The Real Housewives of the Potomac the cast members have gotten a lot of backlash this season, specifically the so-called mean girls in the group, Gizelle Bryant and Robyn Dixon. While they have been known to team up with their co-stars, this season, viewers say their behavior is more vicious. Furthermore, they have been accused of colorism. But Bryant doesn’t care about criticism or claims of colorism.
What is colourism?
the National Coalition of Christians and Jews defines colorism as: “A practice of discrimination whereby lighter-skinned people are treated more favorably than darker-skinned people. This practice is a product of racism in the United States, as it upholds white beauty standards and benefits whites in institutions of oppression (media, medical world, etc.).”
Colorism is embedded in racism and goes back to slavery. During those times, lighter-skinned slaves were treated better than darker-skinned slaves, even being granted “special privileges.” Some included being welcomed into the main house by their slave masters, better job opportunities, and better food. On the other hand, darker-skinned slaves apparently received harsher punishments and performed more difficult jobs. Lighter-skinned slaves were often favored because they were the product of rape by their masters.
Moving on to modern times, the “paper bag test” was often used in black spaces and impacted hiring black employees and hiring practices. There is a known history of darker-skinned black people being viewed as a threat, physically and metaphorically, and the images we see on screen impact that. Reality television is not exempt. And in the last seasons of rhopthe cast have been given specific examples of how colorism exists on the show.
The cast of ‘RHOP’ has been accused of colorism
Candiace Dillard Bassett has been the most vocal about colorism on the show. She has been accused of hitting below the belt during verbal spats with her co-stars, but backlash is not uncommon. As she put it during the season 6 reunion special when Cohen confronted her about her behavior on the show and on Twitter, “Welcome to the stage.” This is what housewives are famous for.
But Dillard Bassett says she’s continually held down, while her lighter-skinned co-stars and other lighter-skinned Bravolebrities get a pass. In an interview with the daily beast, talked about how colorism is clear on the show. She explained:
When I first joined this cast and would get into any disagreements with my cast, my first inclination was not to go straight for colorism. I didn’t want to believe that right away. But it became so clear when the audience wants to vilify me. And let’s say someone like Ashley is responding or reacting in a very similar way. Somehow, when I do it, it’s aggressive. And when Ashley does it, she’s, you know…she’s praised for being messy. And I am slandered and banished to the basement. And I’ll be clear that I think most of the colorism we experience comes from the audience space. I don’t think my cast is wielding any power against us on purpose or willingly.
Gizelle Bryant doesn’t care about criticism
Bryant recently appeared on the Sherri show next to her green eyes BFF-Dixon. The subject of colorism was brought up, with Shepherd asking the two women: “People, they love you, but some people have been criticizing you. They say it’s bullying or colorism. What would you say to that?
Bryant said firmly that he doesn’t mind the online chatter. She told Shepherd: “You know, everyone is entitled to their own opinion about us. But that’s social media. I always feel like social media doesn’t pay us. So I don’t pay attention to it. By the time you pay us, I’ll be fully involved. Until then, I just…it’s just nonsense.”
Despite that, the conversation about colorism in the franchise continues. It was briefly addressed by Andy Cohen during the reunion specials of seasons 5 and 6. Hopefully, there’s a deeper dive this upcoming season.