities. There is a fine line between colorism and racism. Racism is the discrimination between people based on their perceived racial status. Colorism is based on people with the same race, differing in skin tone. The concept of colorism it not widely addressed through mainstream media, yet colorism is alive and in dominating in most formerly colonized countries. It emerged throughout European colonial and imperial history, because of the connotation that lighter skin is better, roots directly from the use of Africans as slaves during the European expansion. European colonialism in the United States and throughout the world, created a system of white supremacy and racist ideology, which led to a structure of social hierarchy that gives implicit privileges to lighter skin over darker skin.
The concept of colorism is taught from a young age, children pick up on it subconsciously; they learn to identify, categorize and stereotype their peers based on skin tone to determine the worth of others. Different cultures push different perceptions in regard to skin color and the recognition of the biases are complicated due to the deep legacy and influence of skin-color preference in different parts of the world. The understanding of skin color also originates from representation in television and movie industries, which prefer casting lighter skinned people.
The association of dark skin with criminality has become one of the most prominent and deep-seated misconceptions in American society. Numerous studies have proven that dark-skinned people are distinguished to be more suspicious, more likely to commit crimes by the mass. This stereotype forces darker complexions to engage in color-conscious discourse, where they only face situations based on their skin color and how people react to their skin color. They also have to navigate different racial expectations based on external reactions to their appearances. Therefore, people of the same ethnicity face different expectations, and perhaps different educational and economic outcomes, solely based on their skin color and the judgement of their skin color.