Summary: This CNN video focuses on the differential treatment of African Americans based on the skin tone (i.e. comparing lighter and darker skinned African-Americas). It uses Dr. Michael Dyson (a successful, light skinned black male sociology professor) and his younger brother (an incarcerated, dark skinned black male) as a case study of two people raised in the same disadvantaged circumstances but end up with very different outcomes. The commentator asks how they end up in such different places? Both men emphasize that their lives were guided by individual choices but Michael insists that he was allowed and encouraged to make better choices and was given the vocabulary to express them. The differential treatment that Michael Dyson received because he was a "curly top, yellow Negro" was evident, and the video discusses the role of skin tone in shaping their paths through life. It can be used not only to initiate discussions of how race is socially constructed but how racial distinctions (and discrimination) exist within the Black community. See also this documentary on shadeism, and this documentary on the social construction of race.
Submitted By: Angela Johns and Brittany Goldsboro