Martha E. Banks reviews Color Matters: Skin Tone Bias and the Myth of a Post-Racial America edited by Kimberly Jade Norwood. The book discusses the issue of colorism in the United States. I discuss the issues related to colorism and skin tone in my classes and inform students that it is not just an issue in the perception African Americans (usually lighter skin tone is preferred, related to more favorable outcomes compared with darker skin tone), but I also note that skin tone and colorism issues are relevant to other minority ethnic groups in the United States, and for people in other countries as well (e.g., India).
However, few, if any, researchers study skin tone and colorism issues in the perception of European Americans. Some European Americans have a very light or milky skin tone, some a more reddish tone, some a darker skin tone (who may be mistaken for Latino or African American). If skin tone has implications for minority groups such as African Americans, could it not also have negative implications for European Americans who are perceived as too light or too dark in skin tone?
By Martha E. Banks
PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(36)