Posted on November 17, 2021

The Impact of the Browning of America on Anti-Blackness

Charles Blow, New York Times, November 14, 2021


A fascinating report issued this month by the Pew Research Center explored colorism in the Hispanic community and underscored how anti-Blackness, or anti-darkness, is no respecter of race or ethnicity. It is pervasive and portends a future in which the browning of America does not succeed in wiping away its racial prejudices.

First, the report reaffirmed what we all know to be true: A majority of Hispanic adults, regardless of skin tone, report experiencing discrimination.

But dark-skinned Hispanics reported far more discrimination than light-skinned ones.

The survey allowed Hispanics to select the skin tone closest to their own on a 10-point scale. Eighty percent of respondents chose the four lightest tones, which the report identified as light-skinned, but only 15 percent chose the six darker skin tones, which the report identified as dark-skinned. Others chose not to answer.


Intolerance wasn’t only coming from outside the Hispanic community, but also from within it. Nearly half of the Hispanic adults surveyed said that they have often or sometimes heard a Hispanic friend or family member make comments or jokes about other Hispanics and about non-Hispanics “that might be considered racist or racially insensitive.” Dark-skinned Hispanics reported these incidents at a higher rate than light-skinned Hispanics.

When it came to how much attention was paid to racial issues in this country, a majority of Hispanics, understandably, said too little attention is paid to race and racial issues concerning Hispanics. A plurality also said that too little attention is paid to race and racial issues nationally.

But a plurality said too much attention was paid to issues concerning Black people.


These issues around how darker-skinned people of all races and ethnicities are perceived and treated must be addressed. This is in part because we are racing toward a future in which the share of minorities who are dark-skinned will only be a fraction.

By 2065, it is projected that not only will Asian Americans outnumber African Americans, but there will also be nearly twice as many Hispanics in the country as Black people.

As I have mentioned before, I worry that white supremacy could be replaced with a light supremacy, a society in which light-skinned people are still advantaged and dark-skinned people are still oppressed, even as the white majority recedes.