Date of Submission

Fall 2021

Academic Program

Psychology; Psychology

Project Advisor 1

Richard Lopez

Project Advisor 2

Kristin Lane

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Conversations related to slavery and colonization can be difficult, yet they are necessary in order to address the negative impacts they still have on people of color today. Racial phenotypicality bias is one lasting racist practice that originated during slavery and colonization periods in Latin America and the United States. This form of bias operates by favoring and praising eurocentric phenotypes (such as light skin and straight hair) compared to afro-centric phenotypes (such as dark skin and afro-textured hair). Colorism and texturism (C&T) are two primary forms of phenotype biases that are specifically related to skin and hair. These two phenotypes are deemed as primary because they are highly salient and often used as markers of one's racial identity. There is a scarce amount of empirical research that examines how skin tone and hair texture affects Black/Latina people's psychological health, general health, and social experiences. The current study aims to evaluate Black and Latina women’s narratives associated with colorism and texturism. A survey was developed that includes key questions about personal feelings, experiences, and perspectives related to skin and hair. The goal of it was to elicit responses that illustrate how C&T is internalized and socialized in society. Responses from each of the participants showed that these biases currently exist and how they affect some Black and Latina women. The data suggests that C&T can impact women either similarly or differently depending on the phenotypes they possess. Current findings are beneficial because they create opportunities for researchers and activists to address the problems associated with the biases.

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Open Access

Creative Commons License

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