Date of Conferral
Skin tone of an African American is a key primer for prejudicial attitudes among Whites,
with darker skin tones eliciting more negative reactions. No previous studies have
examined this phenomenon with African Americans as the evaluators. Social identity and
social categorization theories, and Cross' theory of nigrescence, provided theoretical
frameworks for this study. It was proposed that male African American observers'
evaluations of another African American male may depend not only on the skin tone of
the target (job candidate) and the quality of his credentials, but also on the observer's
own skin tone and stage of racial identity. Using Harrison and Thomas' methodology
with White observers, 136 self-identified African American males were randomly
assigned to 1 of 3 conditions that varied skin tone (light, medium, dark) of the male
shown in a photo and the quality of the resume (lower, higher) presented with that job
candidate. In addition, each participant was assessed for stage of racial identity and self
reported skin tone. After viewing the photo and resume, participants evaluated the job
candidate on hireability, trustworthiness, expertise, and attractiveness. There were no
statistically significant findings. Outcomes suggested possible problems with the
experimental materials that had been used previously with White observers. Further,
there were problems with gaining adequate sample sizes for the person variables,
suggesting a need for larger samples for future research. Despite the nonsignificant
statistical findings, intraracial discrimination continues to be an important area for future
study. Indeed, understanding intraracial social judgments related to skin tone among
African Americans has as much social significance as understanding evaluations of
African Americans by Whites and others.
Lewis, Carlton Deshawn, "Racial Identity, Skin Tone, and Intragroup Racism among African American Males" (2019). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 6348.