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Colourism: How skin-tone bias affects racial equality at work

Racial discrimination at work has been under much scrutiny from academics and journalists, but less considered is the subject of skin-tone bias, or colourism.

Unlike racial bias, which is usually perpetrated by individuals of one race against those of another, colourism is also frequently observed among members of the same ethnic or racial group.

Among the many dimensions of bias that are being tested by Project Implicit, a long-term research project based at Harvard University, is something called skin-tone bias, which, quite separately from racial bias “often reveals an automatic preference for light-skin relative to dark-skin”.


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