Using white skin colour as the standard, colourism is the allocation of privilege and favor to lighter skin colours and disadvantage to darker skin colours.

It is a term coined by author Alice Walker in her book In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens. Walker defined colourism as the ‘prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on their colour.’

Colourism is where prejudicial treatment is given to darker- skinned Black people and People of Colour and preferential treatment is given to lighter-skinned Black people and People of Colour. It operates both within and across racial and ethnic groups. .