Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon is currently facing accusations of racism because she referred to four contestants as ‘sexy chocolate men’ on the show. As a result, some fans are also calling for her to be fired. I find this debacle very interesting and at best comical. The first thing that came to my mind when I heard it was, so what? This accusation of racism is completely inconsequential.
It’s interesting to note that the majority of the people who found the comment racist were white people. The anger is not fueled by a concern for actual racism – discrimination and prejudice based on someone’s race – rather it’s due to the particular’s group inability to the use the word ‘chocolate’ to describe black people because of the linkage to fetishisation and slavery. Writing with colour has a great post on why this word should be avoided.
NEVER use the words ‘chocolate’ or ‘coffee’ or any other food related word to describe someone’s skin color, especially someone of color. I wrote a whole paper about how referring to darker skin tones as specifically chocolate was about aggression and appropriation and has links to colonialism. Think about it, what is the best way to show dominance? By eating someone – like in the animal kingdom. It’s a disgusting practice, so please watch yourself while writing biographies and replying to people, or even in your short stories/novels
- Suzy aka notanotherrph
Personally I’ve heard black people using the word ‘chocolate’ in a descriptive manner in two scenarios.
- Someone is describing their skin colour or someone else’s so they’ll make a remark such as : My skin colour is like chocolate and yours is like honey, essentially referring to the shade of their skin tone.
- The person is describing their appreciation for someone’s skin colour so they make comments like : ‘Oooh your chocolate skin is gorgeous!’
Scenario 2 in this case applies to Alesha Dixon who by the way is a black woman who used ‘chocolate’ as a term for appreciation. Rather than saying ‘sexy black men’ she says ‘sexy chocolate men’ instead. At best, Alesha Dixon can be accused of poor choice of words and objectification, but not racism.
Below are some of the reactions on twitter.
So I’ll be here waiting for the day that I see this kind of uproar over the lack of visibility and opportunities for people from ethnic minorities in the media / entertainment industry which is actually perpetrated by a racist and discriminatory structure. Till then, I can’t take this kind of outrage on behalf of black people seriously. Thank you