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Study Finds Black Women With Lighter Skin Recieve “Lighter” Prison Sentences

in todays GTFOHWTBS news ….

Female “Reboned” criminals across the country have a reason to rejoice (Redboned is the Black vernacular for a “light-skinned person”).  Not only are light-skinned women the preferred choice in bed, in the media and the workplace, now we can prove that even the bad ones are given a break.

The Social Science Journal published a report entitled “The Impact of Light Skin on Prison Time for Black Female Offenders” .. and while their finding are not surprising, the numbers hurt. 

 The Sentencing Project website reports:

A recent study, “The Impact of Light Skin on Prison Time for Black Female Offenders,” by Jill Viglione, Lance Hannon, and Robert DeFina of Villanova University assesses how perceived skin tone is related to the maximum prison sentence and time served for a sample of over 12,158 black women imprisoned in North Carolina between 1995 and 2009.  The authors controlled for factors such as prior record, conviction date, prison misconduct, and being thin, as well as whether the woman was convicted of homicide or robbery since these crimes usually carry lengthy prison sentences.  With regard to prison sentences, their results indicated that women deemed to have light skin are sentenced to approximately 12% less time behind bars than their darker skinned counterparts.  The results also show that having light skin reduces the actual time served by approximately 11%.  

The authors conclude by urging people to understand that it is not sufficient to understand racial discrimination in terms of relative advantages of whites compared to non-whites.  Among blacks, characteristics associated with whiteness appear to also have a significant impact on important life outcomes.    

Viglione, Jill, Lance Hannon, and Robert DeFina.  2011.  “The Impact of Light Skin on Prison Time for Black Female Offenders.”  The Social Science Journal, 48:250-258.  

Word?  When do we get tired of this? So a Dark skinned woman  has more malice when she shoplifts a loaf of bread than a light-skinned one?  A Light-skinned woman who neglects her child did it “slightly less” intentionally  than a darker woman brough up on the same charges?

Don’t gt me wrong Madmen, do the crime, do the time.  But if we are up for the same charges, everyone should be going down the exact same way. No preferential treatment because my co-conspirator is light-skinned and I’m dark-skinned. We both steal a car and she gets probation and I get 2 to 3 in the clink? GTFOHWTBS.

The superficial nature of our society destroys so many people from the inside out.  MLK said he dreamed of a country where a person could be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.  He should have dreamed a bit bigger – cause this skin color discrimination phenomenon is global. 

Hear the discussion about internalized racism as a global phenominon Tuesday June 5 @ 10pm on WYMS Radio (call in number 917-889-2924).  If you miss the broadcast, you can always catch it on demand at the site, or in  iTunes search term “WYMS”.


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