PHOENIX , -- The daily lives of Latinos in America are influenced by their skin tone, according to a Pew Research Center study. This finding comes at a time when the topic of colorism is more prominent.
Nonpartisan research center conducted a survey of 3,375 Latinos living in the U.S. and found that 62% believe having darker skin affects their chances of success, while 59% claim having lighter skin benefits them. The results of the study were released on Thursday.
It is a few months after colorism, a form of discrimination based upon skin tone, was widely discussed with the release of the movie "In the Heights," . was criticised for not having any dark-skinned Afro Latinos playing leading roles.
In the past few years, racism has been at forefront of nation's attention. But colorism doesn't get as much consideration.
Social scientists think this may be because colorism emphasizes divisions between racial or ethnic groups. Others argue that colorism has been a problem for centuries in Latin America, where it is more prevalent than other countries. These internal biases may be present in many Latinos living in the U.S.
Pew found that 57% said their skin color affected their daily life. The majority of Hispanics with dark skin have been discriminated by it.
It's not just the U.S. that has this problem. People with Indigenous features in Mexico are treated poorly, while white Mexicans are some of the most powerful politicians, businesspeople, and celebrities.
Flores-Yefal stated that how people with darker skin view them in movies and TV can have a significant impact on our perception of them. "In the Heights" is not an exception. In most American media, darker Latinos tend to be overrepresented as gangsters or in background roles. While lighter Latinos are more likely than others to play prominent roles, Latinos generally are underrepresented.
Flores-Yeffal claims that colorism has been around for centuries. She said, "And it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere."
Laura E. Gomez is a law professor who wrote "Inventing Latinos. A New Story of American Racism." She praised the Pew study and said it was based upon solid data.
Gomez believes that even talking about colorism can help to solve the problem. She said that while some Latinos might not be comfortable discussing internal divisions, they are still synonymous with racism in general.
"You can't choose between the two." Gomez stated that in order to fight anti-Latino racism we need to talk about racism within Latino communities.