Scholars have widely discussed colorism – the differential treatment of same-race individuals based on skin color – with regard to the African-American community. They have less frequently examined colorism’s worldwide dimensions. Yet, the manufacture of products offering the prospect of lighter, brighter, whiter skin is a multi-billion dollar global industry, with Asia being a key market. Importantly, the salience accorded skin color varies depending upon geographical location and social context. In this seminar, Professor Jones will discuss: (1) the ways in which skin color operates within different racialized communities, with a specific focus on African Americans, Asians, and Asian Americans; and (2) how skin tone differences influence perceptions of individual and group identity and complicate coalition building within and across racial groups.
Trina Jones, Jerome M. Culp Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law