Session: Why Seeing Colorism Matters (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

106 Why Seeing Colorism Matters

Wednesday, January 20, 2021: 6:30 PM-7:30 PM
Cluster: Black and African Diaspora Focused-Research
Latocia Keyes, PhD, University of Texas at Arlington, Maya Williams, MSW, Washington University in Saint Louis, Nicole Ransom, LCSW, Midwestern University and Ronald Hall, PhD, Michigan State University
Colorism is a global phenomenon, yet this topic is frequently omitted from curriculum content and social work practice. Colorism is a covert method of racial oppression based upon skin color, wherein those having European heritage and light skin are considered the ideal. In addition, racism and colorism are distinct forms of oppression, as biases resulting from colorism may occur among members belonging to the same ethnicity. In this way, colorism is prolific both between and within racial groups. Therefore, illuminating issues related to colorism is an undertaking of social justice that has value for all members of society. This roundtable emphasizes perspectives on the use of colorism research as an instrument of social justice. Based on empirical and conceptual research, authors will provide viewpoints on how colorism research has the capacity to improve equity for people of color by influencing individuals, advancing social work education, scholarship, and clinical practice. This session will begin with an introduction to the emerging significance of colorism and its implications for social work in the 21st century. Where racial category currently prevails, its significance is in decline vis-A-vis Loving v. Virginia, prospects for diversity and the reconstruction of mankind into a global community. A second presenter will discuss potential strategies to help respond to the psychosocial needs of African Americans, including the development and validation of multidimensional scales of colorism to advance psychological assessment research and the creation of multidimensional programs to address the impacts of skin tone biases, resist colorist stereotypes, and advocate for positive wellbeing.A third presenter will explore the influence of skin color research upon the psychotherapeutic relationship, including implications for rapport building, countertransference, and mindfulness-based recommendations for addressing colorism in a clinical setting. A final presenter will focus on color discrimination universality in social and political institutions. This presenter will offer suggestions on how the dissemination of scholarly work on colorism effecting the human condition at the macro level should render social change to value all people no matter their complexion. Our aims are to (1) facilitate a discussion that stimulates curiosity, awareness, and engagement around colorism research as a social justice endeavor, and (2) discuss ways future colorism research may benefit social work practice.
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