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He also attended Wallace's cocktail party in " Cocktails ", and was seen in " Launch Party " trying to see if his branch's camera was working. He was one of the company leaders who attended Ryan's wilderness retreat, along with Toby and not the pointedly un-invited Michael Scott. It is announced in " Company Picnic " that the Buffalo branch is closing due to the terrible recession hitting the U.

He resents Jan, and his relationship with Michael is soured when they argue over their opinions of Jan. Craig tries to save face by leaking Michael's relationship between the two in front of David Wallace. Michael later jokes that Craig "is not the sharpest tool in the shed" in an attempt to defend Jan. In " Survivor Man ", Craig is not invited on Ryan's Regional Manager retreat or otherwise mentioned, possibly meaning that he no longer works in that position. In a deleted scene from " Stress Relief ", it is mentioned that the Albany branch is closing, which confirms that Craig has been fired from the company.

Troy L. Underbridge Noel Petok is a corporate executive who works in banking, and is notorious for encouraging Ryan's partying and cocaine abuse. Due to his short height, Dwight is convinced that he is actually a hobbit. Troy first appears in " The Deposition ", and reappears, with a more pivotal role, in the episode " Night Out ".

In a deleted scene, from " Goodbye, Toby ", he arrives at the Scranton branch, but is reluctant to reveal why he came instead of Ryan; Jim is eager to deliver an unfriendly message to Ryan via Troy, but Troy says that he now reports to Wallace instead of Ryan, and Jim asks "What is going on? After the YouTube video of Ryan being arrested for fraud is discovered, Troy is asked if he has any information on the arrest, but merely states, "Maybe I do". He is later seen in Michael's film, Threat Level Midnight , in the episode of the same name , playing one of Goldenface's henchmen.

His middle initial is revealed on the Threat Level Midnight website, [30] which is supposed to be read like " troll under bridge". Since he worked for the Dunder Mifflin corporate office, it is presumed that he was fired from the company, along with all of the other corporate executives, after Dunder Mifflin was bought out by Sabre. However, Troy later resurfaces in " Junior Salesman " as one of the bizarro job applicants applying for a part-time sales position at the Scranton branch. Troy exhibits strange behavior along with the rest of the group, such as shotgunning a soda during lunch.

He is later seen in a group paintball photo, raising the finger to Dwight when it's revealed that Dwight's interviewing of the applicants was just a ruse to keep Clark from getting the job and joining them in letting Dwight know they permanently hated his guts. Kendall John Hartmann is the Human Resources representative for corporate. He was mentioned in the episode " The Job ", during Jim's interview, by David Wallace, who called him an "irritating HR guy", and informed Jim that Kendall will probably be the only person that Jim will not like, mirroring Michael's dislike of Toby.

In " Business Ethics ", when Holly learns that Meredith is trading sexual favors for supply discounts, Kendall not only is not upset by the news, but believes that Meredith is doing the company a good turn, and angrily tells Holly that she has failed to just get the review forms signed, and tells her that if she cannot do that, then they will need another discussion. Given Kendall's authority over Holly, it is reasonable to assume that he is not merely the HR representative for the Corporate office but a more senior HR representative, possibly the department head.

Kendall makes his first on-screen appearance in " Stress Relief ", and appears again in " Company Picnic ," in which he and Toby talk about past Human Resources stories, showing a similar personality to Toby. Since he was the corporate HR representative, it is presumed that he lost his job or was transferred out of New York to a new Sabre branch that needed its own HR person on hand.


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Thomas "Tom" Peets , according to the episode, " Performance Review ", was a former Dunder Mifflin accountant, who worked at the Scranton branch. Apparently, Tom had depression, and eventually shot himself. In a DVD extra, from the fourth season DVD set, the writers revealed that by setting Tom's suicide one year prior to the discovery of his note, they realized that the suicide would have been the day before Ryan was hired as a temporary worker , thus making Ryan Tom's replacement.

Sadiq Omi Vaidya does tech support. First appearing in " E-mail Surveillance ", he is sent by management to teach Michael how to monitor office email. Sadiq attends Jim's barbecue to the consternation of Michael, who wasn't invited and still doesn't appear to trust Sadiq's motives. In " Fun Run ", Sadiq cleans a computer virus from Pam 's computer. He is a Sikh but resents being only classified by his religion, telling a meeting during "Fun Run" that he likes listening to hip hop and National Public Radio , and is restoring a Corvette.

Dwight tells Sadiq's angrily departing successor Nick that they liked Sadiq for two reasons: he kept to himself, and they were afraid to cross him because they thought he might actually be a terrorist. He ultimately quits his job in the sixth-season finale , in order to join Teach for America in Detroit, but, after the employees once again misremember who he is, and Dwight insults him, he tells off the entire staff for their poor treatment of him and for not even having the common courtesy to just take the time to remember his name.

He vengefully reveals a number of personal secrets that various office members have kept hidden on their computers, and gives everyone "the finger " as he leaves. The reason behind Nick's departure was due to Franklin leaving the show in order to star on the short-lived television series Traffic Light , which also starred Office veteran David Denman.

Frank Brad William Henke is a truculent and unruly warehouse worker, who defaces Pam's mural by painting lewd pictures on it, in the episode " Vandalism ". Pam initially tries to be civil and talk things out with him, along with Toby and Nellie, but Frank is very disrespectful towards them and does not apologize for what he did, as they have no authority over him. Pam and Dwight then take revenge by painting childish pictures on his beloved truck albeit with washable paint.

Frank, incensed by the payback, later confronts Pam in the parking lot, where he show signs that he is going to physically assault her. Before he has the chance, however, Brian, the documentary crew's boom mic operator, breaks protocol and intervenes by hitting the warehouse employee across the face with his mic. The two end up in a scuffle, but Frank is restrained by two other documentarians.

In the end, the audience learns that both Frank and Brian have been terminated from Dunder Mifflin and the documentary, respectively. The first three listed above quit almost immediately, because of Michael's management methods and other office problems. Karen stays for the remainder of the third season, but eventually transfers to the Utica branch after Jim breaks up with her. In the season 7 finale " Search Committee : Part 2", Jim, Toby and Gabe interview several applicants for the position that had been held by Michael Scott and briefly filled by Deangelo Vickers. The applicants included Andy, Dwight, Kelly, and Darryl; Nellie Bertram , who was not hired but was later placed in a different position at Sabre; Robert California , who was offered the position and accepted it, only to immediately quit to become CEO of Sabre; and the following others.

Angela's sister, "Rachel," also makes an appearance in the finale for Angela's bachelorette party. He is portrayed as an attentive and dedicated husband who is deeply in love with Phyllis. During the wedding episode, Phyllis mentions "baby mama drama" because Bob's other family from Ho Chi Minh City is coming in, but this has not been mentioned otherwise.

In the 2nd episode of the Outburst webisodes, Oscar mentioned that Bob had been indicted by a grand jury. However, Phyllis states that all the charges were dropped after none of the witnesses showed up.

List of The Office (American TV series) characters - Wikipedia

Jones, Bill Cress and Paul Faust convene to resolve a dispute over the parking lot brought before them by Kevin and Andy. In " Goodbye, Toby " Bob attends the going away party for Toby and in a deleted scene is shown giving Phyllis a large sum of cash so that her debut as head of the Party Planning Committee will be a success. In " Blood Drive ", he refers to Michael, Dwight, and Andy as "that jackass", "that other jackass" and "that new jackass" respectively. Jim is confused about what Bob would do at first, but appears mildly alarmed when Phyllis recants, "Never mind, I shouldn't have said that".

Uncle Al is Phyllis' uncle who appears in " Phyllis' Wedding ", where Dwight mistakes him for a wedding crasher. Hank Tate Hugh Dane , also known as Hank the security guard , is head of security at the office park. Hank is quiet and stern, and unenthusiastically carries out his duties from his desk at the front door of the office park. Since Dwight purchased the building, Hank's duties have expanded to include running the ramshackle coffee counter that was installed in the lobby.

He is first seen sitting at his desk as Michael exits the building at the end of " Halloween ". In " Night Out ", Jim forgets to let Hank know that the office workers would be working late and Hank locks them and their cars behind the parking lot's gate. Unsure of Hank's name, Jim calls Hank's number on Toby's cell phone to ask him to come and unlock the gate. The other office workers realize that they never tipped Hank last Christmas Jim forgot to collect it and Hank will probably not come help them. Later, the Scranton Business Park cleaning crew arrives to unlock the gate, and Hank arrives some time later to find everyone had left without notifying him.

When Toby Flenderson leaves the office at the end of Season 4, Michael brings Hank to escort him out, to Toby's annoyance. He plays the guitar in " Crime Aid " while selling CD's to help repay for the robbery; he uses the stage name "Hank Doyle". Hank is also called upon by Michael to decide what the Dunder Mifflin staff should do with extra money in " The Surplus " but is abruptly dismissed after not being able to make a quick decision. During " Two Weeks ", Hank is ordered by Charles Miner to physically remove Michael from the office, which becomes slightly awkward for Hank.

William "Billy" Merchant Marcus A. York is the property manager of Scranton Business Park, the office park in which the Dunder-Mifflin Scranton branch office is located. Billy is physically disabled , and has used a wheelchair since the age of four. Throughout his appearances, he is seen as a calm and professional man, and seems to disregard Michael's immaturity and rudeness, while still extending generosity to him.

He first appears in " The Injury ", where, after Michael burns his foot on a George Foreman Grill , he invites Billy to the office to speak about being disabled, only for Michael to offend him with his remarks, causing Billy to leave. As he is departing from the office, he also informs Jim that Dwight might have a serious concussion. Billy reappears in the episode " Casino Night ", attending the event of the same name, with his girlfriend, whom Michael mistakes for his nurse.

In " Initiation ", it is revealed that, once a year, he arranges for a pretzel cart to be brought into the lobby of the Scranton Business Park to give away free pretzels, "as a thank-you for [the] loyal tenants". In " Fun Run ", he participates in Michael's fun run , and eventually surpasses Michael, later in the race. In " Dream Team ", he assists Michael in setting up an office which is essentially a janitorial closet for his new paper company. Billy is neither mentioned nor seen after Dwight purchased the building at end of Season 6.

Billy shares his last name with original series co-creator Stephen Merchant. The two first appear in a deleted scene from " Halloween ", where they attempt to gain the attention of the camera crew, while riding in an elevator with Michael, [62] and reappear in " Valentine's Day ", where they deliver Phyllis' Valentine's Day gifts from Bob Vance, [63] and, in a deleted scene, flirt with Pam. In " Frame Toby ", they con Michael out of dollars by selling him what he believes to be marijuana , but what is actually a bag of Caprese salad.

In " The Carpet ", Jim leaves her a voicemail, in which he asks her out on a date.

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In a deleted scene from " Drug Testing ", she calls Jim back. However, as he is jinxed by Pam, he cannot answer. In a talking-head interview, he writes on a piece of paper, "She'll call back". Vikram Ranjit Chowdhry is a sales representative who worked with Michael at the Lipophedrine diet pill telemarketing company. Vikram is Indian and claims he was a surgeon back in India. He is a wise and diligent worker, seen winning the sales bonus at the telemarketing company and concerned about losing prime selling hours during his brief membership in the Michael Scott Paper Company.

He is first seen in the episode " Money " when Michael tries telemarketing at night to earn extra income. He is friendly towards Michael, sharing his dinners and giving him good advice. Michael later recruits Vikram to work in his own company in " Dream Team " only to have Vikram give up on the idea and return to his job after finding out how ill-conceived Michael's plan was.

Brown is later seen in " Gay Witch Hunt ", giving the Stamford branch the same diversity training he gave the Scranton Branch; he alludes to incidents at the Scranton branch as the reason he is in Stamford. Elizabeth Jackie Debatin is a stripper who was hired by Dwight as the "entertainment" at Bob Vance's bachelor party in " Ben Franklin "; after both Bob and Michael refuse to accept lap dances from her, Dwight has her sit at Oscar's vacant desk to answer phones for the day. When Michael feels bad about betraying Jan, he asks Elizabeth referring to her as " stripper " whether he should tell her.

She replies, "Secret secrets are no fun, secret secrets hurt someone". When the office needs a medical person to receive a check for the proceeds of their fund-raiser, Elizabeth is hired to come back dressed as a "nurse" and receive Michael's check to help cure rabies during the Season 4 opener, " Fun Run ". She is later seen flirting with Darryl. She returns in the series finale as the stripper at Dwight's bachelor party, where Dwight confuses her for a waitress. Fern Widgale portrayed by Office showrunner , writer and series developer Greg Daniels is Michael's snippety neighbor who resides in a condominium near Michael's former one.

He appears in a deleted scene from the episode " Office Olympics ", where he encounters Michael and Dwight, and is perturbed by Michael's personality. When asked what his profession is, he replies that he sells yarn , something which Michael and Dwight cannot help laughing at. In a Office Comic Con panel, it was revealed that Fern is gay, as writer Lester Lewis stated that he portrayed the character's boyfriend, but his part was cut.

Dan Bakkedahl , and Roger Jr. In " Prince Family Paper ", David Wallace asks Michael to investigate Prince Paper; when Michael visits the company, posing as a potential customer, the remarkably kind and overly trusting family gives him a list of their best clients to use as a reference, which Dwight eventually coerces Michael to send to David Wallace. Brandon Jerry Minor is Val's boyfriend. Brandon owns his own restaurant, and is prone to extreme agitation and jealously if he thinks someone is attempting to court Val.

He is first introduced in " Special Project ", when he calls Darryl asking for the address of the Warehouse, so that he may send flowers to his girlfriend. However, Val later tells Darryl that the flowers were from her mother, despite him pointing out the caller had had a deep voice and said his name was Brandon, possibly indicating that Val is interested in Darryl.

Brandon makes his first appearance in " After Hours ", where he arrives at the office and accuses Darryl of having an affair with Val, after having read Darryl's text messages to her, although Val eventually convinces him there is nothing going on between her and Darryl. Brandon reappears in " Free Family Portrait Studio ", where he visits Val at the Warehouse, and overhears Darryl talking positively about her. Once again, he accuses him of being interested in her, but this time, Darryl admits to pursuing her. Later in the episode, Val joins Darryl and his daughter when they are having their family portrait taken, and she takes his hand in hers, suggesting that she is leaving Brandon for him.

This is confirmed in the subsequent season, where she is shown to be dating Darryl. In " Crime Aid ", Justin bids in the warehouse auction and he can also be seen in " Goodbye, Michael ", exiting the elevator with a delivery man as Michael leaves The Office for the very last time. Megan Elvy Yost is a high school student, who appears in a deleted scene from the episode " Job Fair ", where she is interested in an internship at Dunder Mifflin, but turned away by Oscar, who is attempting to spare her from the presumed misery she would endure by working at the office. Deborah Shoshlefski April Eden was a model, of whom Michael became enamored, in the episode " Chair Model ", after seeing her in an office supply catalog.

Dwight tracks her down for him, but discovers that she is now deceased, having crashed her car into an airplane hangar while under the influence of cannabis. Michael is devastated by the news, and, wanting closure, later visits her gravesite along with Dwight which culminates with the two singing American Pie together long throughout the night and unintentionally dancing on her grave.

According to her tombstone , she was born in , and died in Tom Witochkin Greg Tuculescu is a former childhood friend of Jim's. He appears in " The Seminar ", attending Andy's seminar on starting a small business, where his presence causes Jim, who was originally one of the guest speakers, to abruptly pull out and spend all day outside of the office.

Pam later forces him to explain why he is acting so strange, and he reveals Tom's past friendship with him, and that he and Tom were placed in separate reading groups in school, with Jim being in the superior one. After his mother told him to spend time with his "smart" friends, Jim told Tom that his mother "thinks [he's] too dumb to hang out with". Jim eventually bumps into him in the break room, and attempts to laugh off their history, but Tom mocks Jim for not being as successful as his superior intellect would have indicated, and snarks "Where's your jet pack , Zuckerberg? George Howard Skub , nicknamed "The Scranton Strangler" by the media, is a serial killer who, as his moniker would suggest, strangles his victims.

Although never seen on-screen, he has been referred to several times, starting with the sixth season episode " The Delivery ", where a newspaper heading reads "The Scranton Strangler Strikes Again". In the opening of " Viewing Party ", the office staff are watching a live broadcast of a police chase of the Scranton Strangler, and they get excited when the cars pass by on the road in front of the office building. In " Classy Christmas ", Toby is chosen as a juror for the Scranton Strangler's trial, which forces him to take a leave of absence and results in Holly Flax being appointed his temporary replacement.

In " Michael's Last Dundies ", Toby states that the man he helped convict as the Scranton Strangler has been sentenced the death penalty, but he is starting to have second thoughts about whether or not he was actually guilty. He is not mentioned again until the ninth season Christmas episode " Dwight Christmas ", where Toby reveals that the name of the ostensible murderer, whom he still believes to be innocent. A few episodes later, however, in " Moving On ", after Nellie tells Toby to either do something about it or stop talking, he goes to see him in prison, and is nearly strangled, finally putting to rest the mystery of whether the right man was convicted.

The documentary film crew is a camera crew that has been filming the lives of the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch employees since the beginning of the series. Their presence has been met with widely different reactions and levels of comfort from the people they film, although, over the course of the series, the staff has gradually grown to accept the crew's presence as a part of their environment. The crew often intrudes on the personal lives of the office workers, such as filming at social or private events, and have been known to take rather extreme measures in order to capture footage, sometimes secretly filming the employees, even if they tell the crew that they do not want to be on camera.

While they mainly observe the action around them, the camera operators have, on occasion, intervened, such as when Pam asks one to alert her if they see any indications to suggest that Dwight and Angela are in a relationship, which the camera operator does, [75] or when the crew shows Jim and Pam recent footage of the two kissing, in order to elicit an explanation from them. The ninth-season premiere marked the first time the audience has heard one of them speak, as when Pam and Jim finish their interview outlining their summer, Pam brings up the crew's lengthy stay at the office, asking the cameraman "Don't you guys have everything?

I mean, it's just a paper company", to which the interviewer voiced by David Rogers replies "Well, we're more following you guys, to see how you turn out". During a Writer's Block Question and Answer session at The Office Convention, the writers half-jokingly suggested that the original reason for the camera crew filming the staff's lives was to see how the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch handled the suicide of a co-worker that employee being Tom Peets , but the crew changed its focus upon realizing that the daily events in the office would make a more captivating documentary.

Brian Chris Diamantopoulos was the film crew's boom operator. He has presumably been with them since they began filming, but was not seen until the episode " Customer Loyalty ", where he comforts a tearful Pam after a fight with Jim, ordering the cameras to be shut off while doing so. In the subsequent episode , Pam apologizes to him, as his actions caused him to be reprimanded by his superiors, although he tells her not to feel guilty about it. In " Vandalism ", Brian is fired from the documentary after breaking protocol and intervening by hitting the Warehouse worker Frank across the face with his mic when it appears that he is going to physically assault Pam.

Shortly after his termination, he tells Pam that, should she ever need anything, to just let him know, leaving her grateful, but confused. In " Couples Discount ", the Halperts plan to have lunch with him and his wife, Alyssa, to thank him for protecting Pam from Frank. When they arrive, they are surprised to be meeting only with Brian, who reveals that he is getting a divorce.

He reveals that he and his wife had been fighting for a while, but they realized it was over for them when they finally stopped. Tension is then created between Jim and Pam when the latter's emotional break down from a few weeks back is revealed to the former after Brian begins to get misty eyed and Pam comforts him, leading to him to joke about the two having to stop tearing up in front of one another. By the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, the northern economy began to shift to a more industrial base.

The southern economy became stagnant, which provided a strong impetus for black and white farm workers to consider moving north, where the jobs were. Southern blacks considered a move to the north as a step toward economic independence and a better life in a region of the country where they believed they might be treated more fairly.

In addition to the worsening southern economy, blacks were attracted to the north by the fact that during World War I, the United States began limiting the number of immigrants allowed in the country. This created a labor shortage in the north just at a time when the factories were expected to increase production to fulfill orders in support of the war effort. Companies that had rejected the idea of hiring blacks were forced to recruit them actively, even sending labor agents into the South to find workers and offer training in areas such as shipbuilding.

Soon, family members were returning to their southern homes from New York, Detroit, Chicago, and other urban centers, telling stories of better jobs and higher salaries. Between and , about half a million blacks moved to the North; roughly one million blacks made the trip in the s. However, during the first few decades of the twentieth century, the phrase denoted an African American who was politically astute, well educated, and proud of his cultural heritage—the very opposite of a slave.

Booker T. Washington's view of a New Negro was outlined in his book, A New Negro for a New Century and encompassed education, self-improvement, and self-respect. Locke believed that African-American writers and artists should participate in the leadership of their people and should be involved in showing white America a new vision of blacks as productive and creative forces to be reckoned with. The New Negro, in Locke's estimation, should be an African American who asserted himself or herself economically, politically, and.

Today: After closing in the s because African American acts had access to better-paying venues, the Apollo is now a national historic landmark owned by a nonprofit organization that books such international stars as Luther Vandross , B. King, hiphop artists, and unknown musical hopefuls seeking national exposure. Today: Popular black authors are no longer a novelty. Today: According to national hate crime statistics collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation , three racially motivated murders of African Americans and racially motivated aggravated assaults against African Americans occurred in the year In his role as the disseminator of the New Negro philosophy, Locke organized a series of traveling African- American art exhibits and helped launch a national black theater movement.

In the years immediately following World War I, relations between blacks and whites were strained. White war veterans returning to northern cities felt threatened by the increased population of blacks and their stronger economic position—at least when compared to the prewar years. Many blacks returned from the war wondering why, after fighting for their country and receiving commendations for their bravery from the French, they were still treated as second-class citizens at home.

Southerners sensed a heightened level of self-confidence among the blacks visiting their families from their jobs in northern cities. Economic pressures hit the general American population after the war when the government lifted price controls and unemployment and inflation rates jumped. During the summer and early fall of , 25 race riots erupted across the nation, in Chicago; Charleston, South Carolina ; Omaha, Nebraska; Washington, D. In the space of six weeks, 76 lynchings were reported; a dozen of the lynchings were perpetrated on black men still wearing their service uniforms.

Johnson coined the term "Red Summer" while investigating these incidents for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Racial tensions were exacerbated by the nation's postwar fear of the newly formed Bolshevik, or "red," regime in Russia. Many efforts by blacks to improve their economic and political status were met with white suspicions that they were as "radical" as the Russian Bolsheviks.

Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City, became the preeminent black urban enclave in the United States early in the twentieth century, when thousands of blacks migrated northward primarily from southern and rural regions.

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Previously, the area had been a wealthy white neighborhood, but economic hard times and skyrocketing real estate values at the start of the twentieth century created a situation in which clever entrepreneurs began leasing vacant rooms in white-owned buildings to black newcomers to the city. Harlem's black population in was about fifty thousand; by it had grown to two hundred thousand.

The neighborhood also attracted black intellectuals, artists, and others interested in participating in Harlem's increasingly vibrant cultural environment. Garvey and others energized Harlemites with their messages of black pride and self-sufficiency. Harlem also became an entertainment capital early in the century. Musical performers moved to Harlem, drawn by the atmosphere and the hundreds of nightclubs and other venues where the jazz sound was wildly popular.

But not only locals patronized the free-spirited nightclubs that began to give Harlem a wild reputation; whites from other parts of New York City "discovered" Harlem and made it the place to be on a Saturday night. Ironically, some of the nightclubs were off-limits to blacks, including the famous Cotton Club, until catering to a wealthy white clientele intent on experiencing the "exotic" Harlem atmosphere. The criticism on the Harlem Renaissance movement tends to focus on its impact on black literature and on the African-American community.

In fact, many critics, while acknowledging that the current energy in black literature and music does have its foundations at least partly in the Harlem Renaissance, hold that the movement came up short in terms of staying power. Andrea Stuart, writing in New Statesman , questions whether the Harlem Renaissance has had any lasting impact on the lives of ordinary black Americans.

But, "on the streets, where the great majority of black culture is made, its echoes are only faintly heard," she claims. Amritjit Singh notes in his book The Novels of the Harlem Renaissance: Twelve Black Writers that the artists involved in the Harlem Renaissance failed to develop a "black American school of literature" for a variety of reasons. The most critical reason, he argues, is that the artists themselves "reflect the spirit of the times in their refusal to join causes or movements" and were interested less in the societal problems of blacks than in their own individual problems.

Margaret Perry, in her book The Harlem Renaissance: An Annotated Bibliography and Commentary , generally agrees with this concept, noting that the writers of this period "failed to use their blackness to fullness and with total honesty in order to create that unique genre of American literature one called black or Afro-American.

While acknowledging the shortcomings of the Harlem Renaissance as noted by numerous current critics as well as by the era's participants, George E. Kent believes that the movement has still provided American literature with some very "fundamental" accomplishments. He argues in Black World that "the short story in the hands of [Jean] Toomer, Eric Waldron, and Langston Hughes became a much more flexible form," and that, while no Harlem Renaissance author created a truly new form of the novel, these writers did provide stories that "occasionally stopped just short of greatness.

Other readers of the period's literature have noted its influences. Kenneth R. Janken addresses the deep affection black intelligentsia had for French culture during the early part of the twentiethcenturyandhowthisbothcontributedtothe movement and prevented them from seeing the limitations of the French social model. He comments in The Historian that, while the Harlem Renaissance certainly was indebted to French intellectuals for much of its philosophy about racial equality and recognition of an African diaspora , it viewed the position of blacks in French society through rose-colored glasses.

Harlem Renaissance writers "could not thoroughly critique the French colonial system. Many critics have depicted the Harlem Renaissance as a period of great hope and optimism, but Daylanne K. English disagrees. In Critical Inquiry , he argues that, upon closer examination, the opposite is true. Nathan Huggins, in his well-respected book Harlem Renaissance , questions the exclusiveness of the movement to the nation's black population and posits that black and white Americans "have been so long and so intimately a part of one another's experience that, will it or not, they cannot be understood independently.

Locke's declaration of the New Negro reflected America's continuing fascination with remaking oneself and was, in truth, "a public relations promotion," Huggins asserts. African Americans had to be presented in a better light, in a way the majority of whites could accept and blacks themselves could internalize. Aderemi Bamikunle also examines how whites affected the work of Harlem Renaissance writers.

He asserts that the white connection with black writing has a long history, going back to the mids, when white abolitionists found and published black authors who would write "according to a particular genre," specifically, the slave narrative. Bamikunle points to the comments many black writers made during the Harlem Renaissance about the struggle to appeal to both a black and a white audience. The Harlem Renaissance was not an exclusively male event, and some critics have chosen to highlight black women's roles in the achievements of the period. While Cheryl Wall, writing in Women, the Arts, and the s in Paris an d New York , admits that no female black writer working during the s and s came close to the talent and skill exhibited by many of the era's leading male writers, she adds that black women "were doubly oppressed, as blacks an d as women, and they were highly aware of the degrading stereotypes commonly applied to them.

Sanderson holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction writing and is an independent writer. In this essay, Sanderson looks at how the Harlem Renaissance writers succeeded in creating a literature of pioneering. The literature of the Harlem Renaissance was produced by a generation of writers steeped in ideas illuminated most clearly by Howard University philosophy professor and intellectual Alain Locke.

Locke first referred to the concept of the New Negro in an article in the March issue of Survey Graphic , a special issue of the journal entitled Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro. In one of the issue's articles, which he expanded later that year into the introduction for his anthology of the best African-American writing, The New Negro: An Interpretation , Locke defines the New Negro as one who has thrown off the age-worn stereotypes of the subservient and docile black. For generations of white Americans, he notes, blacks have been "something to be argued about, condemned or defended, to be 'kept down,' or 'in his place, ' or 'helped up,'.

This was a tall order for barely more than a handful of people. The economic and social conditions of most black Americans at the turn of the century and after World War I were somewhere between deplorable and less-than-adequate. Though their work could not undo hundreds of years of racism and second-class status, the writers of the Harlem Renaissance did succeed in giving a voice to a generation of black pioneers: blacks who followed a grand American tradition by leaving impoverished and difficult conditions for the promise of a better life.

Their migratory route was within the United States, primarily from the rural south to the industrial north, and they created strong and vibrant cities and neighborhoods built on their dreams. In fact, Houston A. Baker, Jr. Most American students can recite from memory the stories of immigrants leaving their homelands and coming to the United States in hopes of finding something more—whether the story is about the Pilgrims fleeing religious persecution or others leaving a homeland inflamed. Even after sailing across oceans, those immigrants participated in the nation's strong tradition of internal migration to move to the western United States, the next state, or the next town when opportunity presented itself.

But African Americans at the turn of the century were, for the most part, the children and grandchildren of a people forcibly brought to America rather than offered the opportunity to migrate. That opportunity has always been, in a sense, one of the defining characteristics of being American; as a people, we have always counted on being able to pick up and start over in another place. Only after the official end to slavery in the United States were African Americans able to participate in this very American activity. The Great Migration, roughly from the s through the first half of the twentieth century, saw literally millions of blacks moving from their southern homes to northern urban centers in search of decent jobs and a life free from fear.

Between and , there were more lynchings in the nation than there were. In many parts of the South , tenant farming and sharecropping—systems in which the farmers often found themselves in perpetual debt to the landowners—had depleted the soil's fertility and kept the price of cotton low through the beginning of the twentieth century. Working at other jobs, after their crops had failed, left blacks frustrated at their low wages and limited opportunities. Black men's voting rights were often denied through poll taxes and literacy tests.

Like other Americans before them, blacks began a migration that changed the face of the nation. Of course, the north was no paradise. Very often, blacks received low wages and were treated just as poorly as they had been back home. When World War I finished, and white soldiers returned to their northern cities wanting jobs, blacks were often the first employees fired. The fact remained, however, that blacks in huge numbers had taken a step to redefine themselves by choosing where they would live and how they would live.

They were at the same time participating in another great American tradition: that of re-envisioning oneself and one's people through stories. Locke's proclamation of the New Negro was a clear indication of this, and his publication of black poetry, fiction, and essays in his anthology was the literal retelling of those stories. Nathan I. Huggins, writing in his book Harlem Renaissance , notes that white Americans have forever desired to cast themselves as new and improved, primarily to separate themselves from their Old World origins.

This separation, of course, has always been paired with a corresponding desire to associate oneself with the Old World by taking pride in the cast-off ancestral country. The changes in black society at the beginning of the twentieth century and the development of the Harlem Renaissance, according to Huggins, afforded blacks a similar opportunity to take part in this "intense and national sport" by declaring that the New Negro had been born and was ready to acknowledge his ties to, and appreciation of, ancestral Africa.

The writers of this era were creating the literature of pioneers, people of a new land, and in doing so writers worked to develop the stories that would tell the rest of the world and white America what defined them, what made them proud, and what troubled them. Countee Cullen's poem "Heritage," included in Locke's special Survey Graphic issue, is a love song to ancestral Africa, for example, but tempered with a sense of regret and caution.

He desires to be swept up in the continent's heat and passion but realizes that as someone who is "civilized," he must tell himself to "Quench my pride and cool my blood. Hurston follows Janie, a black woman living in rural Florida, and her lifelong search for fulfillment and identity as a woman. Claude McKay, through his poems and his fictional characters, often wrote about the plight of African Americans in an angry and defiant fashion.

Also included in the special Survey Graphic ,McKay'spoem White Houses , challenges the racist attitudes and practices of whites against blacks. He opens the poem noticing that "your door is shut against my tightened face," and he is "sharp as steel with discontent" in the next line. But by the end of the poem, McKay warns himself to avoid becoming involved in "the potent poison" of the white man's hate. In his novel Home to Harlem , McKay casts two opposites as protagonists: Ray, who, like McKay, is a well-educated black but uncomfortable with Harlem's festive atmosphere and struggling to fit into either white or black society; and Jake, a black man who leads an untroubled life filled with party-going.

Eventually, it becomes apparent that Ray's association with whites, specifically through his bourgeois education, has damaged his identity as a black man, andheflees thenew worldofHarlemfor the Old World of Europe. A question remains, however, if one looks upon these writers as the voices of migrants and pioneers. Pioneers are usually pictured as a hopeful lot; indeed, much of Locke's language in describing theNewNegrointhe Survey Graphic special issue is optimistic: he uses words such as "genius," "vibrant," and "metamorphosis," and comments that these young writers "have all swung above the horizon.

English raises a good point in her Critical Inquiry , when she argues that "Renaissance writers were, in fact, preoccupied by the possibility and the picturing of various modern, and only sometimes racially specific, wastelands. Their words, according to English, seem to testify to "a clear and widespread sense of urgency, even of anxiety and despair.

Indeed, the voice sounded by the writers of the Harlem Renaissance offered a sense of both hopefulness and caution to those who would listen. Black writers would continue to work and produce fine results—Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison in the s and s, Maya Angelou and Alice Walker in the century's latter years—but Locke's hope that the best and the brightest of the black pioneers could wash away the sins of a nation never came about. In this essay, Ganter argues that the transgressive sexuality and bohemian lifestyle of Harlem Renaissance author Wallace Thurman offer a framework for understanding Thurman's writings.

Despite his dynamic output as an author and critic of the Harlem Renaissance, Wallace Thurman has not often inspired critical admiration. Several generations of scholars have lamented the alcoholic excess of his lifestyle and the indecent content of his writing. From the beginning of his career, Thurman's disinclination to celebrate his black heritage caused considerable anxiety among leaders of the New Negro movement.

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Du Bois expressed his regret at Thurman's apparently "self-despising" racial outlook and complained that Thurman seemed to "deride blackness. The moralistic tones of the case against Thurman tend to invoke puritanical assumptions about sex and race that continue to have powerful influence in the twenty-first century.

Because assessments of the Harlem Renaissance have been often shaped by parochial—and laudable—beliefs that oppressed races, classes, and sexual orientations should celebrate their communities as a matter of pride, the bohemian aspirations of Thurman's role in the Renaissance have been underappreciated, if not outright rejected. Although Thurman broke many social taboos during his short brilliant career, one of his most challenging characteristics was his acerbic intractability.

Thurman was neither a picture. Combined with his lukewarm interest in promoting African American identity, Thurman has not found a comfortable place amidst the progressive identity politics of posts literary scholarship. In contrast to fay Richard Bruce Nugent, who has been welcomed by contemporary gay scholars, Thurman remains a wallflower, neither self-consciously black enough, nor gay enough, to serve as a Renaissance poster-boy, although his literary output dwarfs Nugent's.

As George Hutchinson has argued persuasively, several recent generations of scholars have balked at the complex inter racial and inter ethnic politics of the Renaissance for lack of an adequate American discourse about hybrid identity. As a result, writers like Thurman, who actively sought to challenge the nationalist, racial, and sexual isolationisms of his day and regrettably, ours , have yet to receive kindly treatment for their iconoclasm. As many of his literary peers recognized, Thurman looked to Europe for aesthetic inspiration, not just America. Culturally stifled while growing up in Salt Lake City and Boise, Thurman apprenticed himself as a young writer to European artists of the Decadent movement.

Identifying with figures such as Baudelaire, Huysmans, Wilde, and Gorky, Thurman imagined himself as part of an international avant-garde devoted to exploring the creative possibilities of the modern, the artificial, and the prohibited. In , he wrote to a friend that he saw his generation as "Columbuses. One of Thurman's patrons, Alain Locke, recognized the decadent, Frenchified spirit of the s behind Thurman's work, but he did not think it black enough, or decent enough, to advance the political goals of the Renaissance Locke In particular, Thurman's omnivorous sexuality, an important facet of many writers associated with the decadisme in Europe, has not yet received a sympathetic examination.

By most accounts, Thurman was bisexual, if not homosexual. He also had white and black lovers of different sexual orientations. There is no shortage of complaint about Thurman's behavior. Dorothy West , a younger contemporary of Thurman's, suggests he was a homosexual tortured by simultaneous desires to be a full-blooded "male" and a father West Although West seems unable to conceive that healthy bisexual or homosexual people could want to have children, most of Thurman's peers were also perplexed about his sexual conduct. Recently, however, scholars interested in the homoerotic aspects of Harlem life have begun to explore the ways in which queer sexuality inflected the literature of the period, both in terms of content homosexual characters and themes and style writing techniques that seem characteristic of queer sensibilities.

Thurman may have been queer in the strictly erotic sense of the term. He engaged in homosexual behavior. However, Thurman's sexual conduct was also queer in the sense that he didn't operate by the norms of strictly homosexual or heterosexual culture. Whether Thurman was hetero or homosexual is difficult to say. He was, however, indisputably bisexual. Thurman's resistance to easy characterization, usually invoked as an impediment to his personal development or genius as a writer, is a key to his work.

Thurman was an explorer. As I shall argue, Thurman's bohemian sexuality may be seen as a metaphor for the breadth of his imaginative vision as a writer and artist. Despite her concerns about his complex sexual identity, Dorothy West acknowledges that Thurmanoften claimedhewantedtodoevery-thing once before he died. In his literary criticism, Thurman asserted that the artist's duty was to be polymorphously open to all forms of human experience. He felt that the genius of literary artists was documented in their openness to the unusual.

Bisexuality was another facet of Thurman's polymorphous imaginative sensibility. For Thurman, writers' imaginative queerness lay in their cosmopolitan ability to pass comfortably into another identity, be it sexual, racial, or cultural. Thurman sought to materialize this transgressive imaginative sensibility in both his fiction and non-fiction. The intimate relationship between Thurman's sexuality and his art is apparent in a letter he wrote to a friend and literary collaborator, William Rapp, in Thurman was going through a divorce at the time and his wife, Louise Thompson, had accused him of homosexuality.

He wrote to Rapp to explain a story that Thompson had circulated among his friends concerning a homosexual proposition Thurman accepted when he first came to New York City. Although the letter's exculpatory remarks can be read as divorce propaganda, both its content and its stylistic shift from third to first-person narrative bear a striking resemblance to Thurman's short story, "Cordelia, the Crude. In a young colored lad anxious to make a literary career came to New York.

He had little stake which was soon gone. He found no job. He owed room rent and was hungry not offered in extenuation of what is to follow but merely a statement of the facts. One night he got a job as relief elevator operator, just for one night. He worked. The next night he returned hoping to work again. Failing he returned homeward. At th St. There was a man standing in there. The man spoke. He did more than speak, making me know what his game was. I laughed. He offered me two dollars. I accepted. Two plainclothesmen, hidden in the porter's mop closet rushed out and took the two of us to jail.

Night court. I was fined twenty-five dollars or three days. The man got six months. He was a Fifth [A]venue hair dresser. He had been picked up before, and always of course as the aggressor. I gave a fake name and address, then sent a special delivery letter to the only friend I had in New York. He borrowed money, gave it to a minister friend who came down and got me out after I had spent 48 hours in jail.

Only two people thus knew it. The minister took great interest in me. And to my surprise I discovered that he too belonged to the male sisterhood and was demanding his pound of flesh to keep silence. I cursed him out, told him he could print it in the papers if he dared and saw him no more. Meanwhile of course he had told his scandal. By some quirk of fate it reached Louise just at the time she was fighting me for a money settlement. She told Ernst. He verified the story, and they threatened to make charges t[h]at I was homosexual, and knowing this and that I was incapable of keeping up my marital relationship [and] had no business marrying.

All of which Louise knew was a lie. The incident was true, but there was certainly no evidence therein I was a homosexual and Louise also knew that tho there had been sexual incompatibility it had been her fault not mine. Tues May 7 []. One of the most significant aspects of the letter is that Thurman refuses to have his sexuality defined by someone else.

Thurman confesses to engaging in an act of homosexual prostitution but denies that it is "evidence therein" of his homosexuality. Like James Baldwin , he admits to homosexual practices but not necessarily to being identified as a homosexual Ross Rather, he describes himself as a young man who is unusually open to new experience. He laughs at the thought of bargaining sexual favors for cash.

The homosexual element of the situation does not seem to faze him, either. Upon hearing the terms of the proposition, Thurman inscrutably writes, "I accepted. Throughout the letter, however, he seems concerned about his reputation and anxious to prove that he had heterosexual desires as well. Although the letter could be interpreted as evidence of Thurman's closeted homosexuality and most Thurman scholars have tended to summarize the letter's contents in this way , it is also explicit documentation of Thurman's sexual polyvalence.

In literary terms, the letter is also significant because it suggests the close relationship between Thurman's life and fiction. Later in the letter, he asks Rapp if his story sounds like a novel. The question is not merely rhetorical. Three years earlier, in his short story, "Cordelia, the Crude," he had told a similar tale. As in his letter, Thurman's short story begins with little in the way of judgement of its protagonist, describing Cordelia Jones from an objective, third-person point of view as a restless girl who desires to escape the restrictions of her homelife.

She goes to a theater where she is dimly aware that women are being propositioned by young men. Halfway through the story, the narrative shifts to the first person when a young man takes up the story as he meets Cordelia in the theater. Cordelia takes the man to a flophouse, but the narrator suddenly loses his nerve, shoves two dollars in her hand, and flees.

At the end of the story, the narrator meets Cordelia again at a rent party where it is apparent she has become a prostitute. The similarities of Thurman's autobiographical letter to the story are probably explained by Thurman and Rapp's recent collaboration on the play, Harlem, which was an adaptation of Thurman's story "Cordelia," and which had just debuted a few months earlier. One of the curious things about the resemblances among the three narratives Thurman's letter, "Cordelia," and the play, Harlem is that Thurman wrote the fictions first.

In his letter to Rapp, his life conforms to his art. What makes this connection doubly interesting, however, is that Thurman initially wrote the autobiographical fictions from a woman's viewpoint. Thurman's use of a female protagonist to represent his own experience in "Cordelia" and Harlem is particularly significant because the protagonist of his first novel, The Blacker the Berry ,is alsoa woman.

There are several explanations for why Thurman was drawn to female protagonists in his early work. On one level, Thurman seems to have wanted to write a black Sister Carrie or Madame Bovary, both of which focused on the plight of women to illustrate the curious modern collision of urban reality with sentimental fiction. In The Blacker the Berry , Emma Lou Morgan's first name evokes Flaubert's tragic protagonist, Emma Bovary, whose discomfort with provincial life, brought on by reading too many fanciful romances, leads her to stray from her marriage.

Chasing a desire "to live and to die" in Paris, and unable to find spiritual redemption, she eventually drinks poison. Emma Lou's life experience also suggests the plot of the first half of Sister Carrie, where Carrie ingloriously becomes the mistress of a salesman while wandering the streets of Chicago looking for respectable work. Secondly, it seems likely that Thurman's ill-fated heroine was a direct reply to Jessie Fauset's hard-working protagonist, Joanna Marshall, in There Is Confusion If Thurman felt that Fauset's brand of realism had erred by attempting to normalize the victories and defeats of black middle-class experience, Thurman's Emma Lou Morgan was a study in what might happen to an earnest Fauset character in the hands of an unkind god.

Finally, on a third level, Dorothy West speculates that a female protagonist allowed Thurman to distance himself from his novel's autobiographical material. At the same time that Thurman attempts to separate himself from Emma Lou's experiences, however, he also identifies with them. As Thurman declared in both his fiction and non-fiction, the imaginative burden of artists is to investigate the broadest domains of human thought and feeling. Thurman's use of female protagonists is both a deliberate test of his artistic powers and an attempt to envision the world from another person's point of view.

Thurman's identificationwithwomen's experience is suggested in part by his reference to homosexuals in Infants of the Spring as "uranians. In a series of pamphlets written between and , Ulrichs proposed that the human embryo could develop a female soul at the same time its physical development took a male path, or vice versa Symonds This theory explained why some women seemed to have a masculine temperament and some men a feminine one. Although Ulrichs sketched a complicated sexual taxonomy from this premise, he referred to people who experienced hybrid development in the egg, Urnings or Uranians , from the term "uranos" in Plato's Symposium , meaning "heavenly.

Thurman's use of the term uranian is also revealing in light of Edward Carpenter's claim that uranians made great artists. Carpenter's book, The Intermediate Sex , argued that uranians were often society's great artists and teachers because their hybrid nature made them much more sensitive to the entire spectrum of human emotions. Thurman's choice of female protagonists may indicate his belief that he could feel as women felt, and that a female persona heightened the sense of marginality he wished to explore in his characters. As a journalist, Thurman had long voiced his belief that fiction writerswereobliged to reach beyond the boundaries of their own personal lives in choosing characters for their art.

In a book review of I. Wylie's Black Harvest ,Thurman applauded the white female author for successfully portraying the psychology of the male mulatto protagonist, Jung Siegfried. Although Thurman regretted that more blacks had not chosen to write about their own experience, his review steadfastly upheld the right of literary artists to cross all sexual and cultural boundaries in the pursuit of their craft.

Thurman's defense of a writer's act of imaginatively passing into the experience of a different person gives an additional significance to the concept of racial passing in his work. Part of Thurman's defense of authorial freedom was rooted in a specific debate carried on in the columns of the Crisis between February and November about how black Americans should be represented in fiction.

Surely it would have been easier to wear no makeup than makeup that was not a great match for my skin tone. This was largely from a Eurocentric perspective because I relied very much on a single news agent to purchase a copy of a black hair care and beauty magazine which came into publication around the time of my late teens!

I personally find the idea of skin lightening products offensive because not only are they harmful, but whoever produces them must have made the mistaken assumption that I and others like me, would want to be another colour! However, I do not condemn the people that use them because I know how much pressure there is in society to conform to dominant ideologies surrounding beauty.

I see skin lightening products as a survival tool which people use to navigate a society which perpetually reinforces the concept that it only values one type of beauty. During my MA journey I had to search deep within myself to figure out what I wanted to do and what really mattered to me. This was hard and took a while as I was so used to having to do what I was told to do, no questions asked. Stand in line. I found myself trying to adapt, to please, seeking approval from those who I now realise would never value me until I valued myself.

The associated demands are often trivialised partly because assimilation is the default expectation when it comes to whiteness and partly because white supremacy naturally needs to invisibilize the harm it inflicts upon people of colour to naturalise itself.

This rule is as powerfully enforced as it is enforced tacitly. It is that very rule that dictates that we must remain silent when subjected to racism, that we must adopt organisational narratives, that we must overlook micro-aggressions and generally that we must keep white people comfortable.

In response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. This, now famous, exercise labels participants as inferior or superior based solely upon the color of their eyes and exposes them to the experience of being a minority. Then it all made sense. The closer you are to whiteness, the more privilege an individual is afforded in the system of white supremacy, from my life experience. One of the most obvious forms of this privilege is in skin tone. Not to say that lighter-skinned or Mixed-Race people have it easy in life, but the effects of white supremacy creating the skin tone hierarchy has created another layer of oppression towards people of darker skin tones that unfortunately through no fault of their own people of a lighter skin tone benefit from to an extent.

Maybe many people will not understand or relate but women my shade and darker will know almost instantly that Colourism is a thing and it happens daily. Growing tired of repeatedly trying to explain what colourism was to people and observing how it was often confused with racism constantly I wanted to explore ways I could demonstrate it for people to understand.

Through my eyes. What is the impact of white supremacy and racism on colourism? How were social hierarchies created among enslaved Africans by slave chattel owners and what was the intended outcome of such actions? In what way can we see the impact of colonialism on marginalised communities of displaced people.? How does scientific racism influence or contribute to colourism? Does skin tone influence educational and employment outcomes for descendants of Africa living in the UK?

How does whiteness present itself in the beauty industry? Are skin lightening creams and procedures like them an act of self-hatred or a mis-guided means of survival? How does colourism present itself in South East Asia? What is the impact of colonialism in the caste system for communities in the UK? Shades of Noir has been pleased to invite Sarah L.

Webb to peer review this Terms of Reference. Sarah L. Webb is a Ph. In , Sarah founded the website Colorism Healing through which she hosts annual writing contests, publishes books, and provides information and resources related to colorism. She has been a professional writer, teacher, and mentor since , working in a range of industries such as universities, non-profits, small businesses, K public education, magazines, and TV news.

Her writing has been published in numerous places online, such as For Harriet and Blavity, and in print books and magazines such as Teaching Tolerance and Dig. Colorism is as complicated as any other social problem. But we must start somewhere. The simple act of informing ourselves about colorism and actively engaging in the conversation is a core piece of the puzzle.

Here, however, I want to talk less about what to do and more about what it takes, which builds a foundation for the doing. The writers provide unique insights on colorism through diverse perspectives of nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, history, and more. At the same time, the multi-genre, multi-media lenses help us break our usual habits of thinking about and discussing colorism.

In other words, we have to properly position ourselves to effectively address colorism. Many of the pieces you will read later in this ToR issue are great examples. Courage and Honesty Courage and honesty must be at the core of everything we say and do in the struggle to end colorism. Every day I encounter people who react with anger and contempt to conversations about colorism.

And it takes courage to be honest. Are we expressing insecurities about ourselves, or prejudices against others? Have we been hurt by someone? Or have we been the one to hurt others? Are we afraid to say how we really feel because of what others are going to think or say? Several of the pieces in ToR, uncover past pain and reveal how chronic hurt impacts daily life and relationships.

Whole Communities An extremely valuable feature of the works presented here is the cross-cultural framework they collectively provide, providing perspectives ranging from the United States, to Australia, to Europe, and the Carribean. No matter what race or color, we have all been complicit in perpetuating colorism. Colorism is not just a personal problem. Colorism is a social problem, an international one. No social problem can exist or cease to exist without community level action.

Would we solve racism by merely teaching black and brown people to love themselves? Would we solve sexism by merely telling women they just need to love themselves? Would we solve homophobia by merely telling gays and lesbians to just take pride in who they are? You can love yourself all you want and still be negatively impacted by colorism in the larger society.

I really am. But too often we pretend like that alone is the answer to colorism. In order to really heal from colorism, we must seek to address it at the community level just like we do with racism, sexism, or crime, etc. For many people, the earliest and clearest ideas about skin color, hair texture, and facial features come from family members. This includes parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Although a lot of people point to the media as a primary factor in colorism, I think what goes on in our families is even more important. Although those images are powerful, discrimination within our own families is actually a lived experience that directly involves us and those we have intimate relationships with, making it that much more painful and traumatic. And our generational legacies of colorism get passed down through both biology and nurturing. Some of the writers here tell stories of generational trauma as well as breaking the familial cycle.

First, families must say and do as many positive things as possible to promote self-love and affirm the worth and beauty of all family members. Second, families must openly and lovingly address instances of colorism whenever they happen. Ignoring, laughing off, or excusing an act of colorism is just as bad as committing an act of colorism. Most of us just let tough or potentially confrontational situations slip by without saying anything.

Many victims of colorism within families believe they have no voice and no ally. You can be the courageous person in your family who saves your niece, nephew, cousin, daughter, son, brother, or sister by affirming them and standing up for them whenever you see colorism happening. Individuals In order to heal families and communities, we must heal ourselves. Throughout this ToR issue, we witness individuals who have held themselves accountable. They have taken the responsibility to reflect and communicate their truths through various media.

Each contributor is a real example of what stepping up, of what doing something looks like. In other words, the doing is as different as the doers. This will separate those who think colorism is an interesting topic for discussion from those, like you, who are ready to do something to end it. When I talk to some people about colorism, they seem shocked that this is still going on. What makes these people think that colorism should have just evaporated overtime all by itself? The world needs you to help put an end to colorism. Now that you know what it really takes, are you up for the challenge?

Data Source: Futuremarketinsights. This process, which involves harmful and potentially lethal chemicals, can cause significant damage and anomalies to their complexions. The practice has been carried out for decades, but has become more mainstream in the past five years, most notably in when Jamaican dancehall artist, Vybz Kartel, likened bleaching, which he practices and condones, to simply another element of style. The inclination here is to read deeper — to suggest that these sentiments are perhaps born out of a flawed concept of beauty that prevails in Jamaica and throughout the majority of images put forward globally through advertising.

But then again, perhaps there is merit in taking the words and motivations of these adolescents at face value. Instead of readily denouncing bleaching, this photographic project was conceived as an avenue of understanding of the practice, and a means of attempting to highlight a certain kind of beauty where many see none. While photographing the small group of adolescents. For those who may not know, you could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi my name is Mulan, I recently set up an event, a well being event called spring melanin for the purpose of Dark skinned women. Specifically for Dark skinned women to attend. The purpose is for nurturing healing conversation and relaxation. As a dark skinned black woman do you feel your experience in the world is different when compared to others?

So yeah my experience has been very different. Spring melanin is a well being day event it starts at 12pm and finishes at 6pm the first half is relaxation, meditation, conversation, self-care workshops, spirituality, tarot readings, massages, manicurist, so its very much about relaxing the mind as well as the body so that you can be far more open and vulnerable.

The second half is about panel talks, industry talks. It brought a very nice close to Spring Melanin and there will be more Spring Melanin. Where would you like to see Spring Melanin go from here? It happens across borders. It happens not only in Africa and the Caribbean which a lot of people think it only happens there, it happens in Brazil, it also happens in Asia. Which creatives would you like to collaborate with?

I would like to collaborate with artists and businesses who have the same ethos as me and spring melanin. How can garments create an experience that teaches its wearers about the effects of colourism? The purpose of the garments is to represent the different skin tones that play a role in the colourism hierarchy. Originally they were made so guests could try them on as a way of feeling the different experiences of each skin tone instead of having it explained to them.

As part of the design, the texture and look of the garments feel and look like real human skin and as a guest tries each one on, the weight on the shoulders from the lightest shade to the darkest changes i. After testing this at my end of year degree show, I learned that an exhibition would be a more effective and inclusive way for everyone to understand the purpose of my project as not everyone could fit the garments I created and missed the point.

This will hopefully be happening later this year. Look at how black she is. Before going any further, let me say that I speak of my experiences only, and the complexity of my experiences and sentiments would require much more space than the Huffington Post would allow. My mother gave birth to eleven children, with me being the baby of the bunch. My siblings range in skin tone from Denzel Washington to Grace Jones. Our residency there was a magical time for me.

In addition to the housing being a huge improvement over our previous abode, it gave us an opportunity to mingle with our extended family, who lived across the street, on a daily basis. The same age as I, my cousin Kim, whose hue is the darkest ebony you can imagine, was my constant companion during this time. In third-grade, Kim and I were assigned to the same classroom. One day while walking down the halls of Chester A. Moore Elementary School while being escorted by our teacher, Mrs.

Logan, we had to yield to the oncoming class passing in front of us. While stopped, our teacher and another teacher had a brief exchange, which at one point, Mrs. Logan summoned Kim and I out of the line. In front of the other teacher and our fellow classmates, Mrs. Look at how Black she is. However, closely eyeing my cousin, I could see a look of shame and hurt come across her face; she obviously had been taunted. It was through her that I realized what Mrs.

Logan said was mean and disparaging. In one day, she single-handedly halted my age of innocence. That moment in the third-grade launched me into a life-time of pain. While stopping short of saying it caused me to hate myself, it did cause me to question if I was worthy of being Black. It was in that moment that I became closer to my people, but also began distancing myself from who I am.

I still cringe when I receive compliments about my skin or hair, and still feel very uncomfortable with anyone referring to me as handsome. Oh yes, for years, the impact of that day wreaked havoc on my psyche and spirit. Do they think their better than others? No longer with any desire to be a parent that may change again , I once dreamt of adopting five dark girls, and raising them to be proud queens who would be brave enough to challenge anyone who questioned their beauty or ability.

Of course, I was giving myself too much credit in naively thinking I could raise five little dark girls without having them experience the sting of racism and colorism, but I wanted to rear five little Kims referring to my cousin, not the rapper who clearly is a victim of colorism who would never hang their heads in shame. That realization, instead of being an opportunity to overcome the pain of colorism, proved to be a revelation that required even more work to navigate. While no longer putting myself down, what I see others experience still takes a toll on me.

She became the beauty standard of ALL women for me, not just black women. Once while hailing a cab with my best-friend, a brown-skinned brother, we experienced taxi after taxi bypass us only to pick up passengers just beyond us, something most visibly black people can relate to. Fortunately, my husband has informed me that this type of behavior is. I wish I could say I take his advice, but his words have served as a calming force. It was around this time that I decided to finally give a light-skinned brother a shot.

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I dated a devilishly goodlooking fellow who was also a Southerner like me. In that relationship, I found myself a part of the very charade I mentioned earlier in this article.

My partner was colorstruck, which revealed the real reason he dated me: Somehow, the fool thought two broke ass light-skinned men made a power couple. Go figure! The pain they experience has, in many ways, become my own. All these. For weeks, I had been waiting to watch what appeared to be a fascinating and brutally honest discussion about skin color in this country, specifically among Black Americans.

In preparation for watching Dark Girls directed and produced by D. It has been ever-present since Mrs. Logan walked into my life. So, almost two weeks after watching the documentary, and even with the hoopla surrounding Paula Deen, the intrigue of Edward Snowden, the tragedy of the Trayvon Martin case, the illness of Nelson Mandela and the fall of DOMA, I found myself coming back to that little girl. What I have learned through my own life and conversations with others is that a privilege is only such if there is some type of pleasure derived from it.

For those of us with a strong affinity for our cultural heritage, a crack anywhere in a mirror projects a painful image of ourselves. In the work I do as a social worker and community activist, I partake in many conversations revolving around white privilege, something many, including other light-skinned ethnic people can commiserate about days on end, but when I dare mention the privilege experienced from being a fairer hue, the discomfort and denial, though unspoken, is quite palpable. This paradigm is global, and the pervasiveness of it around the world in some odd way helped me with the healing process.

My film, Yellow Fever, focuses on the effect of media-created ideals on African women and their perception of beauty. Ideals to which many African women do not fit. I was particularly interested in discovering where the root of this pressure lays. I experimented quite a bit with the pixilation, and got some unexpected results with the bodies creating some disturbing and beautiful movements.

You can watch Yellow Fever here: www. I realised we are only products of our society. Since our media perpetuates singular ideals to girls and women, and we consume this information continuously from a young age, how can we fault anyone who is susceptible to these ideals men included , without challenging the institutions that are creating them? The title of the film is based on a Fela Kuti song, Yellow Fever, that attacks women who use skin-bleaching products with the reduction of melanin, the skin turns a yellowy tone.

However, I use it to underline what I see as a mediainduced psychological condition, not very different to anorexia, bulimia, and other body-dysmorphic disorders that are recognised by medical institutions. It took a lot of experimentation to come up with the general look and feel of Yellow Fever. This oddly fascinating subject dominated my work. Around that time that I also fell in love with the airbrush. I had just graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Soon after graduation, I began to have an urge to produce works that were a reflection of me, and some of the visions, and issues in my head, which my earlier works never accomplished. For awhile the prospect had me staring into blank canvas. It was as if I had nothing to say. I remember that conversation getting a little heated at times, but for the sake of our friendship, we both shifted into neutral.

Soon after, I did a few sketches exploring that concept, with our conversation echoing deep into my spirit. It begged the question; How do we deal with the subject of racism and prejudice, when we practice it within our own group? It was 30 years ago that I attempted to open dialogue about a subject of much family debate and conversation. In , I would go on to create a male version to complete the series. In the female version, the figures were from my imagination, but I utilized models for the male version, and would become my only published self portrait.

The entire colorism series was created with airbrushing. This series was later expanded to 11 works. Artists never know in advance, which of their works will become their best seller. In frustration, I took a gamble and decided to self publish the image. The piece would quickly become one of the top 5 best selling black art prints in the nation.

Released as open editions, the series were designed to be accessible, affordable works of art. It also became one of my most licensed images to date having been produced in book covers, calendars, puzzles, watches, tee shirts, and several other product lines. The rest, they say, is history.

Overnight it became mainstream, with a huge HBCU following. The message resonated with folks of all skin tones. I felt a sense redemption that the piece had been received so well. I had once again proved my naysayers wrong. The Difference of Treatment Although, Colonialism and Imperialism began in two different time periods the way in which they treated the Natives and the Africans were similar.

In both instances, the Natives and Africans were below the Europeans in the social hierarchy. Although, both Natives and Africans were considered underneath the Europeans socially, economically, and politically, during both Colonialism and Imperialism, Natives and Africans were treated differently. Within the social hierarchy there was even more stratification of hierarchy underneath the Europeans.

When the Europeans first sailed to the Americas they saw the Natives as inferior due to their darkness of skin, way of life, and abnormal practices. Due to their differences and the European desire of their land, the Europeans enslaved the Natives. Although, the groups of people seemed starkly different, the Europeans were able to pick up on the intelligence and sophistication of the Natives Kanopy: Skinn Deep, The slavery of the Natives eventually came to an end largely due to the humanitarian efforts of Bartolome De Las Casa Tickel, At first glance Las Casas paid no attention to the economic system set up by the Spaniards.

It was not until Las Casas witnessed some of the atrocities committed by the Spaniards, that he thought differently of the system Tickel, It was not until when his efforts paid off and the enslavement of the Natives became illegal Tickel, As an alternative of the slave labor of Natives Las Casas suggested that they use Africans as slaves, thus satisfying the social hierarchy of Natives and Africans Tickel, Las Casas suggestion for the slave labor of Africans became the catalyst for the difference of treatment and categorization of the Natives and the Africans.

After Las Casas suggestion, the Natives were no longer called slaves but indigenous and the Africans were completely regarded as slaves. The Natives were able to live a life freer than the enslaved Africans, but they were not as free as the white Europeans. The difference of treatment and the stratification of the social order became convoluted once there was the mixing of races.

When the Europeans sailed to the Americas they sailed with small numbers. The small numbers of Europeans were outnumbered by Africans and sometime Natives. Since the Natives were dying off at an alarming rate and lack of European women, the European men would mix with. Although, it seemed peculiar for Europeans, mainly Spanish and Portuguese, to mix with people that they thought less than them, they had no aversion to the mixing, because of the drastic varying skin tones present in Spain and Portugal Russell-Cole, K. With the mixing of races happening quite frequently there was a rise in the population of racially mixed people with varying shades.

The racially mixed people that arose from the coupling of Europeans and Natives or Europeans and Africans were treated drastically different from the homogenous Natives and Africans or the racial mix of Natives and Africans. Those whose heritage of both Native and African were treated like the beast of burdens the same as their parents. Those who were racially mixed between European and Native or European and African were treated with a status that was much higher than the Natives or Africans but still lower than the Europeans Russell-Cole, K.

The reason behind this status was because they were of lighter skin and descendants of Europeans. As the race mixing continued over the years it became harder to differentiate between who had European ancestry and who did not. University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects. The issue of colorism in the Black community is once again raised. Channsin Berry. This film deals with how dark-skinned women are at times less valued then lighter complected women, and how that can play itself out in various forms.

However, I do have something to add to this conversation. There is a tendency that I have noticed, that when dealing with issues of colorism, you would think that this issue does not affect Black men. While I can tell you from first hand experience that it does, I definitely understand why some Black men choose not to engage the topic.

On filmmaker Olu Gittens blog she also talks about the upcoming documentary, and makes great points about what is often overlooked. Self included, honestly. I did have issues with self-perception due to my complexion, but thankfully I shed them as I got older. I have cut everybody loose who made me feel less than for the simple reason of what shade I am.

But I can tell you that it was no cake-walk being my hue back in the day. It makes you at times go overboard to put people at ease around you. There is another reason why this is not a topic of comfort. We do it to one another. Yes, colorism comes from slavery, but much like the preview video to Dark Girls says, we keep it going. This is one issue that remains exclusively at our feet. We can write all the books and make all the films we want, but if we do not stop this grade by shade nonsense, it will be pointless.

It would take a complete change in values of the Black community to uproot this notion. Only then would our darker brothers and sisters begin to feel comfortable in their own skin, literally. A sickness based on programming and language that often wrongfully dehumanise black women, failing to address how we as black men consciously and unconsciously perpetuate negative stereotypes.

Which as a young child changed the way I saw other darker toned people, and how I saw myself in relation to my community. Renowned child psychologist and University of Chicago professor Margaret Beale Spencer, a leading researcher in the field of child development, was hired as a consultant by CNN. Spencer aimed to re-create the landmark Doll Test from the s, which would highlight colour bias in young children. This false sense of empowerment was my entry point to broader questions of selfhate. Often within open dialogue Colourism or Shadism as a sickness has not given men and young boys the same opportunity to open up about their pain, and the pressures it has on relationships with other men.

The more widely acceptable tokenisation of black men means that deep-rooted issues of acceptance as a neodiaspora only feeds what are considered social and political slights of identity and blackness. Which makes colourism such a complex notion as the condition itself is conditioned by the prevailing culture. That this starts in our homes with the language we use to define ourselves and others, and this starts at a very young age. The only way to combat these multi-textured ideals of identification is to continue to have discussions, and to consistently challenge the nuances of a Eurocentric culture.

Beth Consetta Rubel is a visual artist based in Austin. She discusses her upbringing as a mixed race Black woman living in a conservative small Southern town in Texas, and how this informed both her identity and creative work. In black America, those with light-skin received employment opportunities off limits to darker-skinned African Americans. This is why upperclass families in black society were largely light-skinned.

Soon light skin and privilege were considered one in the same in the black community, with light skin being the sole criterion for acceptance into the black aristocracy. Upper crust blacks routinely administered the brown paper bag test to determine if fellow blacks were light enough to socialize with. My name is Clare Anyiam-Osigwe and I am quite a lot of things. So I just thought I can either starve eating. I walked out of that audition and not doing it.

So in my mind this was the inspiration behind my film, No Shade. What are the challenges you face when discussing the topic of colourism? Within 10 minutes of putting out the press release about the film I was called immediately by the BBC world services, this is breaking news, a group of pregnant women in Ghana are swallowing bleaching tablets to make sure that their unborn children will be born lighter skinned and I felt physically ill just hearing that.

I was like damn, that is kind of special. What do you think we can do as a society to reduce colourism? Hair texture, skin colour, facial features acted not only as racializing markers in the Anglo-Caribbean prior to Independence, but also as indicators of proximity, proximity to the Crown. When I say Crown here, however, I do not mean it as a metonymy of power, or as marking any kind of meaningful influence beyond the realm of local politics and bureaucracy.

Crown represents an ideal, a perceived sense of prestige and a misguided commitment to Britain as Motherland, the natural Kingdom, a way perhaps, to construct forms of personal protection from the onslaught of racism experienced by lighterskinned and middle-class Jamaicans and other Anglo-Caribbeans migrating to the UK in the wake of Independence. And now the beating heart of colourism sends ripples and waves through my family line, to be felt within my own blood.

My grandfather, realising that the ideal of the Crown, could not protect him from the grinding teeth of systemic racism and the deathly incisions of institutionalised anti-blackness, withdrew deeper and deeper into the gaping chasm of colonially induced colourism. Because he had been told that his skin was not black, that he had traceable.

European heritage, he believed that he could construct himself differently in the society which had exported such an insidious ideology in the first place. In a failure to produce white children, my grandfather made successive attempts to isolate his children from the blemishing effects of their African, slave-descended blood. They would be different, yet in order to be so, they too would have to hate themselves. He used colourism to protect himself but in so doing, sowed the seeds for greater. I live with this legacy, and too am born out of the psychological manipulations of the Crown.

Colourism featured into my own creation as the dark child of three golden children, who straddle the ever-shifting border between whiteness and blackness. My grandmother was adamant upon my birth that I was the reincarnation of her late husband, subtly evidenced by my slanted eye, my fulsome lips, my olive tones, my thick curly hair. And following on from this bestowal of gratitude, not to the Crown, nor its effects, but to the necessary acts of resistance to rekindle the spirit of blackness in my family, and to keep it alight in the face of self-destruction, I can begin to construct my identity more positively.

Colourism represents a part of my history but the legacies of black power and resistance, I hope, may protect me from its submersion. At what point would colourism begin to toxify the construction of my own inchoate racial identity? Can I construct myself in terms separate to its influence? As the Crown begins to fade, other pernicious influences, borne out of its ramifications, arise. The falseness of its ideals have produced generations of trauma, which continue to be recycled.

Colourism continues to exert its influence as an aide, as an instigator of trauma, as a constructor of cycles of heritable self-hatred. Can we detach ourselves from our colonial past, and begin to self-define, whilst colourism rages within us and re-creates historical dynamics of prestige and differential access? My racial identity has, for the most part, been premised upon pain and self-afflicted denigration. They symbolize the persecution I often received for having darker skin. In this series I juxtapose myself with holiness in order to highlight the censure that often came with my self love and self knowledge.

It has a vast array of research material and explores tones and race more broadly within context of dominant culture, race and power relations. Speculatively, this has been due to various factors in policy that have disproportionately affected Indigenous people at the design of Australian race powers, for example the stolen generation, assimilation policies, health see Doyle, Hungerford. The Legal System Numerous cases in the U. S have sought to define or create a prima facie case against colourism and many have failed.

In the case of Santiago v. Stryker Corp. Most cases have dealt with colour under racial discrimination. In , a taskforce was created to address the overwhelming numbers of Colour complaints in the workforce. It is worth noting that Latinos have become one of the largest minority group in the U. S, but are legally classified as white despite having mixed heritage, whereas African —Americans have been situated as black under various tests when of mixed heritage. Although colourism does not necessarily equate to biracial parentage, where both African- American and Latinos sit in terms of legal determinations has interesting legal implications.

While Puerto Ricans have a legal prima facie for colourism the majority of African-American cases have been dealt with under race discrimination. Colourism across the legal spectrum have also impacted Japanese and Hindu women who are marginable based on colour preference.

Caste systems and colour have. Other studies in the U. Others yet have noted the use of darkened images in the case of O. Studies show disparities between dark skinned African American men and light skinned African American men, who are receiving longer and harsher prison sentences according to color biases.

Education A comprehensive study undertaken by Rybov focused on assessing how skin tone impacts adolescents in school to college and school to work transitions. In his study using multinominal logistic modelling, research showed that youth with dark skin tones were less likely to attend college than their lighter skinned counter parts in both genders. Further Rybov showed that phenotypical European features highly impacted female opportunities for work and college attendance.

More broadly, those with higher socioeconomic backgrounds were able to access more opportunities and especially those who had parents who had attended college. One example noted those who had. Light skinned students are also more generally perceived as unlikely to have behavioural problems, and as personifying other positive traits, enabling their schooling experience to be less conflicted.

Scholars further drew a correlation between those with darker skin tone and the probability of suspension from school and perceived unfair treatment by teachers, finding them twice as likely to be suspended as white students. Findings were not the same for those who had lighter skin tones. Socioeconomic Opportunity Lighter skinned people are selected above their darker skinned counter parts and able more freely to work within the broader society. Harrison also argues, along. Moreover, in the case where they are in contact with the law, they are less likely to receive heavier sentencing thereby creating greater opportunity to engage in the workplace.

In the context of slavery, those with light skin fetched higher prices at auction and as an investment were more likely to be treated better in the areas of housing and food and furthermore had a greater chance at survival. These socioeconomic benefits have contributed to a socioeconomic legacy of wealth and inclusion.

Indigeneity, Colourism and Assimilation in Australia. Moreover, these systems have political, economic and structural impacts on broader society. Bolt detailed a number of high profile Indigenous people as misrepresenting themselves as Indigenous to claim funds proportionally directed at Indigenous people designed to counter historical policies excluding them from political, economic and social progression.

The High Court found Bolt guilty and awarded the plaintiffs as a result, however, the matter of colourism was obscured by racial dialectic. As noted in the above literature under Law, the tendency to address colourism in accordance with race legislature has its limitations. Douglas and Chesterman note the objective of inter racializing Indigenous people through miscegenation officially drew on the value afforded to whiteness and situated blackness as a caste system of shade.

The Eatock Versus Bolt case shows, as with many international cases in the context of race powers and colonisation, light skinned people have been the subjects of control and systemic abuse. This passage comments on Colour, race, gender and sexual consent, and the manner through which the law protects whiteness and allows the exploitation of blackness.

Whether similar agency is considered when light skinned women are raped is a question requiring interrogation. No such case from the same period has recorded the rape of darker skinned women nor the conviction of a white male, despite there being a rich literary premise for such occurrences. Research shows Indigenous Australians face a number of negative stereotypes which impact policy across a broad range of areas.

However, like many populations of colour across the world, being dark skinned can intensify and activate negative associations, as research has shown with recent online experiments on the pigmentation of U.