Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color

Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color

Nina G. Jablonski

Language: English

Pages: 280

ISBN: 0520283864

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Living Color is the first book to investigate the social history of skin color from prehistory to the present, showing how our body’s most visible feature influences our social interactions in profound and complex ways. Nina Jablonski begins this fascinating and wide-ranging work with an explanation of the biology and evolution of skin pigmentation, tracing how skin color changed as humans moved around the globe, exploring the relationship between melanin and sunlight, and examining the consequences of mismatches between our skin color and our environment due to rapid migrations, vacations, and other life-style choices.

Aided by plentiful illustrations, this book also explains why skin color has become a biological trait with great social meaning—a product of evolution perceived differently by different cultures. It considers how we form impressions of others, how we create and use stereotypes, and how prejudices about dark skin developed and have played out through history—including as justification for the transatlantic slave trade. Offering examples of how attitudes toward skin color differ in the United States, Brazil, India, and South Africa, Jablonski suggests that a knowledge of the evolution and social importance of skin color can help eliminate color-based discrimination and racism.

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