Colorism is prejudice
Prejudice is making a judgment or assumption about someone or something before having enough knowledge to be able to do so with guaranteed accuracy, or "judging a book by its cover"...

 or discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 in which human beings are accorded differing social treatment based on skin color. The preference often gets translated into economic status because of opportunities for work. Colorism can be found across the world. The term is generally used for the phenomenon of people discriminating within their own ethnic groups.

The term colorism refers to when lighter skin tones are preferred and darker skin is considered less desirable or darker skin tones are preferred and lighter skin is considered less desirable. In the United States, the phenomenon also occurs in other populations, such as among Chicano
The terms "Chicano" and "Chicana" are used in reference to U.S. citizens of Mexican descent. However, those terms have a wide range of meanings in various parts of the world. The term began to be widely used during the Chicano Movement, mainly among Mexican Americans, especially in the movement's...

s and other Latino
The demonyms Latino and Latina , are defined in English language dictionaries as:* "a person of Latin-American descent."* "A Latin American."* "A person of Hispanic, especially Latin-American, descent, often one living in the United States."...

s, India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n immigrants and Caucasian Americans.

The name pigmentocracy is given to a group-based social hierarchy based largely on colorism. Also labeled as colorism, which is more discussed than others, is the phenomenon of lighter-skinned people discriminating against darker tones within the same ethnic group.

Many historically favored and continue to favor lighter skin in women. In his foreword to Peter Frost
Peter Frost (anthropologist)
Peter Frost is a Canadian anthropologist.He was awarded his Ph.D. from Université Laval in 1995.He is best known for hypotheses on the evolution of hair, eye and skin colors...

's 2005 Fair Women, Dark Men, University of Washington
University of Washington
University of Washington is a public research university, founded in 1861 in Seattle, Washington, United States. The UW is the largest university in the Northwest and the oldest public university on the West Coast. The university has three campuses, with its largest campus in the University...

 sociologist Pierre L. van den Berghe writes:
"Although virtually all cultures express a marked preference for fair female skin, even those with little or no exposure to European imperialism, and even those whose members are heavily pigmented, many are indifferent to male pigmentation or even prefer men to be darker." A consequence of this is that, since higher-ranking men get to marry more physically desirable women, the upper classes of a society generally tend to develop a lighter complexion than the lower classes by sexual selection
Sexual selection
Sexual selection, a concept introduced by Charles Darwin in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, is a significant element of his theory of natural selection...

 (see also Fisherian runaway
Fisherian runaway
Fisherian runaway is a model of sexual selection, first proposed by R.A. Fisher in 1915, and expanded upon in his 1930 book The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, that suggests an explanation for sexual selection of traits that do not obviously increase fitness of survival, based upon a...


African-Americans in the United States

Colorism in the United States is a practice that began in times of slavery due to white slaveowners' assertion that any person black (African) or associated with blackness was inferior or lowly. Common practices of the time were to allow the slaves with the lighter complexion (more commonly the offspring of the slave masters and their slaves) to engage in less strenuous usually domesticated duties, while the darker, more African looking slaves participated in hard labor, which was more than likely outdoors.

Scientific studies conclude natural human skin color diversity is highest in black/sub-saharan African populations therefore many blacks/sub-saharan Africans or people of sub saharan African descent are naturally light skinned.

Brown paper bag test

The "brown paper bag test" was a ritual once practiced by certain African-American and Creole
Creole peoples
The term Creole and its cognates in other languages — such as crioulo, criollo, créole, kriolu, criol, kreyol, kreol, kriulo, kriol, krio, etc. — have been applied to people in different countries and epochs, with rather different meanings...

 fraternities and sororities
Fraternities and sororities
Fraternities and sororities are fraternal social organizations for undergraduate students. In Latin, the term refers mainly to such organizations at colleges and universities in the United States, although it is also applied to analogous European groups also known as corporations...

 who discriminated against people who were "too dark." That is, these groups would not let anyone into the sorority or fraternity whose skin tone was darker than that of a paper lunch bag, in order to maintain a perception of standards. Spike Lee
Spike Lee
Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee is an American film director, producer, writer, and actor. His production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, has produced over 35 films since 1983....

's film School Daze
School Daze
School Daze is a 1988 American musical-drama film, written and directed by Spike Lee, and starring Laurence Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tisha Campbell-Martin...

satirized this practice at historically black colleges and universities.

Along with the "paper bag test," guidelines for acceptance among the lighter ranks included the "comb test," which tested the coarseness of one's hair, and the "flashlight test," which tested a person's profile to make sure their features measured up or were close enough to those of the Caucasian race.

Media and stereotypes

While stated less explicitly, colorism has been portrayed in episodes of the NBC drama Homicide: Life on the Street
Homicide: Life on the Street
Homicide: Life on the Street is an American police procedural television series chronicling the work of a fictional version of the Baltimore Homicide Unit. It ran for seven seasons on NBC from 1993 to 1999, and was succeeded by a TV movie, which also acted as the de-facto series finale...

. Lighter-skinned African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 superior officers Deputy Commissioner of Operations James C. Harris
James C. Harris
James C. Harris is the fictional Deputy Commissioner of Operations of the Baltimore Police Department on Homicide: Life on the Street, He was played by Al Freeman Jr.-Biography:...

 and Colonel George Barnfather
George Barnfather
George Barnfather is a fictional Deputy Commissioner in the Baltimore Police Department on Homicide: Life on the Street, played by Clayton LeBouef.Barnfather first appeared in the series as a Captain whose command was over the Homicide Section...

 appear to discriminate against main character Baltimore Police Lieutenant Al Giardello
Al Giardello
Alphonse Michael Giardello, Sr. is a fictional character from the television drama Homicide: Life on the Street. The character was played by Yaphet Kotto...

, a darker-skinned African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

. Additionally, African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 women have discriminated against Giardello on the grounds that his appearance is "too black".

Along with the above example, a major issue in American society has been the fact the majority of media outlets (television, movies, advertising, etc.) choose to portray lighter skin people, because on average, that is the national preference. The (light to dark) hierarchy within the African American race is one that has existed since the time of slavery, but its problems and consequences are still very evident. Darker skinned blacks are more likely to have negative relationships with the police, less likely to have higher education or income levels, and less likely to hold public office. Darker skinned people are also considered less intelligent, less desirable (in women mostly), and are overall seen as a lesser people.

Studies have shown that when measuring education and family income, there is a positive sloping curve as the skin of families gets lighter. This does not prove that darker skinned people are discriminated against, but it provides insight as to why these statistics are recurring. Lighter skinned people tend to have higher social standing, more positive networks, and more opportunities to succeed than those of a darker persuasion. Scientists believe this advantage is due to not only to ancestors benefits, but also skin color, which coincides with the belief of colorism affecting peoples lives from past to present. In criminal sentencing, medium to dark-skinned African Americans are likely to receive sentences 2.6 longer than those of whites or light-skinned African Americans, and when a white victim is involved, those with more "black" features are likely to receive a much more severe punishment, reinforcing the idea that those of lighter complexion are of more "value."

The perception of beauty can be influenced by racial stereotypes about skin color; the African American journalist Jill Nelson
Jill Nelson
Jill Nelson is a prominent African American journalist and novelist. She has written several books, including the autobiographical Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience, which won an American Book Award, and is currently Professor of Journalism at the City College of New York.Jill...

 wrote that "to be both prettiest and black was impossible" and elaborated:

As a girl and young woman, hair, body, and color were society's trinity in determining female beauty and identity, the cultural and value-laden gang of three that formed the boundaries and determined the extent of women's visibility, influence, and importance. For the most part, they still are. We learn as girls that in ways both subtle and obvious, personal and political, our value as females is largely determined by how we look. As we enter womanhood, the pervasive power of this trinity is demonstrated again and again in how we are treated by the men we meet, the men we work for, the men who wield power, how we treat each other and, most of all, ourselves. For black women, the domination of physical aspects of beauty in women's definition and value render us invisible, partially erased, or obsessed, sometimes for a lifetime, since most of us lack the major talismans of Western beauty. Black women find themselves involved in a lifelong effort to self-define in a culture that provides them no positive reflection.


Skin whitening
Skin whitening
Skin whitening, skin lightening and skin bleaching refers to the practice of using chemical substances in an attempt to lighten skin tone or provide an even skin complexion by lessening the concentration of melanin...

 products sales grew from $40 to $43 billion in 2008.

In the African-American community, light skin is considered more attractive than dark skin. During slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

, light-skinned African-Americans were perceived as intelligent, cooperative, and beautiful. They were more likely to work as house slaves. Light-skinned Blacks were also given preferential treatment by plantation owners and their henchmen. For example, they had a chance to get an education. Dark African Americans worked in the fields and did not get an education.

Skin Color Paradox

The Skin Color Paradox is an idea that deals with the issue of "being black," meaning how African Americans identify themselves, as well as others with the same experiences or lifestyles. A major issue in this paradox deals with the inconsistencies between a person's socio-economical and cultural preferences and their political preferences. Going along with the colorism issue, the paradox exists due to the fact that lighter skinned and darker skinned African Americans seem to have different experiences (socioeconomically and culturally), yet in the past, and theoretically in the future, will continue to have similar political preferences that benefit the African Americans as a whole.

Political scientists would suggest that skin color is a characteristic perhaps as equally important as religion, income, and education, which explains why the paradox is so surprising, but studies show that skin color (or shade) has no real implications on actual political preferences. Another issue with the paradox is regarding Affirmative Action. Studies show that most African Americans that benefit from Affirmative Action come from families that are better educated and more well off, and historically this means that the lighter-skinned portion of the black race is receiving the majority of the aid, making it appear as if the race as a whole is being benefited.

The "Blue Vein Society"

Following the Emancipation, mulatto
Mulatto denotes a person with one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of mixed black and white ancestry. Contemporary usage of the term varies greatly, and the broader sense of the term makes its application rather subjective, as not all people of mixed white and black...

 societies such as "The Blue Vein Society" came into prominence. Its members were often well-connected free-born or freed individuals of mixed African, Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an, and occasionally of Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 blood. To be eligible for membership, one's skin color had to be pale enough that the "blue veins" on the underside of the arm were visible.

Such restrictive organizations allowed its members and their offspring to meet, co-mingle and marry, thereby preserving what small privilege the mulatto elite had enjoyed before all slaves were set free. Uneducated, or economically disadvantaged mixed-race individuals, even those whose skin color was technically light enough to qualify them for admission, were rarely welcomed, demonstrating that there were more than color issues under consideration.

The original "Blue Veins" were said to have been organized in New England. Their primary objective was to establish and maintain "correct" social standards among people who had achieved some social, educational and economic standing.

In Latin America

Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 has the largest population of African descendants (living outside of Africa) in the world. This large number was a result of the African Slave trade. In Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, skin color plays a large role in differences among the races. Individuals with lighter skin and who are racially mixed generally have higher rates of social mobility
Social mobility
Social mobility refers to the movement of people in a population from one social class or economic level to another. It typically refers to vertical mobility -- movement of individuals or groups up from one socio-economic level to another, often by changing jobs or marrying; but can also refer to...


There are a disproportionate number of mostly European descent elites than those of visible African descent. There are large health, education and income disparities between the races in Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...


In Latin America, light skin is seen as more attractive. In Mexico and in Brazil, light skin represents power. A dark skinned person is more likely to be discriminated against in Brazil. Most South American actors and actresses have mostly European features - light or light-mixed eyes, protruding narrow noses, straight hair and/or pale skin. A light skinned person was considered to be more privileged and have a higher social status. A person with light skin is considered beautiful and it means that the person has more wealth. Those with dark skin and frizzy hair tend to be among the region's poorest and most disenfranchised. Nevertheless, many Brazilians disregard straightening on afro-textured hair as an attitude of shame of their own ethnic and racial origins, and say that persons of African descent should accept themselves as such rather than trying to be "whiter" i.e. fitting in the colourist beauty standards of Latin America. If this reflects more colourism (racist Brazilians perceive straightened afro-textured hair as ridiculous in a risible way, especially in a man, which is often labeled as viadagem, or a greater politicization with respect to race relations and racism, varies greatly with the person.

In South Asia

Even prior to any interactions between Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

ans and South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

ns, colorism has been an issue for South Asian cultures. According to Communist revisionist historians (source needed), color prejudice was introduced due to Aryans from Central Asia invading India in ancient times and subjugating the "dark" indigenous Indians. This form of negationist historical revisionism was part of the British colonial ideology. Much of these theories were simply conjecture fueled by European imperialism. This styling of an Aryan invasion by British colonial fantasies of racial supremacy was incorporated by Communist revisionists as part of waging a Trotskyist permanent revolution
Permanent Revolution
Permanent revolution is a term within Marxist theory, established in usage by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by at least 1850 but which has since become most closely associated with Leon Trotsky. The use of the term by different theorists is not identical...

 in India between perceived "whites" and "darks", and has no basis in genetic or anthropological studies of South Asian populations. More recent studies have also debunked the British claims that so-called "Aryans" and "Dravidians" have a "racial divide". A study conducted by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology
The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology or CCMB is a National level Research laboratory located in Hyderabad, India. CCMB is one of the constituent national laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research CSIR, the premier multidisciplinary Research & Development...

 in 2009 (in collaboration with Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School is the graduate medical school of Harvard University. It is located in the Longwood Medical Area of the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts....

, Harvard School of Public Health
Harvard School of Public Health
The Harvard School of Public Health is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University, located in the Longwood Area of the Boston, Massachusetts neighborhood of Mission Hill, which is next to Harvard Medical School. HSPH is considered a significant school focusing on health in the...

 and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT) analyzed half a million genetic markers across the genomes of 132 individuals from 25 ethnic groups from 13 states in India across multiple caste groups. The study establishes, based on the impossibility of identifying any genetic indicators across caste lines, that castes in South Asia grew out of traditional tribal organizations during the formation of Indian society, and was not the product of any mythical "Aryan Invasion" and "subjugation" of Dravidian people, unlike what British racial-revanchist and revisionist
Historical revisionism (negationism)
Historical revisionism is either the legitimate scholastic re-examination of existing knowledge about a historical event, or the illegitimate distortion of the historical record such that certain events appear in a more or less favourable light. For the former, i.e. the academic pursuit, see...

 claims would have one believe. Vinay Lal's History of India Course at UCLA states otherwise.

The study does go on to state that there were two different populations that originally settled India. They were the Ancestral North Indian (ANI) in the north and the Ancestral South Indian (ASI) in the south. Over time these groups mixed together.

Traditionally, Hinduism has never shown a preference for skin color and dark skinned people can be found in all castes of Hindu society. In the Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

, the character known as Krishna was of dark complexion but was an epitome of beauty. The incarnation of Vishnu, Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 himself (widely revered by Vaishnavites), was said to be "as black as a full raincloud".

Individuals in South Asia have tended to see whiter skin as more beautiful. This was most clearly visible in British India, where skin color served as a signal of high status for British. Thus, those individuals with fairer skin color enjoyed more privileges and opportunities than those with dark skin. Anglo-Indians with more European features were often more upwardly mobile and were considered to have a more affluent status. These individuals gained preferences in education and in employment. Darker skinned individuals were socially and economically disadvantaged due to their appearance. (Beyond the South Asian subcontinent,
persons who were dark-skinned, "black" or "colored" faced a disadvantage in most European-held colonies.)
Most Indian actors and actresses have light skin.

A documentary entitled Shadeism looks closer at how skin color effects the mindset of women.

In East Asia

In eastern parts of Asia, including Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, a preference for lighter skin remains prevalent. In ancient China and Japan, for example, pale skin can be traced back to ancient drawings depicting women and goddesses with fair skin tones. In ancient China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, pale skin was seen as a sign of wealth. Thus, skin whitening
Skin whitening
Skin whitening, skin lightening and skin bleaching refers to the practice of using chemical substances in an attempt to lighten skin tone or provide an even skin complexion by lessening the concentration of melanin...

 cosmetic products are popular in East Asia. 4 out of 10 women surveyed in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, Malaysia, the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 and South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 used a skin-whitening cream, and more than 60 companies globally compete for Asia's estimated $18 billion market.

In the Arab world

Arab culture beautifies the white color. A popular phrase in Northern
-Geography:* Northern , various regions, states, territories, etc.* Northern Range, a range of hills in Trinidad* Northern Highland, a region of Wisconsin, United States-Education:* Northern University , various institutions...

Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 is "al-Husnu ahmar" (beauty is red) whiteness is the ultimate standard color in most Arab societies. The second ranking is called "asmar" (light tan), followed by "dhahabi" (golden), "gamhi" (wheatish), "khamri" (the color of wine), "akhdar" (light black/green). "Akhdhar" is used as a polite alternative of the word "black" in describing the color of a dark-skinned Arab. The early Arabs used the word "akhdar" (green) to describe people of known Arab nobility and lineage whose color was black. Last and least is azraq. which literally means "blue", but it is used interchangeably with aswad to mean "black" In the past, however it referred to whiteness or light skin.

In Africa

Skin bleaching is popular in Senegal and all across West Africa, especially among women.

Americo Liberians

In Liberia, descendants of African-American settlers (renamed Americo-Liberians) in part defined social class and standing by raising people with lighter skin above those with dark skin. The first Americo-Liberian presidents such as Joseph Jenkins Roberts
Joseph Jenkins Roberts
Joseph Jenkins Roberts was the first and seventh President of Liberia. Born free in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, Roberts emigrated to Liberia in 1829 as a young man. He opened a trading store in Monrovia, and later engaged in politics...

, James Spriggs-Payne, and Alfred Francis Russell
Alfred Francis Russell
Alfred Francis Russell served as the tenth President of Liberia from 1883 to 1884. He immigrated to Liberia in 1833 with his mother, Amelie "Milly" Crawford, his cousin, Lucretia Russell and her four children Cynthia, Gilbert, George, and Henry...

 had considerable proportions of European ancestry. Most may have been only one-quarter or one-eighth African American. Other aspects of their rising to power, however, likely related to their chances for having obtained education and work that provided good livings.

Edward Roye was the first representative of dark-skinned African-American settlers in Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

. The light-skinned party was the Republican Party (Liberia)
Republican Party (Liberia)
The Republican Party of Liberia was a political party founded soon after the founding of Liberia in 1848. It was known to be made up primarily of Americo-Liberians who had mixed African and European ancestry...

 and the dark-skinned party was the True Whig Party.

In addition to rivalries among descendants of African Americans, the Americans held themselves above the native Africans in Liberia. Thus, descendants of Americans held and kept power out of proportion to their representation in the population of the entire country, so there was a larger issue than color at work.

See also

  • African American culture
    African American culture
    African-American culture, also known as black culture, in the United States refers to the cultural contributions of Americans of African descent to the culture of the United States, either as part of or distinct from American culture. The distinct identity of African-American culture is rooted in...

  • Black is beautiful
    Black is beautiful
    Black is beautiful is a cultural movement that began in the United States of America in the 1960s by African Americans. It later spread to much of the black world, most prominently in the writings of the Black Consciousness Movement of Steve Biko in South Africa...

  • Colonial mentality
    Colonial mentality
    Colonial mentality is an area of study and a conceptual theory in Cultural anthropology that refers to institutionalized or systemic feelings of inferiority within some societies or people who have been subjected to colonialism, relative to the values of the foreign powers which had previously...

  • Human skin color
    Human skin color
    Human skin color is primarily due to the presence of melanin in the skin. Skin color ranges from almost black to white with a pinkish tinge due to blood vessels underneath. Variation in natural skin color is mainly due to genetics, although the evolutionary causes are not completely certain...

  • Nordicism
    Nordic theory
    The Nordic race is one of the racial subcategories into which the Caucasian race was divided by anthropologists in the first half of the 20th century...

  • One-drop rule
    One-drop rule
    The one-drop rule is a historical colloquial term in the United States for the social classification as black of individuals with any African ancestry; meaning any person with "one drop of black blood" was considered black...

  • Paper bag party
    Paper Bag Party
    Paper bag parties were 20th-century African-American social events at which only individuals with complexions at least as light as the color of a brown paper bag were admitted...

  • Race
  • Racialism
    Racialism is an emphasis on race or racial considerations. Currently, racialism entails a belief in the existence and significance of racial categories, but not necessarily that any absolute hierarchy between the races has been demonstrated by a rigorous and comprehensive scientific process...

  • Racism
    Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

  • Shadism
    Shadism, a legacy of slavery, is a form of skin tone bias that identifies groups and individuals on the basis of their degreeof pigmentation . It is an evaluation of people that minutely registers traits such as skin color,...

  • Skin whitening
    Skin whitening
    Skin whitening, skin lightening and skin bleaching refers to the practice of using chemical substances in an attempt to lighten skin tone or provide an even skin complexion by lessening the concentration of melanin...

  • Social interpretations of race
    Social interpretations of race
    Social interpretations of race regard the common categorizations of people into different races, often with biologist tagging of particular "racial" attributes beyond mere anatomy, as more socially and culturally determined than based upon biology...

  • Whiteness
    Whiteness studies
    Whiteness studies is an interdisciplinary arena of academic inquiry focused on the cultural, historical and sociological aspects of people identified as white, and the social construction of whiteness as an ideology tied to social status...

Further reading

  • The Color Complex by Kathy Russell, Midge Wilson, and Ronald Hall (ISBN 0-385-47161-0)
  • Don't Play In the Sun by Marita Golden (ISBN 0-385-50786-0)
  • The Bluest Eye
    The Bluest Eye
    The Bluest Eye is a 1970 novel by American author Toni Morrison. It is Morrison's first novel, written while Morrison was teaching at Howard University and was raising her two sons on her own. The story is about a year in the life of a young black girl in Lorain, Ohio, named Pecola...

    by Toni Morrison
    Toni Morrison
    Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon and Beloved...

     (ISBN 0-452-28219-5)
  • The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman (ISBN 0-684-81580-X)
  • Caucasia by Danzy Senna
    Danzy Senna
    -Biography:Danzy Senna was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the middle child of three children. Her mother is the Anglo-American poet and novelist Fanny Howe. Her father is the African-American writer and journalist, Carl Senna, author of The Black Press and the Struggle for Civil Rights and The...

  • Is Lighter Better?: Skin-Tone Discrimination Among Asian Americans Joanne L. Rondilla, Paul R. Spickard ISBN 0742554945

External links

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