Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Makungu Akinyela

Second Advisor

Dr. Cora Presley

Third Advisor

Dr. Cassandra White


The exclusionary nature of colorism and how it affects personal awareness of self- identity behooves us to explore the socio-psychological interplay of life choices and racial socialization. This exploratory research is positioned within the context of black males’ relationship preferences and sought comprehension of how and why their perceptions inform their choices and inclination for lighter skin tones. The manifestations of colorism in these men’s experiences influence their interactions with women and how they perceive themselves. Findings of this phenomenological study informed the researcher of various dynamics that shape interactions of race, gender and colorism and utilized Black Feminist Thought as an epistemological framework. Purposeful sampling was used for recruitment and narrative interview methods highlighted perspectives and experiences of twenty, Atlanta black males, aged 21 and older for an overall essence of their phenomenon. Hopefully, this work will prompt analytical conversations to extend research of colorism within similar group dynamics.