The Color Complex: The Politics of Skin Color in a New Millennium (revised)

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2013-09-01 03:26Z by Steven

The Color Complex: The Politics of Skin Color in a New Millennium (revised)

Random House
2013-01-08
304 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-307-74423-4

Kathy Russell-Cole, Vice President of Sales
Omar Supplies Inc.

Midge Wilson, Associate Dean; Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies
DePaul University

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

A provocative exploration of how Western standards of beauty are influencing cultures across the globe and impacting personal, professional, romantic and familial relationships. Processes like skin lightening in India, hair smoothing in Black America, eyelid reconstruction in China, and plastic surgery worldwide continue to rise in popularity for men and women facing discrimination from both within and outside of their own increasingly fluid ethnic groups. Now including a wealth of new information since the first edition of The Color Complex over two decades ago, the authors, through a historical and sociological lens, have measured the impact of recent pop culture events effecting race relations to determine whether colorism has gotten better or worse over time.

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: The Emergence of Modern Colorism in the Americas
  • Chapter 2: The Global Rise of Colorism
  • Chapter 3: The Tiers of Color Prejudice in America
  • Chapter 4: The Color of Identity
  • Chapter 5: Hair Stories: Politics of the Straight and Nappy
  • Chapter 6: Families and Friends: Drawing the Color Lines
  • Chapter 7: The Match Game: Colorism and Courtship
  • Chapter 8: The (In)Justice of Color: Politics. Policies, and Perceptions
  • Chapter 9: The Narrative of Skin Color: Stories in Black and Light
  • Chapter 10: #TeamLightskinned: Color and the Media
  • Sources
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

The Emergence of Modern Colorism in the Americas

We begin in Europe in the late 1400s, when seafaring countries such as England, Spain, and Portugal were financing merchant voyages to find new trade routes to the Far East. The men returned instead with exciting tales of faraway places that were rich with gold, spices, and silks. The very notion that there existed unknown lands beyond the horizon set off a frenzy of empire building on the part of many European nations. This would later be known as the Age of Discovery, and it lasted well into the seventeenth century. After Christopher Columbus reached what he mistakenly believed were the Indies, and it was realized that vast new lands were available for plunder and colonization, European nations began financing more ship captains for even more expeditions with orders to stake claim to as many territories as they could find. It mattered little to the Europeans if indigenous peoples already were living in these “discovered” places. Europeans believed they were the superior race. As such, they saw it as their Christian duty to tame the “savage” natives and bring them civilization, a self-serving rationale that would persist for centuries—Rudyard Kipling would call it “the White man’s burden” as late as 1899.

During the early 1500s, the islands of the Caribbean—or “West Indies,” as they were mistakenly named by Columbus—were popular destinations for Portuguese and Spanish explorers, and other areas of Central and South America soon followed. While the hoped-for gold rarely materialized, it was recognized that the warm climates and rich soil in these new lands had the potential for growing cash crops like sugar and coffee. The crops were labor intensive, however, and for them to be profitable, a source of cheap labor was needed. At first, local indigenous people were captured and forced to work in the colonists’ fields, but there were not enough of them. Some White indentured servants from Europe ventured over, but again, not enough. The Portuguese, who already had explored the east coast of Africa, found the solution by bringing over the first slaves to the New World. This nation would continue to be the largest importer of slaves during the era of Atlantic slave trading.

African slaves poured in to work in the Americas during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Throughout the Caribbean, the British, French, and Dutch had also claimed islands of their own, and they, too, needed slaves to work the sugar plantations. Conditions were ideal for race mixing to take place. Large numbers of individuals from different racial backgrounds were living and working side by side, and doing so under the rule of White plantation owners who were greatly outnumbered. In fact, it has been estimated that throughout the Caribbean, there was an average ratio of one White to ten Blacks and/or mulattoes, and in some of the most remote rural areas there could be as many as fifty slaves and/or mulattoes for every one White male. Finally, there was a significant gender imbalance. During the early years of slave trading, far more African males, with their greater upper-body strength (relative to that of females), were brought to the New World to clear the fields, but females were valued as well, and albeit in smaller numbers, they came too. Predictably, under the extreme conditions in many of these settlement outposts, the White men in charge raped the women who worked for them. But, to be fair, we should note that many romantic relationships and successful unions also came into existence during this time.

Racially mixed individuals, called “mulattoes” (a term considered derogatory by many today), began to make up significant segments of the population throughout Central and South America. They were people of every conceivable variety: those of mixed European and African blood, those of mixed European and indigenous blood, those of mixed African and indigenous blood, and subsequently every combination and permutation created by the mixed-race offspring of the first unions…

Read Chapter 1 here.

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The Melanin Millennium: Skin Color as 21st Century International Discourse

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Philosophy, Social Science, Social Work, United Kingdom, United States on 2013-03-14 21:05Z by Steven

The Melanin Millennium: Skin Color as 21st Century International Discourse

Springer
2013
348 pages
32 illustrations
Hardcover ISBN 978-94-007-4607-7
eBook ISBN: 978-94-007-4608-4
DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-4608-4

Edited by:

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

  • Addresses the issue of skin color in a worldwide context
  • Discusses the introduction of new forms of visual media and their effect on skin color discrimination
  • Touches up on the issue of skin bleaching and the Bleaching Syndrome

In the aftermath of the 60s “Black is Beautiful” movement and publication of The Color Complex almost thirty years later the issue of skin color has mushroomed onto the world stage of social science. Such visibility has inspired publication of the Melanin Millennium for insuring that the discourse on skin color meet the highest standards of accuracy and objective investigation.

This volume addresses the issue of skin color in a worldwide context. A virtual visit to countries that have witnessed a huge rise in the use of skin whitening products and facial feature surgeries aiming for a more Caucasian-like appearance will be taken into account. The book also addresses the question of whether using the laws has helped to redress injustices of skin color discrimination, or only further promoted recognition of its divisiveness among people of color and Whites.

The Melanin Millennium has to do with now and the future. In the 20th century science including eugenics was given to and dominated by discussions of race category. Heretofore there remain social scientists and other relative to the issue of skin color loyal to race discourse. However in their interpretation and analysis of social phenomena the world has moved on. Thus while race dominated the 20th century the 21st century will emerge as a global community dominated by skin color and making it the melanin millennium.

Contents

  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. The Bleaching Syndrome: Western Civilization vis-à-vis Inferiorized People of Color; Ronald E. Hall
  • Chapter 2. The Historical and Cultural Influences of Skin Bleaching in Tanzania;  Kelly M. Lewis, Solette Harris, Christina Champ, Willbrord Kalala, Will Jones, Kecia L. Ellick, Justie Huff and Sinead Younge
  • Chapter 3. Pathophysiology and Psychopathology of Skin Bleaching and Implicationa of Skin Colour in Africa; A. A. Olowu and O. Ogunlade
  • Chapter 4. An Introduction to Japanese Society’s Attitudes Toward Race and Skin Color; Arudou Debito
  • Chapter 5. The Inconvenient Truth of India, Caste, and Color Discrimination; Varsha Ayyar and Lalit Khandare
  • Chapter 6. Indigeneity on Guahan: Skin Color as a Measure of Decolonization; LisaLinda Natividad
  • Chapter 7. A Table of Two Cultures; Eneid Routté-Gómez
  • Chapter 8. Where are you From?; Stéphanie Cassilde
  • Chapter 9. Social Work Futures: Reflections from the UK on the Demise of Anti-racist Social Work and Emerging Issues in a “Post-Race'” Era; Mekada J. Graham
  • Chapter 10. Shades of Conciousness: From Jamaica to the UK; William Henry
  • Chapter 11. Fanon Revisited: Race Gender and Colniality vis-à-vis Skin Color; Linda Lane and Hauwa Mahdi
  • Chapter 12. Pigment Disorders and Pigment Manipulations; Henk E. Menke
  • Chapter 13. Skin Color and Blood Quantum: Getting the Red Out; Deb Bakken and Karen Branden
  • Chapter 14. The Impact of Skin Color on Mental and Behavorial Health in African American and Latina Adolescent Girls: A Review of the Literature; Alfiee M. Breland-Noble
  • Chapter 15. Characteristics of Color Discrimination Charges Filed with the EEOC; Joni Hersch
  • Chapter 16. The Consequences of Colorism; Margaret Hunter
  • Chapter 17. Navigating the Color Complex: How Multiracial Individuals Narrate the Elements of Appearance and Dynamics of Color in Twenty-first Century America; Sara McDonough and David L. Brunsma
  • Chapter 18. The Fade-Out of Shirley, a Once-Ultimate Norm: Colour Balance, Image Technologies, and Cognitive Equity; Lorna Roth
  • Chapter 19. What Color is Red? Exploring the implications of Phenotype for Native Americans; Hilary N. Weaver
  • Chapter 20. From Fair & Lovely to Banho de Lua: Skin Whitening and its Implications in the Multi-ethnic and Multicolored Surinamese Society; Jack Menke
  • Chapter 21. Affirmative Action and Racial Identityin Brazil: A Study of the First Quota Graduates at the State University of Rio de Janneiro: Vânia Penha-Lopes
  • Index
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The Tiger Woods phenomenon: a note on biracial identity

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, Social Work, United States on 2011-12-04 22:29Z by Steven

The Tiger Woods phenomenon: a note on biracial identity

The Social Science Journal
Volume 38, Issue 2, Summer 2001
Pages 333-336
DOI: 10.1016/S0362-3319(01)00118-5

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

Traditional race based models exclude the unique developmental dynamics of biracial Americans such as “Tiger” Woods. Conversely, a substantial portion of the scholarly literature emphasizes social experience rather than physiological attributes as the keystone to individual identity development. In the aftermath biracial Americans are conflicted. In an effort to ensure their psychic health social scientist scholars and practitioners must inculcate a human development across the life span model to accommodate the nation’s increasing level of racial and cultural miscegenation.

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Biracial Americans: The Advantages of White Blood

Posted in Books, Chapter, History, Media Archive, United States on 2010-12-11 23:48Z by Steven

Biracial Americans: The Advantages of White Blood

Chapter 8 of An Historical Analysis of Skin Color Discrimination in America
Springer
2010
200 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4419-5504-3

Chapter: pages 109-126
DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-5505-0_8

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

Similar to that of Native Americans, the genesis of victim-group discrimination for biracial Americans is rooted in traditions of slavery and the antebellum South. Biracial Americans during the antebellum period more often than not were the sons and daughters of the slave master class and having light skin on occasion may also have been of Native American ancestry. Whether biracial Americans were mixed blood by having white or Native ancestry their phenotype, light skin set them apart from the darker-skinned African-American populations whose bloodline had not yet been mixed.

Life for biracial Americans during the antebellum was both privileged in some respects and oppressive, in other ways similar to unadulterated dark-skinned blacks. Due to the one-drop theory of racial identity, whites made no distinctions between blacks and biracial Americans, despite the fact that, by genetic proportion, some biracial Americans were more white than black. In the interest of maintaining slavery and the myth of white supremacy, any known African ancestry defined even those who were characterized by blond hair and blue eyes as black. Defined as black, they were subject to discrimination, could be enslaved, relegated to second-class citizenship, and have no more legal access to the institutions of government than any other black person. Some resented being defined solely as black and in numerous ways discriminated against blacks, which included separating themselves from the black community, often friends and family members. During the antebellum, biracial Americans temporarily passed for white when seeking employment and permanently passed when considering marriage to a white fiance. Permanent passing was a critical form of victim-group discrimination that required that they never again acquaint themselves directly or indirectly with those to whom they were related by blood. Biracial Americans who could not withstand the emotional turmoil associated with their conflicting physical characteristics were designated as “mulatto.” Mulatto was the antebellum term applied to mixed-race or biracial African-Americans who, but for a trace of black blood, were otherwise considered white. Their tragedy was inspired by the contradiction in who they wanted to be—white—and who society required they be—black- Subsequently, they occupied a mid-level racial status, which constantly challenged their quest for identity and group acceptance. However, despite their being defined as black, being of light skin and often having white features accorded many biracial Americans who were…

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The racial canons of American sociology: Identity across the lifespan as biracial alternative

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Work, United States on 2010-03-20 20:16Z by Steven

The racial canons of American sociology: Identity across the lifespan as biracial alternative

The American Sociologist
Volume 31, Number 1 (March, 2000)
pages 86-93
Print ISSN: 0003-1232; Online ISSN: 1936-4784
DOI: 10.1007/s12108-000-1006-z

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

The fabric of American sociology is woven from societal belief and tradition. Sociology is thus, to some extent, a manifestation of canons. While research has concluded no single model of racial identity based in fact, sociologists apply racial canons in conformation to cultural tradition and Western belief systems. Traditions and beliefs are reflected in sociological research, literature, and various theoretical constructs. In the aftermath, racial canons pertaining to the identity of biracial Americans assume the force and merit of fact.

In the search for knowledge and scientific evidence the weight of canons is not irrelevant to the direction of sociological conclusions. Assumed truths may be expressed directly or indirectly to explain certain social phenomena. This allows for particular bodies of knowledge to be implicitly defined by canons. Occasionally, more explicitly, canons define a social phenomenon. For example, the canons of race category define the theory of racial identity by specifying what kinds of attributes designate race. In this instance sociologists frequently make use of what is perceived as universal fact. Racial canons are presented as if there were general agreement about their validity, even though this validity cannot be demonstrated (Bennett, 1996)…

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Biracial Sensitive Practice: Expanding Social Services to an Invisible Population

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2010-03-17 02:32Z by Steven

Biracial Sensitive Practice: Expanding Social Services to an Invisible Population

Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Volume 5, Issue 2 (March 2002)
pages 29 – 44
DOI: 10.1300/J137v05n02_03

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

Although literature acknowledges the existence of a biracial population, there has been minimal discussion of the differences indicative of biracial clients and how these differences impact provision of services. Too frequently, race criterion has been utilized to categorize biracial clients resulting in an all but invisible population. A biracial individual may then assume a multiplicity of identities, including African-, Asian-, Latino- and Native-American, when negotiating with macro institutions, including social services. As an alternative to racial paradigms, identity across the lifespan is suggested as a more comprehensive model for biracial clients. In the aftermath said clients will be rendered visible by identity models that prevail less on the basis of race and more on the basis of experience extended across the lifespan.

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Eurocentrism in Social Work Education: From Race to Identity Across the Lifespan as Biracial Alternative

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, Social Work on 2009-11-14 19:30Z by Steven

Eurocentrism in Social Work Education: From Race to Identity Across the Lifespan as Biracial Alternative

Journal of Social Work
Volume 5, Number 1 (April 2005)
pages 101-114
DOI: 10.1177/1468017305051238

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

  • Summary: Consequent to Eurocentric hegemony, race has been erroneously validated as the standard identity construct by social work education as well as much of Western science. For example, the approach utilized in this study includes reference to the literature of biologists and medical personnel who contend that race is scientifically meaningless.
  • Findings: The findings suggest that for those who are biracial, living in the midst of race constructionists encourages a life of identity conflict. That conflict is more often irrelevant to monorace subjects who by skin color are assigned to a single race category. This is an important notion for those, such as social workers, working in the human services.
  • Applications: The application proposes a human development across the lifespan construct to serve as an ecological alternative to the pathologizing influences of race. Although race and other Eurocentric constructs may have had their place at one time, the rapidly changing demographic dynamics of Western populations, including Britain, Europe and the Americas, and the inconceivable pace at which diversity is becoming the norm necessitate a commensurate change in policy, practice and theory. Identity across the lifespan in preparation of social workers for the 21st century is a viable alternative.

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