1st Edition

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Colorism Beyond Black and White

By Ronald E. Hall Copyright 2023
    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    This timely and unique book explores the concept of colorism, which is discrimination based on the color of a person’s skin, in a world where arguably light skin is privileged over dark, and one’s wealth, health, and opportunities are impacted by skin color, sometimes irrespective of one’s racial background.

    In the context of our multi-cultural and increasingly global society, and the historical backdrop of slavery, the text takes a unique approach by moving from personal anecdotes to adopting a scientific perspective grounded in empirical evidence. Hall explores how skin color is a more effective framework for examining prejudice and discrimination, as racial identities become increasingly mixed due to inter-racial unions and immigration. He argues that racism as discrimination by race is contrived, polarizing, and non-quantifiable, and that it is often skin color that is used to "identify" race, often inaccurately. With skin color being a visual and physical characteristic, with race-based prejudices attached to it, the author shows how skin color can be a loaded identifier of value and identity. In a world where the objective measure of skin color crosses racial boundaries and where race will become increasingly indiscernible over time, the ultimate aim of this book is to prepare for the social future of mankind that has already begun to take shape.

    Split into three parts, examining historical, contemporary, and potential future perspectives on colorism, this is fascinating reading for students and academics in psychology, social work, education, criminal justice, and other social sciences. The text will also be useful for providing validation for including colorism into the public domain.

    Historical. 1. Introduction. 2. The Colonial Origins of Colorism. 3. Field Negro and the House Negro. 4. Fancy Girls and Run 'Round Men. 5. The Mulatto Hypothesis. Contemporary. 6. Colorism by Education. 7. Colorism by Occupation. 8. Colorism by Income. 9. Health Risks in Stillbirth Colorism. 10. The Bleaching Syndrome. 11. Brown Racism as Pre-Colorism. Future. 12. Colorism as Racism in the 21st Century. 13. Conclusion. 14. Index.


    Dr. Ronald E. Hall is Professor in the School of Social Work, at Michigan State University, USA. Dr. Hall’s research comprises more than 150 (co)-authored publications, interviews, and presentations pertaining to colorism including 15 books. He testified as an expert witness for America’s first case of colorism litigation between African Americans: Morrow v. IRS.

    "As a leading global expert on colorism, Dr. Hall eloquently, poignantly invites the reader to investigate the melanin misconceptions that shape our lived realities. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Colorism: Beyond Black and White features a seminal perspective on the historical, colonial and contemporary legacies of colorism, while turning an eye to what the future holds."
    - Amrit Dhillon, Podcast Host: Shadeism

    "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Colorism: Beyond Black and White, is riveting and illuminating!... I highly recommend this book. It is a must read, if we truly are to understand and gain insights into Colorism one of society's most complex issues amongst people of color. It pertains to the causes or impacts per assimilation, bleaching, attractiveness, brown racism, income disparities, identity politics and the resultant physical (eg. stillbirths) and mental health challenges.

    Professor Hall, who is one of the leading colorism scholars, argues persuasively and convincingly for the need of a paradigm shift from old, outdated models of colorism to more evidence-based models of colorism and melanin, that enlighten, educate and potentially could impact and shape social policy that ultimately inform, improve and save lives in our Black communities."

    - Dr. Richard G. Majors, Consulting Counselling Psychologist, former Clinical Fellow, Harvard Medical School, and bestselling coauthor of the classic Cool Pose: The Dilemmas of Black Manhood in America.

    "In this provocative and challenging tour de force, Professor Ronald E. Hall unveils the sordid underpinnings of the societal hierarchy that privileges lighter skin over darker skin. This book exposes the historical, cultural, and economic forces that have led to colorism supplanting racism as the main engine of stratification as well as the adoption of extreme measures like skin bleaching, which can cause dire health outcomes. Anyone interested in racial, gender, and social equity should read this book."

    - Joni Hersch, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Law and Economics, Vanderbilt University

    "In this stirring and profound work Dr. Hall exposes readers to the taboos of colorism heretofore dismissed from public discourse. In detail are dramatic accounts of a skin color hierarchy rooted in history and culture that privileges light-skinned persons and denigrates their dark-skinned counterparts. This book is a must read for those seeking a glimpse into the future social environment of mankind."

    - Kevin Brown, Richard S. Melvin Professor, Maurer School of Law