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The Politics of Skin Color

Nicole Yadon

Abstract:
Heterogeneity in skin color is linked to significant differences in life experiences both within and across racial groups. For example, darker skinned African Americans have worse health outcomes, lower incomes, less education, lower rates of marriage, and even receive harsher criminal sentencing than lighter skinned blacks. Within political science, the focus on racial groups as largely homogenous entities has overlooked potentially important heterogeneity within groups based on skin color and gender. Drawing evidence from the 2012 American National Election Study, two online surveys, and 67 in-depth qualitative interviews, the following is clear: (1) Skin tone is a salient identity to a sizable portion of black people, especially those with dark skin; (2) Darker skin tone is associated with higher levels of support for more liberal policies in domains where darker-skinned people are often marginalized; and, (3) The intersection of skin tone and gender relates to stereotypes and perceptions of racialized policies. The goal of this line of research is to explore how skin color and gender inform social and political judgments, as well as feelings of efficacy and marginalization from the political system. This work not only offers important implications for scholars and policymakers alike, but also has implications extending across racial groups.
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When and Where

Map Haven Hall - 5769 Prefunction room

March 2018

3:30pm - 5:00pm

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