Skin color remains an important factor in social life today. Qualitative interviews with the author, as well as nearly two thousand cases of survey data have all provided evidence to this fact. However, some may wonder if things have changed since the survey data was collected over twenty years ago. No similar comprehensive national study has been done since, but recent, smaller studies suggest that dark skin color remains a strong liability for Mexican Americans and African Americans. For example, in 2000, Mark Hill, in his study of African American men, found that skin tone accounted for more diff erences in social status among the men than family background did. Light-skinned black men retained a signifi cant advantage in the labor market.1 In 2002, Rodolfo Espino and Michael Franz studied skin color diff erences among Latinos. Th ey wrote, “Our fi ndings indicate that darker-skinned Mexicans and Cubans face signifi cantly lower occupational prestige scores than their lighterskinned counterparts even when controlling for factors that infl uence performance in the labor market.”2 Skin tone bias remains persistent over the years and across racial groups. In 2003, Th e Washington Post reported that Latinos who identifi ed as white earned about $5,000 more per year than Latinos who identifi ed as black. White Latinos had lower unemployment rates and lower poverty rates than black Latinos.3 In a similar analysis, Richard Alba, John Logan, and Brian Stults reported that, “Hispanics who describe themselves as black are in substantially poorer and less white neighborhoods than their compatriots who describe themselves as white. Th e penalty they absorb in neighborhood affl uence

varies between $3,500 and $6,000 and thus places them in neighborhoods comparable to those occupied by African Americans.”4 All of these studies published in the past few years reveal that discrimination by skin tone has not eased for Mexican Americans and African Americans. Lighter skin still buys more privileges and dark skin remains a liability in work, housing, and education.