Weaving together personal stories, history, and analysis, Same Family, Different Colors explores the myriad ways skin-color politics affect family dynamics in the United States. Colorism and color bias--the preference for or presumed superiority of people based on the color of their skin--is a pervasive and damaging but rarely openly discussed phenomenon. In this unprecedented book, Lori L. Tharps explores the issue in African American, Latino, Asian American, and mixed-race families and communities by weaving together personal stories, history, and analysis. The result is a compelling portrait of the myriad ways skin-color politics affect family dynamics in the United States. Tharps, the mother of three mixed-race children with three distinct skin colors, uses her own family as a starting point to investigate how skin-color difference is dealt with. Her journey takes her across the country and into the lives of dozens of diverse individuals, all of whom have grappled with skin-color politics and speak candidly about experiences that sometimes scarred them. From a Latina woman who was told she couldn't be in her best friend's wedding photos because her dark skin would "spoil" the pictures, to a light-skinned African American man who spent his entire childhood "trying to be Black," Tharps illuminates the complex and multifaceted ways that colorism affects our self-esteem and shapes our lives and relationships. Along with intimate and revealing stories, Tharps adds a historical overview and a contemporary cultural critique to contextualize how various communities and individuals navigate skin-color politics. Groundbreaking and urgent, Same Family, Different Colors is a solution-seeking journey to the heart of identity politics, so that this more subtle "cousin to racism," in the author's words, will be exposed and confronted. From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Lori L. Tharps is an associate professor of journalism at Temple University and the coauthor of Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America and Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Glamour and Essence magazines. She lives in Philadelphia with her family.