Date of Award

5-1-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

M.A.

Sociology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Dr. Sandra E. Taylor

Second Advisor

Dr. Daniel A. Offiong

Third Advisor

Dr. Tara L. Jones

Abstract

Colorism continues to be a relevant topic of study because of its capacity to stratify within a marginalized community. The color hierarchy that values light complexions over dark specifically affects African-American women as these women are often treated and evaluated based solely on physicality. Empirically, women with light skin experience greater success in relationships, education, and employment. Furthermore, they report high levels of confidence. This quantitative study examines how colorism affects African-American college women's social capital and self-esteem. Utilizing Cooley's concept of the looking glass self as well as Gofiftnan's concept of stigma, a theoretical framework is established showing how society's judgments of dark-skinned African- American women negatively affect their self-perceptions. Results indicate that colorism is still a sensitive and complex phenomenon in the lives of African-American women.

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