How do we begin to unravel the tightly woven matrix of race, color, and history that seems to predate almost everything we know? Is there a point of origin for colorism that we can fi nd? I argue that the European colonial project in the Americas and the traffi cking of Africans as slaves set the stage, both ideologically and materially, for the systems of racism and colorism we now know. Because Europeans and European Americans used their power to culturally, politically, and economically dominate Africans and Mexicans (including indigenous people of the Americas), they created a “white is right” culture that served to support their colonial and slave society endeavors. In this chapter, I try to unravel how each of these systems got started and how racism spawned colorism-the system of assigning value to people by the lightness or darkness of their skin color within racial groups.