Shades of Brown: The Law of Skin Color

72 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2001

See all articles by Trina Jones

Trina Jones

Duke University School of Law


Because antidiscrimination efforts have focused primarily on race, courts have largely ignored discrimination within racial classifications on the basis of skin color. In this Article, Professor Jones brings light to this area by examining the historical and contemporary significance of skin color in the United States. She argues that discrimination based on skin color, or colorism, is a present reality and predicts that this form of discrimination will assume increasing significance in the future as current understandings of race and racial classifications disintegrate. She maintains that the legal system must develop a firm understanding of colorism in order for the quest for equality of opportunity to succeed.

Suggested Citation

Jones, Trina, Shades of Brown: The Law of Skin Color. Duke Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 7, Available at SSRN: or

Trina Jones (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States
919-613-7177 (Phone)
919-613-7231 (Fax)

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