Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them All? Colourism and light skinned privilege

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Oceania on 2019-08-15 18:12Z by Steven

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them All? Colourism and light skinned privilege

The Pin
2018-02-11

Elodie Silberstein, Artist & Scholar
Brooklyn, New York

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them All? Colourism and light skinned privilege
Image Credit: Elodie Silberstein

Footscray station. Fifteen minutes by train from the city centre and here I am, in the multicultural melting pot of Melbourne. I feel thrilled. I want to sense the buzzing atmosphere of the market, and to replenish the stock of hair products that I use to enhance my natural curls. Some friends advised me to look for the requisite articles in the numerous shops of the East African community. Being new to Australia, I struggle to find products in mainstream stores that are suitable for my textured hair inherited from my Cameroonian father and French mother. The first beauty salon I encounter sets the scene. The flagship products in the window display immediately grab my attention: skin-lightening body lotions, whitening soaps… you name it, they have it. Smiley models display their charms all over the packaging promising to women of colour a lighter skin tone. A few applications, et voilà! Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? Faced with this extravaganza of skin-whitening products I am suddenly brought back to my childhood in Cameroon, and I cannot help but feel my heart sinking.

Growing up mixed-race in Douala was a peculiar experience. Interracial unions were rare in the 1970s. My parents were a bit of a curiosity. I became used to being called chocolat au lait (milk chocolate) by my neighbours. It did not take me long to realise the obvious advantages that my lighter hue provided me over my dark chocolate counterparts in the white, but also in the black community…

Read the entire article here.

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Beneath the Surface: A Transnational History of Skin Lighteners

Posted in Africa, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, South Africa, Women on 2019-08-12 01:27Z by Steven

Beneath the Surface: A Transnational History of Skin LightenersBeneath the Surface: A Transnational History of Skin Lighteners

Duke University Press
January 2020
376 pages
85 illustrations (incl. 39 in color)
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0642-8
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0538-4

Lynn M. Thomas, Professor of History
University of Washington

Beneath the Surface

For more than a century, skin lighteners have been an ubiquitous feature of global popular culture—embraced by consumers even as they were fiercely opposed by medical professionals, consumer health advocates, and antiracist thinkers and activists. In Beneath the Surface, Lynn M. Thomas constructs a transnational history of skin lighteners in South Africa and beyond. Analyzing a wide range of archival, popular culture, and oral history sources, Thomas traces the changing meanings of skin color from precolonial times to the postcolonial present. From indigenous skin-brightening practices and the rapid spread of lighteners in South African consumer culture during the 1940s and 1950s to the growth of a billion-dollar global lightener industry, Thomas shows how the use of skin lighteners and experiences of skin color have been shaped by slavery, colonialism, and segregation, as well as consumer capitalism, visual media, notions of beauty, and protest politics. In teasing out lighteners’ layered history, Thomas theorizes skin as a site for antiracist struggle and lighteners as a technology of visibility that both challenges and entrenches racial and gender hierarchies.

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Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, United States, Women on 2019-08-12 01:27Z by Steven

Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism

New York University Press
March 2020
280 pages
6.00 x 9.00 in
Paperback ISBN: 9781479800292
Hardcover ISBN: 9781479881086

Edited by:

Nikki Khanna, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Vermont

Whiter

Heartfelt personal accounts from Asian American women on their experiences with skin color bias, from being labeled “too dark” to becoming empowered to challenge beauty standards

“I have a vivid memory of standing in my grandmother’s kitchen, where, by the table, she closely watched me as I played. When I finally looked up to ask why she was staring, her expression changed from that of intent observer to one of guilt and shame. . . . ‘My anak (dear child),’ she began, ‘you are so beautiful. It is a shame that you are so dark. No Filipino man will ever want to marry you.’” —“Shade of Brown,” Noelle Marie Falcis

How does skin color impact the lives of Asian American women? In Whiter, thirty Asian American women provide first-hand accounts of their experiences with colorism in this collection of powerful, accessible, and brutally honest essays, edited by Nikki Khanna.

Featuring contributors of many ages, nationalities, and professions, this compelling collection covers a wide range of topics, including light-skin privilege, aspirational whiteness, and anti-blackness. From skin-whitening creams to cosmetic surgery, Whiter amplifies the diverse voices of Asian American women who continue to bravely challenge the power of skin color in their own lives.

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Biracial American Colorism: Passing for White

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Social Justice, United States on 2019-07-24 22:56Z by Steven

Biracial American Colorism: Passing for White

American Behavioral Scientist
Volume: 62 issue: 14 (The Implications of Colorism vis-à-vis Demographic Variation in a New Millennium)
DOI: 10.1177/0002764218810747
pages 2072-2086

Keshia L. Harris
University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Biracial Americans constitute a larger portion of the U.S. population than is often acknowledged. According to the U.S. Census, 8.4 million people or 2.6% of the population identified with two or more racial origins in 2016. Arguably, these numbers are misleading considering extensive occurrences of interracial pairings between Whites and minority racial groups throughout U.S. history. Many theorists posit that the hypodescent principle of colorism, colloquially known as “the one drop rule,” has influenced American racial socialization in such a way that numerous individuals primarily identify with one racial group despite having parents from two different racial backgrounds. While much of social science literature examines the racial identification processes of biracial Americans who identify with their minority heritage, this article focuses on contextual factors such as family income, neighborhood, religion, and gender that influence the decision for otherwise African/Asian/Latino/Native Americans to identify as White.

Read or purchase the article here.

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The Globalization of Light Skin Colorism: From Critical Race to Critical Skin Theory

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science on 2019-07-24 22:50Z by Steven

The Globalization of Light Skin Colorism: From Critical Race to Critical Skin Theory

American Behavioral Scientist
Volume: 62 issue: 14 (The Implications of Colorism vis-à-vis Demographic Variation in a New Millennium)
DOI: 10.1177/0002764218810755
pages 2133–2145

Ronald E. Hall, Professor of Social Work
Michigan State University

On the cusp of Western civilization, Caucasians aspired to a racial world order defining Caucasian as superior race status. Today, racial diversity is a societal theme facilitated by laws, which deems racial equality a right and racial discrimination illegal. Nevertheless, by globalization, a racial world order exists by locating light skin at the zenith of humanity. As pertains to the globalization of light skin, culture and social criteria are most significant considering the demands of a racist racial hierarchy. The existence of such a hierarchy by replacing racism with colorism then necessitates moving beyond race category. Critical race theory (CRT) per light skin as new world order must defer to critical skin theory (CST). Colorism per CST operates identical in manner to racism per CRT. CST must then be elevated to priority over CRT such that the future of humanity may be rescued from the tenacious transgressions of a racist societal past.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Lil’ Kim’s Lighter, Whiter Skin Is a Sad Indictment of Racism

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2019-07-14 01:20Z by Steven

Lil’ Kim’s Lighter, Whiter Skin Is a Sad Indictment of Racism

The Daily Beast
2016-04-26

Yaba Blay


Handout; Instagram

Why has Lil’ Kim seemingly lightened her skin? Because of the absurd, but very present, social advantage for black people that comes with having lighter skin.

There was a time when Lil’ Kim represented a brand of unapologetic self-love for black women. The kind that announced that we are sexual beings without shame or fear. She reflected what it might look like to be at once a woman, black, and sexually free. Visually, her body was a site for pleasure, most importantly her own.

Sonically, her lyrics offered us permission to explore our own bodies and our own pleasure. Lil’ Kim was our champion.

I’m not sure what she’s now championing. In a series of pictures she posted on Instagram, she is virtually unrecognizable.

While we have debated whether other celebrities like Beyoncé and Rihanna have actually lightened their skin or if the magazines that featured their images had photoshopped their complexions, with Kim, there surely can be little question.

It looks as though she has lightened her once black-girl-brown complexion to one that’s not so brown at all. Her hair is longer, straighter, blonder. Her once round nose now thin. Even her eyes sit differently on her face. She’s changed, in ways that words can’t even begin to capture. And it hurts…

Read the entire article here.

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I’m Darker Than My Daughter. Here’s Why It Matters.

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-25 02:31Z by Steven

I’m Darker Than My Daughter. Here’s Why It Matters.

NYT Parenting
The New York Times
2019-05-21

Norma Newton

Norma Newton and her daughter at their home in Los Angeles.
Norma Newton and her daughter at their home in Los Angeles.
Carolina Adame

Breaching colorism with my little girl sent me reeling back into my childhood shame.

Our bedtime routine that night started off like so many others, harried but mostly sweet. After making our way through brushing teeth and getting into pajamas, my daughter and I lay down on her bedroom floor to sing songs, the final step before crawling into bed.

When I tried to curl up next to my 4-year-old, though, I sensed her hesitation. She wiggled her little body away from mine each time I inched closer. “Do you not want mommy close to you, sweetie?” I asked, assuming she was initiating a game to extend our nighttime ritual. Her light-brown eyes locked in on me as she brushed her honey-colored locks aside with her hand.

In a casual on-the-edge-of-sleep voice she cooed, “Your skin is dark. I don’t want you to touch me.”

My brown Indigenous Latina body stiffened; I labored to breathe, outraged and confused. She rendered me speechless…

Read the entire article here.

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UMaine artist explores the many shades of colorism in exhibit

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-04 20:05Z by Steven

UMaine artist explores the many shades of colorism in exhibit

Bangor Daily News
2018-02-21

Emily Burnham

It wasn’t until she moved away from her home state of Maine, the whitest state in the country, that visual artist Eleanor Kipping realized it isn’t just her mixed race that affects the way she moves in the world — it’s also her lighter skin tone.

Discrimination toward people based on the shade of their skin, with favor given to fairer tones, is known as colorism — related to racism but often practiced within a specific community of people of color.

“I knew that I was a person of color, but it was in exploring that that I discovered colorism and my light skin in relation to that,” said Kipping, 29, a native of Old Town now back in Maine as a graduate student in the Intermedia MFA program at the University of Maine….

…The images are mounted on frames, on the backside of which is brown paper. The “brown paper bag test,” for which the installation is named, was a real “test” administered by among black people in the late 18th and 19th centuries, in which skin the same tone or lighter than a brown paper bag was deemed desirable for acceptance into black fraternities or social clubs, and darker was not…

Read the entire article and watch the video here.

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Backlash Over Ad Depicting Naomi Osaka With Light Skin Prompts Apology

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2019-01-22 16:36Z by Steven

Backlash Over Ad Depicting Naomi Osaka With Light Skin Prompts Apology

The New York Times
2019-01-22

Daniel Victor


At left, a cartoon version of Naomi Osaka in an ad for Nissin, a Japanese instant-noodle brand; at right, the real Ms. Osaka at the Australian Open this month.
Nissin; Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Naomi Osaka, the half-Haitian, half-Japanese tennis champion, is the star of a new Japanese anime-style advertisement.

The problem? The cartoon Ms. Osaka bears little resemblance to her real, biracial self.

Her skin was unmistakably lightened, and her hair style changed — a depiction that has prompted criticism in Japan, where she has challenged a longstanding sense of cultural and racial homogeneity.

The ad — unveiled this month by Nissin, one of the world’s largest instant-noodle brands — features Ms. Osaka and Kei Nishikori, Japan’s top-ranked male tennis player, in a cartoon drawn by Takeshi Konomi, a well-known manga artist whose series “The Prince of Tennis” is popular in Japan…

Mr. Konomi and Ms. Osaka, who faces Elina Svitolina in an Australian Open quarterfinal match on Wednesday, have not publicly commented on the backlash to the ad…

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Color Struck: How Race and Complexion Matter in the “Color-Blind” Era

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Campus Life, Economics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Social Work, United States, Women on 2018-12-03 03:34Z by Steven

Color Struck: How Race and Complexion Matter in the “Color-Blind” Era

Sense Publishers
2017
218 pages
ISBN Paperback: 9789463511087
ISBN Hardcover: 9789463511094
ISBN E-Book: 9789463511100

Edited by:

Lori Latrice Martin, Associate Professor of Sociology
Louisiana State University

Hayward Derrick Horton, Professor of Sociology
State University of New York, Albany

Cedric Herring, Professor and Director of the Language, Literacy, and Culture (LLC)
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Verna M. Keith, Professor of Sociology
Texas A&M University

Melvin Thomas, Associate Professor of Sociology
North Carolina State University

Skin color and skin tone has historically played a significant role in determining the life chances of African Americans and other people of color. It has also been important to our understanding of race and the processes of racialization. But what does the relationship between skin tone and stratification outcomes mean? Is skin tone correlated with stratification outcomes because people with darker complexions experience more discrimination than those of the same race with lighter complexions? Is skin tone differentiation a process that operates external to communities of color and is then imposed on people of color? Or, is skin tone discrimination an internally driven process that is actively aided and abetted by members of communities of color themselves? Color Struck provides answers to these questions. In addition, it addresses issues such as the relationship between skin tone and wealth inequality, anti-black sentiment and whiteness, Twitter culture, marriage outcomes and attitudes, gender, racial identity, civic engagement and politics at predominately White Institutions. Color Struck can be used as required reading for courses on race, ethnicity, religious studies, history, political science, education, mass communications, African and African American Studies, social work, and sociology.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction / Lori Latrice Martin
  • 1. Race, Skin Tone, and Wealth Inequality in America / Cedric Herring and Anthony Hynes
  • 2. Mentions and Melanin: Exploring the Colorism Discourse and Twitter Culture / Sarah L. Webb and Petra A. Robinson
  • 3. Beyond Black and White but Still in Color: Preliminary Findings of Skin Tone and Marriage Attitudes and Outcomes among African American Young Adults / Antoinette M. Landor
  • 4. Connections or Color? Predicting Colorblindness among Blacks / Vanessa Gonlin
  • 5. Black Body Politics in College: Deconstructing Colorism and Hairism toward Black Women’s Healing / Latasha N. Eley
  • 6. Biracial Butterflies: 21st Century Racial Identity in Popular Culture / Paul Easterling
  • 7. Confronting Colorism: An Examination into the Social and Psychological Aspects of Colorism / Jahaan Chandler
  • 8. How Skin Tone Shapes Civic Engagement among Black Americans / Robert L. Reece and Aisha A. Upton
  • 9. The Complexity of Color and the Religion of Whiteness / Stephen C. Finley and Lori Latrice Martin
  • About the Contributors
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