Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African-American Studies

First Advisor

Jonathan Gayles, PhD

Second Advisor

Sarita Davis, PhD

Third Advisor

Rafik Mohamed, PhD


Existing research in academic literature has noted the disadvantages that Black women of darker complexions experience regarding out-group and in-group colorist ideas and the privileges that are conferred to lighter-skinned Black women. There is scant research that provides a comprehensive analysis of the impact of intra-group colorism on Black and Mixed-Race Black women with lighter complexions. This study does not seek to negate the impact of colorism on or its implications as it relates to African American women with darker complexions. However, this study does explore the experiences of light-skinned women that identify as Black with intra-group colorism. Themes associated with intra-racial macroaggressions and microaggressions, as well as feelings of racial disconnectedness, have been identified. This study adds to colorism research by phenomenologically assessing the experiences of a group of women that has frequently been neglected.


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