A young black girl in the third grade with long hair down her back walked into her classroom at Vollentine Elementary and sat in her assigned seat. While she was doing her work, another girl grabbed a pair of scissors and tried to cut her hair. She believed the other girl thought she was better than her because she was light-skinned with “good” hair.
“I felt like I didn’t belong at a very young age,” said Nedra Neely, who is 50 years old now. “I couldn’t help the way that I looked.”
African Americans not only face discrimination from outside of their community, but also within. Inside of the African American community, many people face colorism which is defined as a form of discrimination in which people are treated differently based on the social meanings attached to skin color.
“I’m just like everyone else, so what if I have long hair and a lighter complexion. At the end of the day, I am still black,” Neely said.