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Skin Deep: How Race and Complexion Matter in the "Color-Blind" Era [Paperback]

Cedric Herring , Verna M. Keith , Hayward Derrick Horton
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 11, 2003 1929011261 978-1929011261
Why do Latinos with light skin complexions earn more than those with darker complexions? Why do African American women with darker complexions take longer to get married than their lighter counterparts? Why did Michael Jackson become lighter as he became wealthier and O.J. Simpson became darker when he was accused of murder? Why is Halle Berry considered a beautiful sex symbol, while Whoopi Goldberg is not? Skin Deep provides answers to these intriguing questions. It shows that although most white Americans maintain that they do not judge others on the basis of skin color, skin tone remains a determining factor in educational attainment, occupational status, income, and other quality of life indicators. Shattering the myth of the color-blind society, Skin Deep is a revealing examination of the ways skin tone inequality operates in America. The essays in this collection-by some of the nation's leading thinkers on race and colorism-examine these phenomena, asking whether skin tone differentiation is imposed upon communities of color from the outside or is an internally-driven process aided and abetted by community members themselves. The essays also question whether the stratification process is the same for African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans. Skin Deep addresses such issues as the relationship between skin tone and self esteem, marital patterns, interracial relationships, socioeconomic attainment, and family racial identity and composition. The essays in this accessible book also grapple with emerging issues such as biracialism, color-blind racism, and 21st century notions of race in the U.S. and in other countries.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This collection of essays by various social scientists focuses on inter- and intrarace color consciousness in this era of purported color blindness. Though the primary emphasis is on African American and Latino subjects, the contributors also explore color consciousness among Southeast Asians and Brazilians. Some of the most interesting essays center on Americans of biracial heritage and the political fallout from their struggle for self-definition. All of the contributors confirm that "color" matters, with value weighted in favor of lightness. The biracial struggle to identify as "other than black" reflects internal and social forces that favor lighter-colored skin. This quest for status suggests that the African American fight against second-class citizenship in America may be supplanted by a fight against third-class citizenship. This work is a worthy primer on the import of race and color in America, but its greatest value may be as an indicator of America's future direction on the issue. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

Skin Deep is a major contribution. It effectively deals with the complexity of colorism. . . . -- Professor Charles V. Willie, Harvard University, October 2003

Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Inst Research on Race & Public Policy (July 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1929011261
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929011261
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6.3 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cedric Herring (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and in the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.

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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now Is the Time May 25, 2005
By Journey
Format:Paperback
I am not afraid to look the reality of colorism in the eye and acknowledge that it does exist within the black community. It is my greatest hope and dream that someday the dark skinned black and the light skinned black will be seen as the one family in the future. I want so much to love the lightskinned sister and brother as my own reflection and not be divided from them or made to feel that one is treated better than the other, but sadly, that day is not here and this book bravely and powerfully illustrates that point to the fullest.

I am a medium brown colored woman, my mother was very dark skinned and I have witnessed the evils of skin color prejudice all my life. In most situations, it was Black Men who were prejudiced against myself and the women around me beccause of our coloring. These men felt no shame or limit in their racist intra-family prejudice and measured their entire lives by how many light skinned or white women they could attain and how light brite their children could come out. It's everywhere and anyone who denies it is both a fool and a liar.

That is why I highly recommend THE BLACKER THE BERRY by Wallace Thurman. There is no truer portrait of the self-hatred among our people than the one extolled in this book, and what makes it even sadder is that this book was written in the 1920's. So that only shows how deep this kind of evil runs.

Lately, I have become very interested in this subject and I have searched for other books that explore this subject with intelligence, honest, beauty and wisdom and I have found several that I consider to be classics on the subject of Colorism.

(1) MARITA GOLDEN'S book "Don't Play In the Sun" is definitely the most modern up to date book of the bunch.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the stratification process December 12, 2003
Format:Paperback
Collaboratively compiled and edited by Cedric Herring (Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, University of Illinois - Chicago), Verna M. Keith (Chair of the Department of Sociology, Arizona State University), and Hayward Derrick Horton (Associate Professor of Sociology, Albany University-SUNY), Skin/Deep: How Race And Complexion Matter In The "Color-Blind" Era is a collection of informative and informative essays concerning the very real and entangled issues of race, judgement, and the question of why skin color remains a determining factor of economic success and quality of life in America today. Exploring the stratification process, cause and effect chains, emerging issues such as biracialism and color-blind racism and a great deal more, Skin/Deep is a highly recommended contribution to Contemporary Social Issues reading lists and offers a wealth of persuasively argued and deftly presented viewpoints.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
".....Skin Deep addresses such issues as the relationship between skin tone and self-esteem, marital patterns, interracial relationships, socioeconomic attainment, and family racial identity and composition.

The essays in THIS ACCESSIBLE BOOK ALSO GRAPPLE WITH EMERGING ISSUES SUCH AS BIRACIALISM, color-blind racism, and 21st century notions of race in the U.S. and in other countries."
[from the book of the back cover]
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