Talk Fleshes Out Skin-Tone Discrimination

Paul SpickardThe social issues and implications surrounding the skin tone of Asians will be the focus of a talk by author and scholar Paul Spickard, Friday, Sept. 28, at 3:30 p.m. in Westmont’s Hieronymus Lounge. The free, public lecture, “Is Lighter Better? Skin-Tone Discrimination Among Asian Americans,” will explain and interpret the issue and its implications for Asian American women.

Spickard, professor of history, Asian American studies, and religion at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says color and facial features are issues that powerfully shape understandings of beauty and acceptance in Asian American communities.

“Every Asian American has heard words like these,” he says, “‘Don’t go out in the sun, you’ll get too dark,’ or ‘Don’t marry him, your kids will be too dark.’”

Spickard, who received his doctorate in history at UC Berkeley, says his research is based on participant observation in the cosmetics industry and on interviews in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Filipino, Thai, and South Asian American communities.

The lecture is sponsored by Westmont’s history and sociology/anthropology departments and intercultural programs office. Refreshments will be served at 3:15p.m.