Skin Color Differences in Stratification Outcomes: Colorism over Time and across Race

Eowna Young Harrison, University of Maryland

Recently released data has opened the opportunity to reexamine the phenomenon known as colorism. Although skin tone differences in SES have been empirically recognized, past studies utilize data from the 1980s. In 2012, the General Social Survey measured skin tone of their respondents. This measure was uniquely recorded for respondents of all races. The new data was utilized to 1) compare skin tone’s effect on SES outcomes of Blacks in 1982 to 2012 and 2) evaluate colorism’s exclusivity to the Black community. Results show that, among Blacks, stratification differences have increased but are not statistically significantly. The study also finds that colorism is present among all racial groups, but operates differently by socioeconomic status characteristics.

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 Presented in Session P8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality/Gender, Race and Ethnicity