The Intraracial Colorism Project, Inc.
Skin Color Charts
Skin Color Tests in the United States
Historically, skin color testes were used by White and Black Americans to determine race, social status, acceptance into churches, schools, clubs, associations, communities and in the employment arena. For detailed information see The Paperbag Principle (Kerr, A. E. 2006).
Interracial Skin Color Tests
Skin color tests were used to determine if Black people possessing Eurocentric phentotypes(white skin, light skin in close proximity to white skin, hair texture, nose and lips) were actually White or Black Americans. Tests of this nature were used by White Americans to determine the race of Black people whose racial identity was questionable based on their appearance.
· The Fingernail Test
Intraracial Skin Color Tests
Several different skin color tests were used by light complexioned Black Americans to determine if darker complexioned Blacks would be accepted in various social settings. Skin color tests were used for employment purposes and by educational institutions, churches, social clubs and other organizations.
Kerr, A. E. (1998). The Two Black Washingtons: the role of complexion in the oral history of District of
Columbia residents 1863-1963. University of Maryland.
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