Mexico’s Color Line and the Cultural Imperialism of Light-Skin Preference

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico on 2018-05-28 23:27Z by Steven

Mexico’s Color Line and the Cultural Imperialism of Light-Skin Preference

Truthout
2018-05-26

Roberto Rodriguez, Associate Professor in Mexican American Studies
University of Arizona

A busy street in Mexico City. (Photo: Getty Images)
A busy street in Mexico City. (Photo: Getty Images)

The color of the people of Mexico is one of the things that had a most profound effect on my psyche when I first visited the place of my birth in 1976 at the age of 22. The people came in all colors, though primarily different shades of red-brown, owing to the nation’s Indigenous roots.

Having grown up in a white-dominant society, it was an affirmation of my own brown skin color, in sharp contrast with the artificial color of official Mexico. I was used to seeing government bureaucrats and those that graced the nation’s television screens with light skin, bleached blond hair and artificial blue or green eyes.

The truth is, more than 40 years later, the nation’s color line has seemingly not changed much at all. When I first noticed this preference for light skin in Mexico, it was present at every turn and every corner. It wasn’t just a case of difference, but also disdain. Apparently, all things that were light were “good” and all things dark were “bad.” This was especially true of television. White or light skin was preferred for virtually every role, except the ones for the subservient, demeaning and outlaw roles…

Read the entire article here.

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When It Comes To Diversity, The Fashion and Beauty Industry Are The Absolute Worst

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-11 04:32Z by Steven

When It Comes To Diversity, The Fashion and Beauty Industry Are The Absolute Worst

Medium
2018-02-09

Ezinne Ukoha


These are some of the top fashion magazine covers of 2017

Including the sexy magazines that can’t stand dark-skinned models with puffy hair

As a child — I endured the casual comments from family friends who couldn’t help expressing how much I looked like my mother with the exception of her lighter skin — which I unfortunately didn’t inherit. This practice of exaggerating how my dark-skin didn’t measure up continued with my boarding school mates — who once compared my looks to one of the popular girls — and concluded that even though we looked alike — she was prettier.

We did sort of resemble each other — but she wasn’t prettier. She was just light-skinned. That same rhetoric was responsible for the infatuation and fascination assigned to the biracial students who almost always won beauty competitions and anything else that required the adulation of their prized features.

Interestingly enough — I never pressured myself into sourcing ways to solve the issue of my dark skin — the way other Nigerian women have resolved to do — at the risk of their health. Skin bleaching was a dirty secret when I was growing up — because even though it was glaringly obvious that Mrs. Kalu was indulging in potent solutions that couldn’t quite penetrate her knuckles, elbows or feet — we had to act as if her new complexion wasn’t weird as fuck.

My mother did an excellent job boosting my ego — and as a result there was hardly a time when I stared at the mirror and imagined how much more desirable I would be if the gods had been a little more miserly with the strokes of deep chocolate.

However — when I moved to the States to pursue my college degree — I was greeted with hard truths of what it means to be a “regular Black girl” — during an era when such a disposition was guaranteed to get you nowhere — especially in industries that catered to fashion and entertainment…

Read the entire article here.

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Feminism 101: What is White Passing Privilege?

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-12-22 19:29Z by Steven

Feminism 101: What is White Passing Privilege?

FEM Magazine
University of California, Los Angeles
2017-12-16

Catherine Pham


Design by Jennifer Dodge

Racial passing is when someone’s features cause them to be mistaken for another racial or ethnic group. Depend on what race or ethnicity people pass as, they can experience different treatment which can be advantageous or detrimental. White passing privilege is the additional privilege some people of color (POC) are afforded when their features, such as skin color or hair texture, cause them to be mistaken as white. For instance, white passing Latinx people will most likely avoid being racially profiled, questioned about their citizenship or lack thereof, or doubted for their English-speaking skills or education status. Prominent actors of color like Rashida Jones, and Keanu Reeves tend to be white passing — because their white appearances allow them to get larger, more multidimensional roles rather than being typecast

Read the entire article here.

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Call for Essays: Shades of Prejudice: Asian American Women on Colorism in America from NYU Press, Edited by Nikki Khanna (Forthcoming 2018)

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers, Women on 2017-10-17 02:34Z by Steven

Call for Essays: Shades of Prejudice: Asian American Women on Colorism in America from NYU Press, Edited by Nikki Khanna (Forthcoming 2018)

Nikki Khanna, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Vermont
Department of Sociology
31 South Prospect Street
Burlington, Vermont 05405
Telephone: (802) 656-2162

2017-07-06

DEADLINE: Manuscripts will be accepted on a rolling basis, though the final deadline is OCTOBER 31, 2017.

I am pleased to announce an open submission call for my forthcoming anthology from New York University Press, SHADES OF PREJUDICE, a collection of essays written by Asian American women about their personal experiences with colorism.

Colorism is the practice of discrimination whereby light skin is privileged over dark, and is a global issue affecting racial groups worldwide. Colorism exists is just about every part of Asia and affects Asian diasporas, including most Asian American communities—including those descended from Southeast Asia (e.g., India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia), but also those from Japan, China, and other parts of Eastern Asia.

I am looking for Asian American women (including multiracial American women with Asian ancestry) to share their personal experiences with colorismhow has your skin shade (and other “racialized” physical features like eye color, eye shape, and other facial features) influenced your life?

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

  • Submissions should be sent to: nkhanna@uvm.edu (in the subject heading, please type in all-caps: SHADES OF PREJUDICE SUBMISSION)
  • Please send your personal narrative as a Microsoft® Word document and label your document: “LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME.doc.”
  • Essays should be approximately 1,000-2,500 words, double-spaced, and Times New Roman font.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nikki Khanna is an associate professor of Sociology at the University of Vermont and has written extensively on issues regarding race. You can read more about the author here: www.nikkikhanna.com and http://www.uvm.edu/sociology/faculty/faculty_bios/Khanna/.

HERE ARE SOME IDEAS OF QUESTIONS THAT YOU MAY WANT TO ADDRESS:

  • What do you consider (physically) beautiful and why? Where does your image of beauty come from? (family, friends, media, or somewhere else?)
  • What is the importance of skin shade in your Asian ethnic community and how has this affected your life? For example, has it had an effect on dating or finding a mate? Has it influenced your interactions or relationships with family members or others? Has it affected any of your life opportunities? (job, education, etc.?).
  • How did you learn that light skin was preferred over dark skin in your Asian ethnic community? Can you provide specific examples?
  • Have you personally benefitted from having light skin? If so, how so? Is there a particular experience that you can share?
  • How have your family, community, peers, friends, media or others reinforced the stereotype that light skin is somehow more desirable than dark skin?
  • Have you felt pressure to use products designed to lighten or whiten your skin? If yes, why and what types of products? What has your experiences been with these products? How do you feel about whitening products?
  • Have you tried any other means to lighten or change the shade of your skin?
  • Have you felt pressure from your ethnic community or larger American society to conform to particular beauty standards? How so? Explain.
  • Have you struggled with, resisted, or actively challenged the “light is beautiful” message? How so?
  • Have other physical/facial characteristics (those that are often related to race) had an influence on your life (e.g., your eye color, eye shape, nose shape)?
  • Have you felt pressure to surgically alter any of your physical features to conform to a particular beauty standard in your Asian ethnic community or in larger American society (e.g., eyelid surgery)? Explain.
  • Do you think light skin is seen as desirable because some people desire to look/be white, because light skin is related to social class or caste, or to something else? Why? What in your personal life has informed the way you explain why light skin is considered more desirable than dark?
  • Do you think the impact of your skin color on your life is influenced by other factors – such as your gender, social class/caste, ethnic group, generation, or other factors? For example, do you think skin color more so affects women than men? Why or why not? Do you think that your experiences are similar or different to male family members or men in your Asian ethnic community? Do you think your generation (whether you are 1st, 2nd, 3rd or later generation Asian American) has influenced the importance of skin color in your life?
  • Did growing up in America challenge or reinforce the idea that light skin is better than dark? How so? Could you share a particular example? Relatedly, how have American beauty standards affected your vision of what is considered beautiful and how does this related to beauty standards in your ethnic community? Are those standards complementary or contradictory?

For more information, click here.

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Colorism In Latinx Communities

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-07-30 00:07Z by Steven

Colorism In Latinx Communities

The Lumen Blog
2015-07-16

Yesenia Padilla
San Diego, California

A few weeks ago, I was absentmindedly scrolling through my Facebook feed when I noticed a meme a relative—we’ll call her Jenni—posted.  “Lol,” she wrote, “too good not to share!” The meme was in English and Spanish, and read, “When people tell me I look White [sic] not mexican [sic]” then was followed by a litany (in Spanish) of talking-out-one’s-neck insults to the hypothetical insulter:

“Listen you tacky barefoot indian from the hills, not all Mexicans are the same dark-as-a-tire skin color as you.”

I stared blankly at post as it collected likes, the “tears of laugher” emojis, and “jajaja”’s piling up in the comments. I was shocked. Jenni posted this? My relative, who goes to protests for immigrant rights and anti-gentrification rallies, who knows all of our ita’s traditional recipes, who listens almost exclusively to salsa and cumbias? Does this person who shares my blood feel this way about my brothers, and our cousins who are considerably darker than she? Does my family member feel this way about me?

In posting this meme, my milk-white, freckled pariente Jenni was reproducing colorist attitudes and ideas that were not only accepted in Latinx communities but actively encouraged and enforced. It didn’t matter that we grew up together in San Francisco, one of the more liberal cities on the West Coast (pre-tech boom, of course). Colorism, the discrimination and prejudice of light-skinned People of Color (POC) against darker-skinned POC, has deep roots in Latinx communities and must be confronted…

Read the entire article here.

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Strip Clubs and the Sociology of Racism

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States, Women on 2017-07-10 22:54Z by Steven

Strip Clubs and the Sociology of Racism

Blackfeminisms.com: Centered on feminism & Women of the African Diaspora
May 2017

Melissa C. Brown

Strip clubs and sex work in general have long been studied by feminist scholars. There are two debates in feminism about sex work: radical feminists believe all sex work is exploitation within a patriarchal society. Radical feminists claim sex work exploits all women. Contemporary feminists believe sexual agency does exist. They emphasize empowerment and sexual agency within sexual economies, claiming women can take control in the sex industry. Feminists who argue for a more complicated position suggest focusing on sex workers right transnationally by analyzing both oppression and empowerment for women.

Sociologist Siobhan Brooks studied racial stratification in strip clubs in her 2010 Sexuality Research and Social Policy article:

These debates largely overlook structural racism within the sex industry that makes it difficult for women of color to maximize the benefit of the empowering aspects of sex work sex radical feminists underscore and produces problems not addressed by radical feminists, because sex work in and of itself is often not viewed as a problem by women of color but rather lack of decent shifts, safety, and better monetary gain…

Taking Black Feminist Thought to the Strip Club

Brooks builds her argument on Patricia Hill Collins’s concept of controlling images. According to Collins, Black women face four: the mammy, the matriarch, the welfare mother and the Jezebel. Jezebel emerged during slavery. Collins argues mass media helps spread these racial ideologies. Black women are defined as sexually aggressive and more sexually available.

Brooks uses ethnography, fieldwork, and participant-observation for the study by interviewing 12 Black and Latina women aged 19 to 45 from NYC and Oakland. According to Brooks, dancers express having to manage racism as men offer money to White women over women of color, leading them to earn less. Some conceal their racial identity or engage in racial passing. Mixed women express being able to perform multiple ethnicities for customers. Darker women have to perform extra emotional labor…

Read the entire article here.

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Commentary: Puerto Rican: If you’re a shade darker, you face discrimination

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-18 01:11Z by Steven

Commentary: Puerto Rican: If you’re a shade darker, you face discrimination

Orlando Sentinel
2017-05-04

Pura Delgado
Orlando, Florida


In Miami, the Rev. Alphonso Jackson, left, from the Second Baptist Church and the Rev. Jeremy Upton from Refuge Church explain to children why state Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from the Florida Senate. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

State Sen. Frank Artiles, a Miami Republican, apologized recently for racist comments toward African-American lawmakers. It was offensive and disheartening that we now have lawmakers freely speaking to colleagues using such disgusting words. Artiles had the nerve to dismiss his racist and sexist conduct to partisan motives: He was not happy because his bills weren’t moving, and he thought that because his community is diverse that gives him the right to insult and degrade.

Artiles apologized on the Senate floor and later resigned. We can only hope that his apology was sincere…

Read the entire article here.

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Too pretty to play? Stephen Curry and the light-skinned black athlete

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-17 02:16Z by Steven

Too pretty to play? Stephen Curry and the light-skinned black athlete

The Conversation
2017-04-30

Ronald Hall, Professor of Social Work
Michigan State University


Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry walks off the court after a game against the Denver Nuggets in February. USA Today Sports/Reuters

During a recent interview, Golden State Warriors Draymond Green discussed why players around the league have long doubted or dismissed the talents of his superstar teammate, Stephen Curry. But it was Green’s last point, mentioned almost as an aside – “And of course, Steph is light-skinned so [players] want to make him out to be soft” – that got the most attention.

To white Americans, the relationship between skin color and toughness or masculinity might not be obvious. They might associate skin color with race or with attractiveness. But toughness? Not so much.

My first book, published in 1992, referred to skin color as “The Last Taboo Among African Americans.” It explored how African-Americans, within their community, grapple with prejudices that stem from their various shades of skin colors. If you’re black, depending on the shade of your skin, other black people might think of you as “high yella” or “red-boned,” a “white wanna-be” or just not “black enough.”…

..After the first African slaves arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, a population of mixed-race blacks emerged. Their masters and fellow slaves celebrated their exotic features – not quite African, but not exactly white. The women were called “fancy girls” and paraded at quadroon balls, events for wealthy white men to meet and mingle with them. Lighter-skinned black men, meanwhile, were dubbed “run ‘round men” because, with their fairer skin, they could supposedly have their pick of any woman in the black community…

Read the entire article here.

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Skin Color and Politics Focus of Dan T. Blue Symposium

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Live Events, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-04-10 01:16Z by Steven

Skin Color and Politics Focus of Dan T. Blue Symposium

North Carolina Central University
Durham, North Carolina
2017-04-03


Yaba Blay

North Carolina Central University (NCCU)’s 2017 Dan T. Blue Symposium in Political Science will take place April 10-13 with a focus on “The Politics of Skin Color.”

The conference is hosted by Yaba Blay, Ph.D., holder of the Dan T. Blue Endowed Chair at NCCU. Blay is a nationally recognized researcher and ethnographer who uses personal and social narratives to explore issues of race, class and culture. All events during the symposium are free and open to the public.

“Light skin versus dark skin: Which is more socially advantageous? Regarded as more beautiful? Considered more Black? Treated more favorably by the law?” Blay asks. “These are not as much questions of personal opinion as they are issues of power and politics.”

The symposium keynote event brings Blay on stage with CNN contributor and activist Michaela Angela Davis and Patrice Grell Yursik, whose online persona Afrobella is considered the godmother of brown beauty blogging, for a public conversation about colorism beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, at the A.E. Student Union.

Blay defines colorism as a discriminatory system of value based on skin tone that encourages people of color to opt for separation in place of unity. Photography from her 2013 book “(1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race,” will be on display April 10-13 in a pop-up exhibit at the NCCU Museum of Art, with an opening reception Tuesday, April 11, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Blay will present a lecture on her work immediately following the reception in the Hubbard-Totten Building Auditorium…

Read the entire article here.

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Denying your light skin privilege is harmful to the Black community as a whole

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-25 01:02Z by Steven

Denying your light skin privilege is harmful to the Black community as a whole

Afropunk
2017-03-22

Erin White, Contributor
Atlanta, Georgia


Photo: PeopleImages / Getty

“Stop dividing us!” “We’re all black at the end of the day.” “There is no #TeamLightSkin/#TeamDarkSkin!”

Let’s cut the crap—nothing is as simple as “We’re all ______.” It’s nice to be reminded that we’re all in this together, human solidarity and back solidarity are beautiful things. They’re just not the only things. And when we don’t acknowledge the realities of the bad stuff, we let them fester and we leave others, the people we claim to be in solidarity with, more vulnerable.

People of color can never fully separate themselves from their race and what it signifies to ‘others’, of course, but let’s not pretend that light skin blacks do not receive privileges that are at the expense of dark skin blacks. Every hip-hop reference, every magazine cover, the ease of crossover success for the ambiguously brown while darker skinned folks (especially women) somehow seem largely underrepresented, and subsequently under-valued.

Society at large places a very high value on the perceived proximity to whiteness…

Read the entire article here.

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