Students gathered for a panel on colorism on Sept. 24. | THE ALL STATE ARCHIVES

On Sept. 24, Austin Peay’s Latino Community Resource Center held a panel led by Laneeca Williams where colorism was discussed in the Latinx community.

Williams, who is the chief diversity officer and Title IX coordinator at the university, began the “Confident in My Skin” event by giving a visual of modern-day colorism.

She gave the example of Nayara Justino, a dark-skinned Afro-Brazilian woman who was supposed to win the Globeleza Carnival in 2016. Because she didn’t look “acceptable” to be queen, she was replaced with a woman who had lighter skin.

“There is a connection with self-identity due to family and what they say,” said Williams, who added that people tend to be confused on who they are because of what their families tell them to do.

Some women at the event talked about how they had to flat iron their hair a lot because straightened hair was more presentable than wavy or curly hair.

The panel also discussed how the stigma of colorism has caused damage to those who are not only dark-skinned but fair skinned as well, and how individuals tend to not realize the issues they’ve caused.

Williams encouraged an increase in conversations about colorism. She said communication on the form of discrimination can teach individuals to be confident in their own skin and in their natural states.

“Don’t focus on the energy of those who aren’t awake,” Williams said. “If people can’t have those discussions and (are) still stuck in their ways, you let them and protect your space.

“We are going to be who we are. If we can’t be who we are it will damage the person.”