Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America's Diverse Families

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Product Details

$25.95  $24.13
Beacon Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 8.9 X 0.8 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Lori L. Tharps is an associate professor of journalism at Temple University and the coauthor of Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America and Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Glamour and Essence magazines. She lives in Philadelphia with her family.


"With great sensitivity and unapologetic boldness, Tharps skillfully weaves the rich historical context of the United States, the Americas and Asia with wrenching contemporary first-person accounts to investigate how color operates in the most intimate spaces of American families...This thoughtful, honest, historically textured and valuable book offers a detailed and current syllabus of work on the social and cultural meanings of colorism around the world and brings colorism 'out of the closet.'"
--Allyson Hobbs, New York Times Book Review

"Same Family, Different Colors is the first book on colorism to take us inside African American, Latino, Asian, and interracial families as they speak candidly about how the politics of skin color shape their family dynamics and lives. Lori Tharps explores this taboo and urgent subject with courage, vision, and great sensitivity."
--Michael Eric Dyson

"A nuanced, forthright, emotionally compelling take on a painful subject."
--Kirkus Reviews

"The proximity of my skin to whiteness will probably protect me from having my face blown off by a stranger behind a locked door in the middle of the night, but what of my daughter? She, like Renishia McBride, is 'black from a distance' and a threat in many places. Colorism in society is dangerously complicated. Colorism in the family is painful. Tharps's provocative book has the potential to be powerfully healing, but it won't be a pretty process."
--Michaela Angela Davis, image activist/cultural critic/light, blonde, and black

"A compassionate exploration of colorism in the most private realms of our lives--with our familias--Same Family, Different Colors is a much-needed book for a country (and a world) that grows more multi-hued with every passing year. Tharps combines journalism with history, memoir, and good old-fashioned storytelling to weave a powerful thread across communities and to suggest new ways of embracing our collective futures."
--Daisy Hernández, author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed

"Colorism is a topic people of color are reluctant to talk about, but Lori Tharps investigates this difficult subject with grace, humility, and inclusiveness. Through historical context and frank personal stories, Same Family, Different Colors creates a powerful mediation on what so often goes unsaid even in the closest of families. With its fascinating multicultural focus, there's something here for everyone to learn about themselves, and others."
--Mat Johnson, author of Loving Day