The Racialization of Accompaniment

The Racialization of Accompaniment

Can Privilege Be Used Transparently?
By Sara Koopman
The Racialization of AccompanimentAccompaniers often say that they “make space for peace.” I recently finished a Ph.D. in human geography, which is the study of the relationship between society and space – so my dissertation is an attempt to think about how accompaniers “make space” and the role that privilege plays in that work.

“Mona, mona!” I am regularly called out as “white girl” when I walk down the street in Colombia. As a lighter-skinned person I am hyper-visible in Colombia, and regularly reminded of my color. It is the opposite of how invisible whiteness can be to me at times as a “white” person in the United States. As in the global North, though, whiteness is considered desirable and attractive, and thus all the more important for women. The models in Colombian beauty ads are almost always light-skinned, even blond, as are the news announcers. Hair straightening is common. Green contact lenses are another popular form of whitening.
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