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Recent high-profile research suggests that social indicators like incarceration influence racial categorization. Yet, this research has largely ignored colorism—intraracial differences in skin tone that matter for stratification outcomes. In two experiments, we address how skin tone interacts with criminal background to produce external racial classification and skin tone attributions. We find no evidence that criminal history affects external racial classification or skin tone attribution. However, we find that skin tone is a strong and consistent predictor of external racial classification and skin tone attribution.


© 2017 The Author(s). Original published version available at

Publication Title

Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World



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Sociology Commons



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