Race and Social Problems

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 320–331 | Cite as

Examining Skin Color and Discrimination Among Ethnic Minority Adolescents

  • Jesse BozoEmail author
  • Michelle Revels-Macalinao
  • Virginia Huynh


Discrimination based on skin color is illegal, yet preferential treatment based on skin color persists and there is less clarity on how one’s nativity and parents play a role between skin color and discrimination. This study examined the associations among skin color and subtle discrimination (i.e., microaggressions) among Latina/o (63.5%) and Asian American (36.5%) adolescents (N = 244; Mage = 17.12, SD = .73; 55% female). This study also examined whether nativity status, parent ethnic racial socialization, and parental acculturation (via parent language proficiency) moderated the association between skin color and microaggressions. Adolescents with darker skin color reported more microaggressions. In addition, the association between skin color and microaggressions was found among foreign-born adolescents, but not US-born adolescents. Neither parental acculturation or parent ethnic racial socialization moderated the association between skin color and microaggressions. These results suggest that, like race and ethnicity, skin color may be a marker for adolescents receiving subtle discrimination, particularly among foreign-born youth.


Adolescents Skin color Microaggressions Nativity status Parental acculturation Racial socialization 



Funding was provided by Foundation for Psychocultural Research UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development (Grant No. #8TL4GM118977-02) and National Institute of Health (NIH)-funded Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) (Grant No. #5RL5MD009603-02).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesse Bozo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michelle Revels-Macalinao
    • 1
  • Virginia Huynh
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCalifornia State UniversityNorthridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Child and Adolescent DevelopmentCalifornia State UniversityNorthridgeUSA

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