Outside of the United States, colorism may be more related to class than to white supremacy.Although European colonialism has undoubtedly left its mark on countries worldwide, colorism is said to predate contact with Europeans in various Asian countries.That makes it a persistent form of discrimination that should be fought with the same urgency that racism is. In the United States, colorism has roots in slavery.That’s because slave-owners typically gave preferential treatment to slaves with fairer complexions.Moreover, a Villanova University study of more than 12,000 African American women imprisoned in North Carolina found that lighter-skinned black women received shorter sentences than their darker-skinned counterparts.Previous research by Stanford psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt found that darker-skinned black defendants were two times more likely than lighter-skinned black defendants to get the death penalty for crimes involving white victims.
Upper crust blacks routinely administered the brown paper bag test to determine if fellow blacks were light enough to include in social circles. And if you were darker than the paper bag, you weren’t admitted,” explained Marita Golden, author of .That skin-bleaching cosmetics have persisted for decades signals the enduring legacy of colorism., officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department were dispatched to do a well-check at Skinner’s residence but made the grim discovery when they arrived.While slave-owners did not officially recognize their mixed-race children as blood, they gave them privileges that dark-skinned slaves did not enjoy.Accordingly, light skin came to be viewed as an asset among the slave community.Writer Brent Staples discovered this while searching the archives of newspapers near the Pennsylvania town where he grew up.He noticed that in the 1940s, black job seekers often identified themselves as light-skinned.“Cooks, chauffeurs and waitresses sometimes listed ‘light colored’’ as the primary qualification — ahead of experience, references, and the other important data,” Staples said.“We find that the light-skin shade as measured by survey interviewers is associated with about a 15 percent greater probability of marriage for young black women,” said researchers who conducted a study called “Shedding ‘Light’ on Marriage.”Light skin is so coveted that whitening creams continue to be best-sellers in the U. Mexican-American women in Arizona, California and Texas have reportedly suffered mercury poisoning after turning to whitening creams to bleach their skin.In India, popular skin-bleaching lines target both women and men with dark skin.Thus, dark skin came to be associated with the lower classes and light skin with the elite. In black America, those with light-skin received employment opportunities off limits to darker-skinned African Americans.Today, the high premium on light skin in Asia is likely tangled up with this history along with the cultural influences of the Western world. This is why upper-class families in black society were largely light-skinned.