Color Matters : Skin Tone Bias and the Myth of a Postracial America book cover
1st Edition

Color Matters
Skin Tone Bias and the Myth of a Postracial America

ISBN 9780415517751
Published December 9, 2013 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

In the United States, as in many parts of the world, people are discriminated against based on the color of their skin. This type of skin tone bias, or colorism, is both related to and distinct from discrimination on the basis of race, with which it is often conflated. Preferential treatment of lighter skin tones over darker occurs within racial and ethnic groups as well as between them. While America has made progress in issues of race over the past decades, discrimination on the basis of color continues to be a constant and often unremarked part of life.

In Color Matters, Kimberly Jade Norwood has collected the most up-to-date research on this insidious form of discrimination, including perspectives from the disciplines of history, law, sociology, and psychology. Anchored with historical chapters that show how the influence and legacy of slavery have shaped the treatment of skin color in American society, the contributors to this volume bring to light the ways in which colorism affects us all--influencing what we wear, who we see on television, and even which child we might pick to adopt. Sure to be an eye-opening collection for anyone curious about how race and color continue to affect society, Color Matters provides students of race in America with wide-ranging overview of a crucial topic.

Table of Contents

Introduction Kimberly Norwood 1. The Ubiquitousness of Colorism: Then and Now, Kimberly Norwood and Violeta Foreman 2. The Origins of Colorism in Early American Law, Paul Finkelman 3. The Rise and Fall of the One-Drop Rule: How the Importance of Color Came to Eclipse Race, Kevin D. Brown 4. A Darker Shade of Pale Revisited: Disaggregated Blackness and Colorism in the "Postracial" Obama Era, Taunya Banks 5. Interracial Intimacy in the Context of Colorism: How Skin Color Matters, Kellina Craig-Henderson 6. Fragmented Identity: Psychological Insecurity and Colorism among African Americans, Vetta Sanders Thompson 7. Colorism and Blackthink: A Modern Augmentation of Double Consciousness, Kimberly Jade Norwood 8. The Implications of Skin Color vis-à-vis Discrimination: Revisiting Affirmative Action, Ronald Hall and Adrienne Johnson 9. A New Way Forward: The Development and Preliminary Validation of Two Colorism Scales, Richard D. Harvey, Kira Hudson Banks, and Rachel E. Tennial

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Kimberly Jade Norwood is Professor of Law and Professor of African and African American Studies at Washington University, St. Louis.


"Distinctions based on skin tone are not as obvious as overt discrimination between black versus white, and therefore are rarely acknowledged. The glare of race obscures this more subtle form of discrimination. Color Matters casts a revealing light on this (often) taboo subject. Summing Up: Highly recommended." -W. Glasker, Rutgers, USA in CHOICE