Dr. Norwood discussed an overview of colorism and the worldwide impact that it has. One of the most telling topics was the “Doll Study.” Children were asked to rate the characteristics of illustrated children of different skin tones. In the majority of cases, the children rated the lighter illustrated children as smarter, more well-behaved, and overall better than the dark illustrated children. This is termed “white bias,” and was observed in children as young as 4 years of age. Similar white bias was observed from black children, indicating that even black children are conditioned to see light skin as better.
Dr. Norwood also gave examples of the impact of colorism in society. In the case of the justice system individuals with darker skin are given more lengthy prison sentences for the same offenses than those with lighter skin. In the foster care system, children with darker skin have a longer wait time to adoption than children with lighter skin. In the education system, a 2013 study, “The Relationship Between Skin Tone and School Suspension for African Americans,” demonstrated that African-American children with darker skin tones were more likely to be suspended from school than those with lighter skin tones .
In the media, magazine editors have repeatedly lightened the skin tone of black actors and models on cover photos.
Dr. Norwood was kind enough to provide us with numerous examples of both colorism and racism, and we have included them below.
Blog post written by Jessica
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