Discrimination based on skin color, also known as colourism or shadeism, is a form of prejudice or discrimination in which people are treated differently based on the social meanings attached to skin color.
Research has found extensive evidence of discrimination based on skin color in criminal justice, business, the economy, housing, health care, media, and politics in the United States and Europe. Lighter skin tones are seen as preferable in many countries in Africa, Asia and South America.
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Several meta-analyses find extensive evidence of ethnic and racial discrimination in hiring in the North American and European labor markets. A 2016 meta-analysis of 738 correspondence tests in 43 separate studies conducted in OECD countries between 1990 and 2015 finds that there is extensive racial discrimination used within both the European and North American hiring process.
Equivalent minority candidates need to send around 50% more applications than majority candidates to be invited for an interview. Recent research in the U.S. shows that socioeconomic and health inequality among African Americans along the color continuum is often similar or even larger in magnitude than what obtains betweens whites and African Americans as a whole.