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Color Matters: Skin Tone Bias and the Myth of a Postracial America (New Directions in American History) [Hardcover]

Kimberly Jade Norwood

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Book Description

6 Dec 2013 New Directions in American History

In the United States, as in many parts of the world, people are discriminated against based on the color of their skin. This type of skin tone bias, or colorism, is both related to and distinct from discrimination on the basis of race, with which it is often conflated. Preferential treatment of lighter skin tones over darker occurs within racial and ethnic groups as well as between them. While America has made progress in issues of race over the past decades, discrimination on the basis of color continues to be a constant and often unremarked part of life.

In Color Matters, Kimberly Jade Norwood has collected the most up-to-date research on this insidious form of discrimination, including perspectives from the disciplines of history, law, sociology, and psychology. Anchored with historical chapters that show how the influence and legacy of slavery have shaped the treatment of skin color in American society, the contributors to this volume bring to light the ways in which colorism affects us all--influencing what we wear, who we see on television, and even which child we might pick to adopt. Sure to be an eye-opening collection for anyone curious about how race and color continue to affect society, Color Matters provides students of race in America with wide-ranging overview of a crucial topic.


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"Distinctions based on skin tone are not as obvious as overt discrimination between black versus white, and therefore are rarely acknowledged. The glare of race obscures this more subtle form of discrimination. Color Matters casts a revealing light on this (often) taboo subject. Summing Up: Highly recommended." -W. Glasker, Rutgers, USA in CHOICE

About the Author

Kimberly Jade Norwood is Professor of Law and Professor of African and African American Studies at Washington University, St. Louis.

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book: whatever your race or color 2 Jan 2014
By Gary J. Richmond - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Norwood's book is both scholarly and readable-- a rare combination. She brings together tremendous erudition as well as a heartfelt ethical sensibility which will surely have a profound effect on anyone who reads her book. It's clear that Professor Norwood has experienced the bias implied by her title both personally and through personal relations. But she brings also an historical, psychological, even a philosophical perspective which deepens her book's theme while never weighing it down. This is a book to read and reread, then to give to your relatives--especially the young ones: it is truly a gift--a difficult one at times, but certainly an eye-opening look into a never before so thoroughly explored topic of considerable contemporary interest. Those interested in the theme of a "post-racial America," certain myth that it is, need to read this thoughtful and beautifully written book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking 25 May 2014
By Evels - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Color Matters will make you realize how much skin tone has an influence in how we judge people of color. It is a well-written book that although written in a text-like format, is filled with a lot of facts no one ever thinks about. The recommendations at the end of the book should be put into practice and this book should be discussed in every school in the nation so that our kids, especially our girls can grow up loving themselves and others no matter how light or how dark our skins are. This is a must read book!
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read! 3 Jan 2014
By James Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great research joined with Prof. Norwood's extensive knowledge of personal experiences makes her argument very strong and convincing. The book is well-written, clear and thought provoking. I believe the subject matter is one that should be discussed, perhaps especially by women, and this book allows this to be done in considerable depth. It caused me take a good hard look at my own attitudes regarding this topic.
5.0 out of 5 stars Read Color Matters to understand the Post Racial World you think you live. 30 Mar 2014
By Donna Rogersbeard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Kim Norwood and cohorts have taken the concept of colorism to a big picture, global perspective. I highly recommend this book to parents, educators, resource personnel, and anyone else living and breathing in what they think is a post Racial America.
4.0 out of 5 stars Dorothy Davis 1 April 2014
By Dorothy Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Norwood engages in perhaps the most important dialogue that African Americans need to talk about today - Color Matters. She has inspired all of us to reexamine our own internal prejudices about skin tone biases.
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