The historical impact of colonization has predisposed post-colonial people of color to the internalization of Western skin color ideals. Overtly motivated by post-colonials and covertly condoned by people of color, racism via skin color is an unspoken factor in the various confrontations encountered by people of color with social institutions. Their color also correlates with a lack of economic and political power, apparent in post-colonized nations where the West has had considerable impact in establishing the genesis of light skin as the ideal of superiority. The manifestation of racism in the 21st century via the idealization of light skin is relevant to people of color who migrate West, for as members of outgroups they are confronted by the need to assimilate. Motivated by assimilation, some among people of color exhibit a willingness to tolerate the racist denigration of dark skin that has enabled the Bleaching Syndrome (Hall 1995). The Bleaching Syndrome is a complex of behaviors that could ultimately lead to the complete disappearance of all but Western ideals. Science has already seen technology end the tyranny of repetitive labor. The West has led the world in charting the course of mankind in a new direction and along the course of this new direction will come the human effort to reorganize social life, to reinvent the family, and to liberate dark-skinned peoples from the tyranny of their universal denigration. Unfortunately, absent this effort, skin color among people of color will prevail as a manifestation of racism well into the 21st century.


21st Century Skin Color Dark Skin Light Skin Western Ideal 


  1. Hall, R. (1995). The Bleaching Syndrome: African Americans' response to cultural domination vis-a-vis skin color. Journal of Black Studies, 26, 172–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Walker v. the Internal Revenue Service, 742 F. Supp. 670 (N.D. Ga. 1990)Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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