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Misplaced Values and Issue of Colorism

May 08, 1988

It is most regrettable that The Times singled out black people on which to focus such an issue. All around the world minorities, whether they be racial, religious or political, attempt on one level or another, to emulate the dominant class.

In the United States all non-whites and many non-WASPS strive to conform to the white Christian norm. Jews alter their noses, Asians alter their eyes, Mexicans bleach their hair, blacks lighten their skin and many colored people choose lighter mates because of the Caucasian beauty standard.

What is interesting to us is that white people, who have through massive advertising, stressed the value of their physical features, are, at bottom, displeased with their own skin color. They chance skin cancer by sun tanning; the white female's ideal mate is "tall, dark and handsome" and the white male's model type is not the blue-eyed blond so often touted on television, but the swarthy, muscular body of a Sylvester Stallone or a Carl Weathers.

The true color conundrum in America is not why blacks strive to emulate the prevailing white norm; but why white people en masse reject the standard they have set for others.

CURTIS and ROSETHA KNOTT

Bellflower

Because of an editing error, Njeri's story incorrectly stated: "Between all blacks and all whites with the same approximate level of education--12 years--light-skinned blacks earned about 58 cents for every dollar a white person earned." In fact, the 58-cent figure referred to all blacks, not just those with lighter skin.

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