Madison Grant (Xavier University)

My journey as a Black woman has pushed me to express my story and the story of women around me. As I explore my womanhood, I search for ways to bring the experience of Black women to life. Colorism has been present in our community for far too long. The paper bag test began in the 20th century as a method to compare an individual’s skin tone to a paper bag. Those who were lighter than a paper bag were permitted with more privileges than those who were darker. The paper bag test may have ended but it left behind discrimination and division within the Black community. The burning of the paper bag not only represents the ending of a discriminatory practice but the burning of the colorist standards in our society. This artwork is for every young girl teased for her skin tone, for every girl who never saw someone with her complexion on television. This is for every woman who was told she was too dark; every microaggression experienced based on skin tone. For every woman society made feel less beautiful because of the color of her skin, and for every woman put through a paper bag test: This is for you.