“There is no greater evidence of how tragic things are for dark-skinned women in Hollywood than the fact that they can’t even get hired to play dark-skinned women.”—
Marc Lamont Hill on the casting of Nina Simone
Because this sentence breaks my heart while filling me with joy. Because dark-skinned women are creating our own work and need not be left to a “Hollywood” standard. Because we stand on the backs of those who came before and serve as a bridge for those who follow.
White supremacy is the “ethnic” section of the hair aisle. It’s the “African-American” section of the bookstore that’s mostly romance novels for some reason. It’s the prison-industrial complex. It’s Angelina Jolie as Cleopatra.
It’s the fact that most of the wealth and power in the western world sits squarely in the hands of white people. It’s any part of society that treats white as the default and everything else as “other.”
White supremacy is a holdover from the days of colonialism and slavery, but it’s been largely upheld by people who either pretend it’s not there, consciously sustain it, or reinforce it to survive. Respectability politics falls in the latter category.