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"Fair and Lovely: Colorism and Asian American Women"

Nikki Khanna
Nikki Khanna
Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Vermont
via Zoom

Colorism, the practice whereby light skin is privileged over dark, has been widely acknowledged and studied among African Americans and Latinx populations. Though this research has grown exponentially in recent decades, less attention has been given to Asian Americans, for whom colorism is equally pervasive and deeply entrenched. This talk focuses on colorism among Asian American women and the twin pressures for light skin stemming from (1) the cultural importance given to light skin in most Asian ethnic communities and(2) the ubiquity of whiteness and white beauty in the United States.

Nikki Khanna received her M.A. at University of Georgia (2000) and her Ph.D. from Emory University (2007). She is currently an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Vermont where she regularly teaches courses on race and ethnic relations. She is author of Biracial in America: Forming and Performing Racial Identity(2011), editor and author of Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism(2020), and co-author of Race Relations in America: Examining the Facts (2021). Her work has been featured in local, national, and international outlets such as TIME, BBC, CNN,NBC, NPR, and more. For more information, see

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