Study Finds That African-American College Students Prefer Light-Skinned Blacks as Dating or Marriage Partners

Historically, light skin has been regarded as an asset in the black community. In the early years of the twentieth century almost all students at some of the nation’s prestigious historically black colleges and universities were light-skinned.

A new study, published in the journal Race, Class & Gender, shows that African-American college students continue to prefer light skin when looking for dating and marriage partners. Researchers interviewed black men and women at a predominantly white university in the Midwest about their preferences for dating and marriage partners. The study found that 64 percent of black men preferred light-skinned black women. Nearly a third of the black men interviewed said that skin color was the most important feature they were concerned with in choosing dating partners. Only 4 percent preferred women with very dark skin.

For black women, 64 percent preferred light-skinned black men and 30 percent preferred men with very dark skin. More than a quarter of the black women said skin color was the most important attribute they considered when choosing whom to date.