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Empirical evidence demonstrates that racism is a source of traumatic stress for racial/ethnic minorities, particularly African Americans. Like race and racism, skin tone and experiences of colorism-an often overlooked form of discrimination that privileges lighter skinned over darker skinned individuals, although not uniformly, may also result in traumatic stress. This article proposes a new conceptual model of skin-tone trauma. The model depicts how historical and contemporary underpinnings of colorism lead to colorist incidents that may directly and indirectly, by eliciting traumatic stress reactions, lead to negative effects on the health and interpersonal relationships of African Americans. Key tenets of critical race and intersectionality theories are used to highlight the complexities of skin-tone trauma as a result of intersectional identities on the basis of existing social hierarchies. Last, we present suggestions for researchers, as well as recommendations and strategies for practitioners, to unmask "skin-tone wounds" and promote healing for individuals, families, and communities that suffer from skin-tone trauma. Skin-tone trauma should be acknowledged by researchers, scholars, and practitioners to better understand and assess the widespread scope of trauma in the African American community.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
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