In her introduction to Color Matters: Skin Tone Bias and The Myth of a Post-Racial America, Kimberly Jade Norwood talks about how there is a “color hierarchy” in America, especially for Black people: “Blacks are visible, but more often than not the visual representation of blackness is in the form of light skin.” This “color hierarchy” or colorism has its clear origins in slavery. Aisha Phoenix notes in “Colorism and the Politics of Beauty” that preferential treatment was often given to lighter-skinned slaves who were the biracial children resulting from the rape of women slaves by their white slaveowners: “The contrast between the way (the lighter-skinned slaves) were treated helped to ingrain the idea that light skin was better,” she writes. Do we see evidence of colorism in Greenidge’s book, specifically in interactions Libertie has with other women and in interactions involving her own mother? How does colorism shape the story and what resonates for you as you think about the role colorism might play in your own life? What does it mean then that Libertie, with her darker skin, was chosen as the protagonist of this novel rather than as a supporting character?
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