Conversations on Colorism: Looked at Further

– Wayne Kelly (Defiance, OH)

The Black Action Student Association, commonly referred to as BASA, is an organization here on the Defiance College campus that aims to help bridge racial, cultural, and ethnic gaps between students. The club is open to anyone regardless of their background.

Recently, BASA held an event in Hubbard Hall entitled “Conversations on Colorism.” This event was an open forum format with panel type discussion surrounding issues of colorism on a national and global scale. Colorism is defined as “a prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.”

“This event was an opportunity for me to learn and experience colorism from the perspectives of other students on a topic I knew nothing about” said student George Roth, who was a member of the five person panel among Defiance College faculty and staff.

During the event’s discussion several topics relating to colorism were introduced to the audience made up of about 20 students. Panelists stressed the idea that colorism stems as far back as the Atlantic slave trade. Largely many people in society have been programmed to believe that lighter skin equals superiority.

Sophomore student Amoy Russell gave deep input on the issue that is colorism. Amoy remarked that “the view on colorism has changed over the years but is still alive and well among various ethnic groups today” among a host of other opinions regarding the topic.

The audience was receptive of the information and perspectives given on colorism. Overall there were positive vibes that fostered an environment to learn and speak honestly about disagreements or thoughts about the cultural and internal effects of colorism.

Faculty advisor for BASA Mercedes Clay took away from the conversation an interesting perspective. She said “societal concerns about color is more about power and who controls it and less about appreciating the individual beauty of each person.”

BASA meets in the Hubbard conference room located in Hubbard Hall from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on select Tuesday nights.

For questions contact Wayne Kelly (co-Vice President of BASA) at

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