Wondering how to start a discussion about colorism? Looking to conduct research or interviews on this topic? Tired of the same old questions and conversations about “light skin vs. dark skin”? Wishing the colorism conversation would actually get somewhere?

I feel you! So I’ve compiled a list of 100 colorism questions that address the above concerns. These questions will help you start, continue, broaden, deepen, and advance discussions about colorism.

General Colorism Questions:

  1. Who coined the term “colorism”?
  2. Who benefits from colorism?
  3. What is colorism?
  4. What is the history of colorism?
  5. What is the history of colorism in [specific location]?
  6. What’s the difference between racism and colorism?
  7. What’s the difference between intraracial colorism and interracial colorism?
  8. What are some examples of colorism?
  9. What are some examples of colorism in [specific location]?
  10. What are some common myths about colorism?
  11. When was the term “colorism” coined?
  12. When was colorism first acknowledged?
  13. When was colorism first studied?
  14. Where does colorism exist?
  15. Where does colorism come from?
  16. Why does colorism exist?
  17. Why does colorism exist in [specific location]?
  18. Why do some people not want to talk about colorism?
  19. Why do some people have negative attitudes about dark skin?
  20. Why do some people have negative attitudes about light skin?
  21. Why is colorism important?
  22. How do you define colorism?
  23. How do other physical characteristics besides skin color play a role in colorism?
  24. How much research has been done on colorism?
  25. How might colorism be different in more racially diverse places versus more racially homogenous places?
  26. How do people benefit from colorism?
  27. How do white people view or understand colorism?
  28. How do people view or understand colorism within their own race?
  29. How do people view or understand colorism within other races?
  30. How does colorism affect people around the world?
  31. How does colorism affect people in [specific location]?
  32. Is colorism just about skin color?
  33. Is colorism more prevalent in some places than others?
  34. Is there such a thing as light skin privilege?
  35. Is there such a thing as dark skin privilege?

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Questions about Colorism and Media:

  1. What role does traditional media play in perpetuating colorism?
  2. What role does social media play in perpetuating colorism?
  3. What are some examples of colorism in traditional media?
  4. What are some examples of colorism in social media?
  5. What role does colorism play in the entertainment industry?
  6. What role does colorism play in the sports industry?
  7. What role does colorism play in the beauty and fashion industries?
  8. How can we use traditional media to help end colorism?
  9. How can we use social media to help end colorism?
  10. How does colorism manifest in predominantly white media?
  11. How does colorism manifest in media predominated by people of color?

Questions about Colorism and Economics, Education, Law, Politics, Religion, & Society:

  1. What role does colorism play in education and schooling?
  2. What role does colorism play in religion or churches?
  3. What role does colorism play in politics?
  4. What role does colorism play in the judicial system?
  5. How does colorism affect employment and career opportunities?
  6. How does colorism impact socioeconomic status, income and wealth?
  7. How do class, wealth, and socioeconomic status impact colorism?
  8. How does colorism impact immigration policies?
  9. How does colorism impact immigration experiences?
  10. How can education and schooling counteract colorism?
  11. How can religion and churches counteract colorism?
  12. How can colorism be counteracted in the political arena?
  13. How can colorism be counteracted in the judicial system?
  14. How can employers prevent or counteract colorism in the workplace?

Questions about Colorism and Family, Friendship, Marriage, & Dating:

  1. What role does colorism play in dating and marriage?
  2. What’s the difference between colorism and preference?
  3. How does colorism influence or impact friendships?
  4. How can we develop and sustain friendships across the color spectrum?
  5. How does colorism affect families?
  6. How do parents perpetuate colorism?
  7. How can parents counteract colorism?
  8. How are children affected by colorism?
  9. How can children counteract colorism?
  10. How does age affect experiences with colorism?
  11. How does extended family perpetuate colorism?
  12. How can extended family counteract colorism?
  13. How can we teach children/how can children learn about colorism?
  14. How can we help break the generational cycle of colorism?

Questions about Colorism and Gender:

  1. How does gender intersect with colorism?
  2. How does colorism affect dark skinned women?
  3. How does colorism affect dark skinned men?
  4. How does colorism affect light/fair skinned women?
  5. How does colorism affect light/fair skinned men?
  6. How does sexuality intersect with colorism?
  7. How do boys and girls experience colorism differently?
  8. How do men and women experience colorism differently?

Personal Questions about Colorism:

  1. Who can I talk to about colorism?
  2. Who can you talk to about colorism?
  3. What are/were some of my experiences with colorism?
  4. What are/were some of your experiences with colorism?
  5. Why do I/you/we have negative attitudes about dark skinned people?
  6. Why do I/you/we have negative attitudes about light skinned people?
  7. Why do I/you/we have positive attitudes about dark skinned people?
  8. Why do I/you/we have positive attitudes about light skinned people?
  9. How does colorism affect me?
  10. How does colorism affect you?
  11. How do I feel about my own skin color?
  12. How do you feel about your own skin color?
  13. How can you heal from colorism?
  14. How can I heal from colorism?

Questions about Healing & Solutions to Colorism:

  1. Who’s responsible for colorism healing?
  2. Who’s responsible for breaking the cycle of colorism?
  3. What does it take to end colorism?
  4. What are some possible solutions to colorism?
  5. What can I do on a personal level to help end colorism?
  6. What can we do on a communal level to help end colorism?
  7. What work has already been done to help end colorism?
  8. What work is currently being done to help end colorism?
  9. How can we learn to love and appreciate our own skin, hair, and features while also loving or appreciating others?
  10. Have I addressed my own biases and issues with colorism so that I do not perpetuate colorism among others in the world?
  11. Does colorism get easier to deal with as we age?
  12. Will colorism ever end?
  13. What other questions do you have about colorism?

I know there’s more than 100 questions on this list, but there’s still more I haven’t included! There’s plenty to discuss about colorism in all the various facets of personal and public life. I hope the questions I’ve compiled here help you (and all of us) start, continue, broaden, deepen, and advance the colorism conversation. My hope is that these questions help you facilitate personal and public dialogue about colorism and colorism healing.

Before beginning your discussions, make sure your group has a clear definition of colorism. You can browse various colorism definitions here.

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