Weaving together personal stories, history, and analysis, Same Family, Different Colors explores the myriad ways skin-color politics affect family dynamics in the United States.
Product Code: 6712
ISBN: 9780807071083
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Published Date: 10/03/2017
Pages: 216
Availability: Not currently available.
(Backorder policy)
Price: $18.00

Colorism and color bias—the preference for or presumed superiority of people based on the lighter color of their skin—is a pervasive but rarely openly discussed phenomenon, one that is centuries old and continues today. In Same Family, Different Colors, journalist Lori Tharps, the mother of three mixed-race children with three distinct skin colors, uses her own family as a starting point to explore how skin-color difference is dealt with in African American, Latino, Asian American, and mixed-race families and communities.

Along with intimate and revealing stories and anecdotes from dozens of diverse people from across the United States, Tharps adds a historical overview and a contemporary cultural critique. Same Family, Different Colors is a solution-seeking journey to the heart of identity politics, so this more subtle “cousin to racism,” in the author’s words, will be acknowledged, understood, and debated.

Bookmark and Share
Author’s Note


The Darker the Berry: African Americans and Color

Mejorando la Raza: Latinos and Color

Fair Enough: Asian Americans and Color

Beige Is the New Black: Mixed-Race Americans and Color



“The author augments her personal experience with eye-opening interviews...A nuanced, forthright, emotionally compelling take on a painful subject.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Tharps explores this taboo and urgent subject with courage, vision, and great sensitivity.” —Michael Eric Dyson

“Colorism is a topic people of color are reluctant to talk about, but Lori L. Tharps investigates this difficult subject with grace, humility, and inclusiveness. Through historical context and frank personal stories, Same Family, Different Colors creates a powerful mediation on what so often goes unsaid even in the closest of families. With its fascinating multicultural focus, there’s something here for everyone to learn about themselves, and others.” —Mat Johnson, author of Loving Day

“The proximity of my skin to whiteness will probably protect me from having my face blown off by a stranger behind a locked door in the middle of the night, but what of my daughter? She, like Renishia McBride, is ‘black from a distance’ and a threat in many places. Colorism in society is dangerously complicated. Colorism in the family is painful. Lori L. Tharps’s provocative book Same Family, Different Colors has the potential to be powerfully healing, but it won’t be a pretty process.” —Michaela Angela Davis, Image Activist/Cultural Critic/Light, Blonde and Black

“A compassionate exploration of colorism in the most private realms of our lives—with our familias—Lori Tharps’ Same Family, Different Colors is a much-needed book for a country (and a world) that grows more multi-hued with every passing year. Tharps combines journalism with history, memoir, and good old-fashioned storytelling to weave a powerful thread across communities and to suggest new ways of embracing our collective futures.” —Daisy Hernandez, author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed: a Memoir

Be the first to submit a review on this product!
Review and Rate this Item

You might also be interested in: