Double dutching in my own skin: an autoethnography on colorism

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
LaWanda M. Wallace (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Kathleen Casey

Abstract: The glamorized life of black women with light skin has caused division within the black community. This study investigates colorism, which is a form of internalized racism, from the perspective of a light skinned African American woman. Although there have been several studies that have sought to quantify and qualify the nature of black women as it relates to colorism (Golden, 2004; Hunter, 2005; Russell, Wilson, & Hall, 1992; Wilder & Cain, 2010) missing from the literature is a different perspective on the subject matter. This dissertation offers another perspective. The social construction of race is used as the overarching theory to understand colorism. Black Feminist Thought (BFT) and Critical Race Theory (CRT) are also used as grounding frameworks for this research. By engaging in an autoethnographic methodology (Chang, 2008; Ellis, 2004; Ellis & Bouchner, 2000; Poulas, 2009) this researcher shares intimate accounts of colorism from her own lived experience. This Reflexivity engages the researchers' explicit self awareness (Finlay, 2002) throughout the entire research process. Through a critical analysis of popular culture in movies, this study offers insight into the origination of inscribed identifies of black women. The traditional roles of mammy, sapphire and jezebel are examined to further illustrate the perpetuation of colorism. As black women our identities are created by others. Within our community we have reenacted what we have consumed. The context of this work should be understood as groundbreaking to the field of colorism.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Autoethnography, Black Feminist Theory, Colorism, Film, Internalized Racism, Race
African American women $x Race identity
Feminism $z United States
Human skin color $x Social aspects $z United States
Race awareness $z United States
Race discrimination $z United States
Racism $z United States

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