Colorism Within the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

Marybeth Gasman, Ufuoma Abiola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Complexion privilege and color bias have long acted in concert with racism to foster intraracial forms of stratification among African Americans such as the tendency for educational levels and other measureable outcomes (e.g., income) to correspond with skin tone. In this article, we examine the salience of color prejudice at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including its historical origins, manifestations, and damaging results. We begin with a brief history of Black colleges and then present a historical perspective on colorism in the United States. Based on our synthesis, we offer recommendations for how institutional stakeholders may counter and dismantle colorist issues that commonly arise in HBCU contexts. Last, recommendations for future research and practice are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalTheory Into Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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