What is it? Stemming from beliefs dating back to slavery, colorism is the prejudice that people face based on their skin color. The phenomenon occurs within minority communities. Typically darker-skin individuals suffer more from the negative stigmas. People of lighter skin are fetishised (to be excessively or irrationally devoted to) and are given more opportunities and material resources.
Why does it matter? The side effects of colorism can cause individuals to be harmed emotionally, mentally, or even physically.
What can you do?
It’s More Than Skin Deep: Skin Color and Its Impact on Children will involve a presentation and panel discussion followed by a talk-back community conversation.
The Humanities Expert will give the presentation to introduce the concept of colorism within the Black community. Each panelist will be asked to give brief comments about their work in this area, and then the Humanities Expert will facilitate a robust dialogue with audience participation. Panelists will include the following:
Dr. Kabria Baumgartner is an associate professor of American studies at the University of New Hampshire and the author of In Pursuit of Knowledge: Black Women and Educational Activism in Antebellum America (NYU Press, 2019). She researches and writes about African American literature, culture, and history in the long nineteenth century. She holds a Ph.D. in Africana Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Dr. John Frederick Bell is an assistant professor of History at Assumption College. A historian of U.S. education, he earned his Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University.
Dr. Aria S. Halliday is an assistant professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and program in African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky. She is the author of the edited collection, Black Girlhood Studies Collection (Canadian Scholars Press, 2019). She specializes in the study of cultural constructions of black girlhood and womanhood in material, visual, and digital culture in the late 20th and 21st centuries. She holds a Ph.D. in America Studies from Purdue University.
These Symposiums were funded in part by a New Hampshire Humanities Community Project Grant and by our sponsor Kennebunk Savings.