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Heartfelt personal accounts from Asian-American women on their experiences with skin color bias, from being labeled "too dark" to becoming empowered to challenge beauty standards "I have a vivid memory of standing in my grandmother's kitchen, where, by the table, she closely watched me as I played. When I finally looked up to ask why she was staring, her expression changed Heartfelt personal accounts from Asian-American women on their experiences with skin color bias, from being labeled "too dark" to becoming empowered to challenge beauty standards "I have a vivid memory of standing in my grandmother's kitchen, where, by the table, she closely watched me as I played. When I finally looked up to ask why she was staring, her expression changed from that of intent observer to one of guilt and shame. . . . 'My anak (dear child), ' she began, 'you are so beautiful. It is a shame that you are so dark. No Filipino man will ever want to marry you.'"-"Shade of Brown," Noelle Marie Falcis How does skin color impact the lives of Asian-American women? In Whiter, thirty Asian-American women provide first-hand accounts of their experiences with colorism in this collection of powerful, accessible, and brutally honest essays, edited by Nikki Khanna. Featuring contributors of many ages, nationalities, and professions, this compelling collection covers a wide range of topics, including light-skin privilege, aspirational whiteness, and anti-blackness. From skin-whitening creams to cosmetic surgery, Whiter amplifies the diverse voices of Asian-American women who continue to bravely challenge the power of skin color in their own lives.


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Heartfelt personal accounts from Asian-American women on their experiences with skin color bias, from being labeled "too dark" to becoming empowered to challenge beauty standards "I have a vivid memory of standing in my grandmother's kitchen, where, by the table, she closely watched me as I played. When I finally looked up to ask why she was staring, her expression changed Heartfelt personal accounts from Asian-American women on their experiences with skin color bias, from being labeled "too dark" to becoming empowered to challenge beauty standards "I have a vivid memory of standing in my grandmother's kitchen, where, by the table, she closely watched me as I played. When I finally looked up to ask why she was staring, her expression changed from that of intent observer to one of guilt and shame. . . . 'My anak (dear child), ' she began, 'you are so beautiful. It is a shame that you are so dark. No Filipino man will ever want to marry you.'"-"Shade of Brown," Noelle Marie Falcis How does skin color impact the lives of Asian-American women? In Whiter, thirty Asian-American women provide first-hand accounts of their experiences with colorism in this collection of powerful, accessible, and brutally honest essays, edited by Nikki Khanna. Featuring contributors of many ages, nationalities, and professions, this compelling collection covers a wide range of topics, including light-skin privilege, aspirational whiteness, and anti-blackness. From skin-whitening creams to cosmetic surgery, Whiter amplifies the diverse voices of Asian-American women who continue to bravely challenge the power of skin color in their own lives.

55 review for Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alina

    ***Note: I received a copy curtesy of Netgalley and NYU Press in exchange for an honest review. Considering the sensitive subject, I expected to like it more, but several things prevented me from giving it a higher rating. Only the introduction represented about 20% of the book, presenting the topic and giving a too detailed summary of the essays. Even more, each and every part started with such a summary from the editor, often citing parts of the essays themselves - I found this terribly redu ***Note: I received a copy curtesy of Netgalley and NYU Press in exchange for an honest review. Considering the sensitive subject, I expected to like it more, but several things prevented me from giving it a higher rating. Only the introduction represented about 20% of the book, presenting the topic and giving a too detailed summary of the essays. Even more, each and every part started with such a summary from the editor, often citing parts of the essays themselves - I found this terribly redundant. Also, the material in the essays kept repeating and, if at first I was very impressed about the importance of the nuances and depth of color of the skin for the writers, after several mentions of 'my mother told me not to play in the sun', 'my aunt/uncle/auntie told me I'm too dark', 'commercials for skin color lightening are everywhere', unfortunately these tended to lose their big impact from the beginning. I don't mean to downplay the importance of these facts in the writers' lives, just to mention the impact these repetitions in the book had on me. Ironically, I remember when I was little I used to pull the corners of my eyes as I was looking in the mirror and wishing I had slant eyes and darker skin, as my skin was quite pale and it tended more to burn than to tan. Even as a white female, you are exposed from an early age to tons of beauty standards, in movies, commercials, magazines, etc: slim body, long legs, perfect skin, perfect hair, voluptuous lips - most of the girls will not meet one, or several, or maybe any of them. I saw a lot of different women in my wanderings and lots of the non-white ones were really beautiful, I’m so very sorry to hear that so many of them have such insecurity issues, but so do many of the white women. Outside beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we all are beautiful to someone, but inside beauty is much more important, and we must always remember this. ========== I especially liked this part of an essay: ”[..] look at someone like me or like Nolan and believe we are the look of “progress” and that racism will be erased once we all become mixed. With mixing, our skin colors will blend into a honey-tinted tone, and racism will be defeated. […] Personally, I regard with suspicion the idea that we can fuck our way out of this country’s racism and white supremacy.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Reading_ Tamishly

    What I liked the most about this read was the day today references made not only from India but from other countries like Japan, China, Thailand, and yes, throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. I enjoyed reading the examples citing the real beauty products along with the models or the actors and the beauty race alongwith the difference on how the glamour industry looks differently based on the gender and as a general rule the female species of the human race has to appear fa What I liked the most about this read was the day today references made not only from India but from other countries like Japan, China, Thailand, and yes, throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. I enjoyed reading the examples citing the real beauty products along with the models or the actors and the beauty race alongwith the difference on how the glamour industry looks differently based on the gender and as a general rule the female species of the human race has to appear fairer or whiter as compared to the male species. I like the part where it has been specifically pointed out to the readers as how the mass is made to believe how the most beautiful women in the world would look like by featuring only the white celebrities or models. Personally, I loved the second half of the book that elaborated more on personal experiences from different perspectives and real life incidences. This book is such an eye-opener regarding the facts given from the different perspectives of different personalities apart from what people (including the author herself) in India experience when it comes to the 'fairness' obsession. Thank you #NetGalley for providing me a copy of #Whiter

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elena L.

    "You're so white; you're so pretty" WHITER is a collection of essays by thirty women of different ethnicity, skin shades and racial backgrounds in which Asian American women describe their experiences with skin-color privilege and discrimination within their ethnic communities and American society. The obsession with whiteness and light skin is deeply embedded in both American and Asian cultures: we are overwhelmed by skin-whitening products and we see racists commercials yet so "effective" beca "You're so white; you're so pretty" WHITER is a collection of essays by thirty women of different ethnicity, skin shades and racial backgrounds in which Asian American women describe their experiences with skin-color privilege and discrimination within their ethnic communities and American society. The obsession with whiteness and light skin is deeply embedded in both American and Asian cultures: we are overwhelmed by skin-whitening products and we see racists commercials yet so "effective" because of the widely shared cultural beliefs that darker skin is a stigma. White skin is linked to social perceptions of beauty, sophistication and high social class. This social pressure affects racial and ethnic groups worldwide and contributes to negative stereotypes, even influencing the concept of arranged and multiracial marriage, which one seeks light-skinned partners. Skin color also affects the sense of belonging within Asian American communities - it messes with identity and reinforces the feeling of otherness. Is it coincidence that what Asian women consider beautiful happens to mirror the Eurocentric beauty norms? It all goes back to colonialism. However, over time, it's interesting to read how beauty standards have changed in American culture, which tanned skin is considered attractive. American tanning culture eases the pressure, allowing more flexibility in skin shade compared to Asia. Nevertheless, it's important to emphasize the fine line between sun-tanned skin and dark skin. Also, there's an anti-black sentiment among Asians and Asian American community - highly harmful and problematic. Through each woman's personal and vulnerable story, we are once more reminded of how we are highly influenced by colorist beliefs, but we are also inspired by journeys towards self-acceptance and the embrace of own skin shade. The issue regarding colorism is real and this book gave me a deeper understanding of the politics of skin color. In the end, we need to fight this social pressure that strives for whiteness. [ I received a complimentary copy from the publisher - New York University Press - in exchange for an honest review ]

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sachi Argabright

    WHITER, edited by Nikki Khanna, is an anthology collection from various Asian American women describing their experiences with colorism. Divided into 6 parts: Colorism Defined, Privilege, Aspirational Whiteness, Anti-Blackness, Belonging and Identity, Skin-Redefined; this book balances facts and explanations with anecdotes from the contributors. Featuring a wide range of ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds, this book illustrates the broad spectrum of issues this topic raises within Asian American WHITER, edited by Nikki Khanna, is an anthology collection from various Asian American women describing their experiences with colorism. Divided into 6 parts: Colorism Defined, Privilege, Aspirational Whiteness, Anti-Blackness, Belonging and Identity, Skin-Redefined; this book balances facts and explanations with anecdotes from the contributors. Featuring a wide range of ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds, this book illustrates the broad spectrum of issues this topic raises within Asian American communities. This. Book. Between this and MINOR FEELINGS, I can’t explain how important it is that these books are being published. I absolutely loved this book, and put SO many book darts in my copy and have a giant list of notes. Obviously I can’t outline every single thing, but here are the major things I learned (Also, I recognize that I am a racially ambiguous, light skinned, biracial individual and there are certain privileges that come with that. I didn’t know nearly enough about colorism as I should, and that’s partially because my mother didn’t press them upon me, but also because they don’t effect me as much. This is no excuse, and I’m thankful this book has helped me understand that). Skin lightening products are still extremely popular and prevalent (1/3 of Chinese facial products are skin whiteners); Skin lightening in the Asian community isn’t necessarily directed toward wanting to become white or idolize the West, and can be focused on wanting to look like an upper class Asian; People theorizing that the future “melting pot effect” will fix racism doesn’t make sense when colorism is so prevalent today; Growing Asian representation in media and Hollywood is important, but most of the time brown people are left out of the picture; Fair skin can be perceived as “non threatening,” unlike brown skin, leaving a wide gap of how various Asian Americans are perceived; Biracial individuals can be seen as privileged in one of their communities and discriminated in the other; Being “too dark” or “too light” can have others in the Asian community questioning their identity Again, this might be basic and common knowledge for people, and if that’s the case this book might not be as impactful. But if you were surprised by any of those facts, definitely pick this book up. Overall, the quote that resonated with me most is, “There is more than one way to look Asian.”

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sunni C. | vanreads

    Just finished reading this (in mostly one sitting because I couldn’t stop) and I’m really impressed! I’ve been wanting to read a book that covers racism, colorism, and culture in Asian communities, and this book does all of that. I love how the experiences are from a wide range of Asian people from different backgrounds. More thoughts to come later.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mana

    This is a compilation of different personal essays that explore how race, skin color, culture, and appearance have roles in Asian social hierarchies. These were well written but often repetitive. This is the collection that I wished for when I was in my late teens, early twenties. The editor Nikki Khanna introduces each subtopic with a short passage. Each of Khanna's passages are well-researched and succinct. She references some of my favorite writers, sociologists, and psychologists so maybe I'm This is a compilation of different personal essays that explore how race, skin color, culture, and appearance have roles in Asian social hierarchies. These were well written but often repetitive. This is the collection that I wished for when I was in my late teens, early twenties. The editor Nikki Khanna introduces each subtopic with a short passage. Each of Khanna's passages are well-researched and succinct. She references some of my favorite writers, sociologists, and psychologists so maybe I'm biased. The women who were included in the book have different styles and approaches to colorism in Asian communities. Some were more academic, others focus more on specific memories, and some read like letters to family members. The varying styles helped the collection fresh, even though a lot of the same points were repeated in each essay.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    This book is a wonderful series of personal essays on skin discrimination. I love that it included most of South East Asia and not just India. The worst offenders of skin tone discrimination is most often our own family and loved ones.Wish this book could be published in India,I know most of us can relate to the experiences of the people in this book. An eye opening book on how skin color controls a lot of life situations.Growing up Indian we all know or are the person that had to deal with someone This book is a wonderful series of personal essays on skin discrimination. I love that it included most of South East Asia and not just India. The worst offenders of skin tone discrimination is most often our own family and loved ones.Wish this book could be published in India,I know most of us can relate to the experiences of the people in this book. An eye opening book on how skin color controls a lot of life situations.Growing up Indian we all know or are the person that had to deal with someone who told us our skin was not light enough. Thankyou Netgalley for this ARC

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shana

    ***I received an ARC through NetGalley*** While there is a decent amount of writing about colorism within the Black community, you'd be hard-pressed to find much about it among Asian Americans. Apart from stating that it exists, not many have truly delved into the complicated matter of exploring colorism within a community that is, for all intents and purposes, made up. It is unimaginable to think such a huge swath of land and people could be summed up in one word and treated as if it was one ent ***I received an ARC through NetGalley*** While there is a decent amount of writing about colorism within the Black community, you'd be hard-pressed to find much about it among Asian Americans. Apart from stating that it exists, not many have truly delved into the complicated matter of exploring colorism within a community that is, for all intents and purposes, made up. It is unimaginable to think such a huge swath of land and people could be summed up in one word and treated as if it was one entity, and yet here we find ourselves. Despite these challenges, Khanna provides an excellent primer and heartfelt inquiry into exactly this topic. Drawing from a multitude of women from different backgrounds and experiences, she has collected the varied stories, thoughts, and feelings that go into being an Asian American woman in a society/culture that values one shade of skin above all. While each perspective is precious, it is Khanna's introduction to each chapter that truly shines. I wasn't able to fully follow each category that she outlined, but was impressed by her research and knowledge on each nuanced topic. In this way, the book is both perfectly suited for those just beginning to understand colorism to those who have been aware of it for a while. It appeals to this wide audience not just on an emotional level, but on a mental one as well.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Krystelle Fitzpatrick

    There’s a lot to be understood about the many facets of racism and how physical appearance defines how we are treated, approached, and even cared for by our own families. This book is a brilliant series of essays on exactly how colourism manifests within Asian communities, and how it impacts on the lives of young people (women especially) as it becomes ingrained in their everyday lives from the minute they are born. I found the many forms that colourism takes particularly interesting, as I didn’ There’s a lot to be understood about the many facets of racism and how physical appearance defines how we are treated, approached, and even cared for by our own families. This book is a brilliant series of essays on exactly how colourism manifests within Asian communities, and how it impacts on the lives of young people (women especially) as it becomes ingrained in their everyday lives from the minute they are born. I found the many forms that colourism takes particularly interesting, as I didn’t realise there was such a deep expanse to it all. Sure, I knew that women were subjected to ‘skin-lightening’ ads and that a glut of these were incredibly racist, but I didn’t realise how much it impacted the social facets of one’s life, from job prospects to marriage to even having children. It was quite a shell-shock, but a necessary one. The personal anecdotes of the women who have contributed to this book were enlightening and heartbreaking as well, and I feel like it would do a world of good to have parents especially realise just how much harm these socially ingrained beliefs causes their children and those who come after them based on their features. Physical appearance should not define love, and yet it makes such an impact across the globe as we vilify darker features for an ideal that makes no sense to install on a pedestal. Thank you to NetGalley for my ARC!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Becky B

    A collection of essays by Asian American women on their experiences with skin color, colorism, and how culture and context have influenced those experiences. I've lived in Asia for 16 years now. For several years I had to buy hand cream in the States and bring it back with me because I could not find any without whitening agents in it here in Asia. There's more exported products available now, so I can buy the brand I used to bring over in my luggage in a local store, but there are no Asian-produ A collection of essays by Asian American women on their experiences with skin color, colorism, and how culture and context have influenced those experiences. I've lived in Asia for 16 years now. For several years I had to buy hand cream in the States and bring it back with me because I could not find any without whitening agents in it here in Asia. There's more exported products available now, so I can buy the brand I used to bring over in my luggage in a local store, but there are no Asian-produced hand creams without whitening agents in them on most store shelves. I've been in charge of the Senior trip for almost a decade now, and every year the students complain that they get dark on the trip. Now, I've also learned that the sun here in the tropics can be dangerous with too much exposure, and I have a healthy respect and appreciation of the need to avoid sunburn. But most of the kids are more concerned with the shade of skin they walk away with rather than burning. I've talked to students who refuse to play soccer (even though they are gifted athletes and would be amazing at it) because they don't want to get darker playing in the sun. So the push to be whiter in the Asian community is not news to me. I picked this up to better know how to talk to students about their comments about their skin and the fear of getting darker. I will be adding it to our library shelves, and I hope that it will help students and teachers be better able to love their skin whatever the shade, and help further create a culture in which all shades are welcome and appreciated. Notes on content: A couple minor swears and 4 strong swears. Some racial slurs experienced are related. No sexual content. Some acts of violence are mentioned in passing, but no detailed stories.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amelia

    I really liked what this book was trying to achieve, but the way it was done didn't convince me the way I was hoping for. There has been just example after example with very similar experiences, that are of course all important, but in this amount just too redundant to read. Also I'd wished for something that put all the things these women were talking about, into a bigger context. The induction was trying to achieve this, but was too long and it would have been better to put all the information I really liked what this book was trying to achieve, but the way it was done didn't convince me the way I was hoping for. There has been just example after example with very similar experiences, that are of course all important, but in this amount just too redundant to read. Also I'd wished for something that put all the things these women were talking about, into a bigger context. The induction was trying to achieve this, but was too long and it would have been better to put all the informations as a background in between all these stories. But I really appreciated the insight this book gave me. This book has been provided to me by #netgalley.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lilian

    Please see my full review on link: my blog. Thanks, NYU Press via NetGalley for allowing me to read this book. Please see my full review on link: my blog. Thanks, NYU Press via NetGalley for allowing me to read this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy For Paperback Treasures

    This book, a collection of essays gathered together by Nikki Khanna, is enlightening, illuminating. After reading this, I know those are the worst phrases to use in regards to personal accounts from Asian American women on colorism, but they are the most apt. Reading this book made me want to better educate myself. We can’t rewrite history, but we can, with knowledge of past mistakes, ensure they do not happen again. Mistakes are nothing but moments in time, if one does not learn from them. My ho This book, a collection of essays gathered together by Nikki Khanna, is enlightening, illuminating. After reading this, I know those are the worst phrases to use in regards to personal accounts from Asian American women on colorism, but they are the most apt. Reading this book made me want to better educate myself. We can’t rewrite history, but we can, with knowledge of past mistakes, ensure they do not happen again. Mistakes are nothing but moments in time, if one does not learn from them. My hope is that whoever reads this book, recognizes something in themselves and makes a change. While the main focus of this collection is on colorism in Asian culture, Nikki Khanna doesn’t forget how others of non-white ethnicity are affected by the same colorist attitude. The stark reality is that racism is alive and well, even among people of the same ethnic groups, in the form of colorism. I understand the importance of this book,it is eye opening. My only objection is to the essay part introductions. I know why she is reiterating this information and explaining the importance of the next set of essays, I just felt it was a bit redundant. I felt she was just repeating the books introduction, only with different words. I read these stories and I am saddened and distressed for my friends from ethnic backgrounds unlike my own. I am disgusted that these women I know and hold very dear,have grown up under this propaganda that lighter is better. I do not know the stories of their entire lives or all that they have been through. I want to hug them and tell them “You are beautiful, because you are you.” I can not relate wholly to the essays in this book, but I can feel for these women who feel unacceptable to their own families and peers. I believe we as women, as humans, have all felt that way at one point or another. To be bombarded with “tsk,tsk, why can’t you be..” is something we can relate to. A feeling of different and not belonging. I digress, I think this is a book that all women can relate to and learn from. It is an education on acceptance, of one’s self and of others, something we need more of. I would definitely suggest picking this book up when it hits the shelves.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emi Bevacqua

    This book is a modern day masterclass on Colorism, an insidious thing I always knew existed but never knew the name for: "a term first coined by novelist Alice Walker in 1983," "a cousin of racism," brought about in part by colonialism and imperialism and consumerism. Through a series of eloquent essays, written by Asian American women of varying skintones, ages and backgrounds, Nikki Khanna presents a brilliant overview of relevant themes such as otherness, "forever foreigners" and even brings This book is a modern day masterclass on Colorism, an insidious thing I always knew existed but never knew the name for: "a term first coined by novelist Alice Walker in 1983," "a cousin of racism," brought about in part by colonialism and imperialism and consumerism. Through a series of eloquent essays, written by Asian American women of varying skintones, ages and backgrounds, Nikki Khanna presents a brilliant overview of relevant themes such as otherness, "forever foreigners" and even brings up present-day politics and representation through social media, apps and emojis. Khanna's thoughtful section headings include Privilege, Aspirational Whiteness, and Antiblackness among others. Having lived in Japan and traveled a lot of Asia for 5 years after college as a Haffu myself, I've noticed that Asians are much more forthright and vocal in their attention to physical appearance, but I found this collection of firsthand accounts of families harassing their girls about their skin color to be shocking. And the fact that this is evidenced among black and Latino populations as well is horrifying. I distinctly recall being impressed by Malaysia's ban on caucasian models from advertising billboards in the capitol city Kuala Lumpur, while traveling there in the early 90's, and am so disappointed to read here that that's no longer the case. I'm not sure I believe one writer's assertion that "Cosmetic surgery is the norm nowadays in Asia, the United States, and worldwide" or another's blanket statement that "In Philippine television, beautiful people are light and rich. Ugly people are dark and poor (the redeeming ones are comical at best). US media is no different"... but I wholeheartedly agree that these definitely are growing problems, that Nikki Khanna's spotlighting the issue is crucial, and as Rosalie Chan's last line succinctly puts it, "Vilifying dark skin must stop."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nuha

    Thank you to NYU Press and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy. Available now! In Whiter, professor Nikki Khanna strives to illustrate colorism in the Asian American society, primarily through essays written by a diverse group of women from Filipina, Cambodian, Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese, and Japanese cultures. One of the strengths of this book is that she is able to catch similar trends across all of these informal essays - that Asian American societies are inherently colorist, that light Thank you to NYU Press and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy. Available now! In Whiter, professor Nikki Khanna strives to illustrate colorism in the Asian American society, primarily through essays written by a diverse group of women from Filipina, Cambodian, Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese, and Japanese cultures. One of the strengths of this book is that she is able to catch similar trends across all of these informal essays - that Asian American societies are inherently colorist, that lighter skin holds priviledges but can sometimes exclude you from being "authentic" and that there is a closeted antiblack sentiment in colorism. The narratives are fascinating as they are pulled from different parts of American society and different socioeconomic levels. As a first generation Bangladeshi immigrant who was often considered in between shades of brown and fat, I identified with many of these narratives. What resonated throughout the book is how often our notion of "race" in America is situation dependent and often defined by whiteness. For example, when I am with my American or Indian friends, I am considered "desi" but when I am with my Latinx friends, I am considered "Mexican" by white people. While the stories do have a positive note, "embrace your unique skin color", I wish there was more qualitative information. How much do the fashion industries make profiting off of white skin? Who owns these businesses? How is the marketing so prevalent? These are some questions that remain unanswered.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Zoé

    “Only as an adult do I understand colorism for what it is— a repressive, sexist, and racist practice that disadvantages much of the world’s population.” Split into six carefully curated sections (Colorism Defined, Privilege, Aspirational Whiteness, Anti-Blackness, Belonging and Identity, Skin— Redefined), this anthology is an ambitious feat in providing more clarity to the nuanced, complex issue of colorism. These 30 accounts of lived experiences by Asian American women sheds light on this unders “Only as an adult do I understand colorism for what it is— a repressive, sexist, and racist practice that disadvantages much of the world’s population.” Split into six carefully curated sections (Colorism Defined, Privilege, Aspirational Whiteness, Anti-Blackness, Belonging and Identity, Skin— Redefined), this anthology is an ambitious feat in providing more clarity to the nuanced, complex issue of colorism. These 30 accounts of lived experiences by Asian American women sheds light on this understudied issue, deeply rooted in Asian ethnic cultures, European colonisation, exacerbated by capitalism and consumerism. Having grown up between Asia and the U.S., I saw myself in the accounts of these women and also learned so much from the experiences I hadn’t had first hand. And for that, I thank each of the contributors and editor for their vulnerability, hard work of putting words to experience, and courage to share it with the readers. Whether or not you have experienced colorism as an Asian American woman, this is a powerful must-read for all races and genders— both in and outside the U.S. Thanks to NetGalley for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m so glad that I’m pushing myself to read new books, new authors, and new genres this year, because otherwise I may not have encountered this important book. I learned so much about colorism in this book and the way that it impacts a variety of communities, focusing on Asian/Asian American ones. I am grateful for the 30 women who shared intensely personal stories about the impact that colorism has or has had on their lives, and I I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m so glad that I’m pushing myself to read new books, new authors, and new genres this year, because otherwise I may not have encountered this important book. I learned so much about colorism in this book and the way that it impacts a variety of communities, focusing on Asian/Asian American ones. I am grateful for the 30 women who shared intensely personal stories about the impact that colorism has or has had on their lives, and I felt connected to the women who are now navigating this unfair world as mothers of girls and young women. I also appreciate the editor of this book, Nikki Khanna who wrote such thoughtful and well-researched introductions to each part and to the book itself. Our country needs this book, so thank you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    First of all, thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book. I was really interested to read it because it addresses an important issue that isn't often addressed re: Asian Americans. It fills a gap and that alone drew my attention. I enjoyed the breadth of the experiences that the editor gathered and the introductions to each section. Though this covers a weighty subject, the book is very readable and can be enjoyed by an academic and a reader just intere First of all, thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book. I was really interested to read it because it addresses an important issue that isn't often addressed re: Asian Americans. It fills a gap and that alone drew my attention. I enjoyed the breadth of the experiences that the editor gathered and the introductions to each section. Though this covers a weighty subject, the book is very readable and can be enjoyed by an academic and a reader just interested in learning more about colorism, or even just Asian culture. It would be a great choice for a class on colorism as there is much to unpack here.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Diane Secchiaroli

    This was a nonfiction book review of the attitudes of South Asian Black and Asian women towards the color of their skin. I did not know that the lighter the race is the more beautiful, easier to marry and more educated the woman is perceived to be. Light skinned people thus are more desirable in the major cultures. Africa was not reviewed. There are personal essays throughout the book demonstrating this phenomenon. I found the book to be very informative and interesting. Thanks to NetGalley for This was a nonfiction book review of the attitudes of South Asian Black and Asian women towards the color of their skin. I did not know that the lighter the race is the more beautiful, easier to marry and more educated the woman is perceived to be. Light skinned people thus are more desirable in the major cultures. Africa was not reviewed. There are personal essays throughout the book demonstrating this phenomenon. I found the book to be very informative and interesting. Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    2.5

  21. 4 out of 5

    Reader

    A powerful collection of essays by Asian American women on colorism and racism. Colorism is not discussed enough in the media / our world and it happens within and between races. Though slightly repetitive, the commonality of themes is also a strength in that it shows the patterns (that aren’t just specific to one region!) — parents telling their children not to spend time in the sun, peers pulling their eyes back to mock, women contemplating double-eyelid surgeries, the huge market and use and A powerful collection of essays by Asian American women on colorism and racism. Colorism is not discussed enough in the media / our world and it happens within and between races. Though slightly repetitive, the commonality of themes is also a strength in that it shows the patterns (that aren’t just specific to one region!) — parents telling their children not to spend time in the sun, peers pulling their eyes back to mock, women contemplating double-eyelid surgeries, the huge market and use and prevalence of skin whitening creams, lemon, chemicals to make oneself lighter... I remember being horrified to learn that one of my Chinese American friends was using a whitening cream and now in retrospect realize why she looked so unnaturally pale. The book also touches on so many other points on the subject such as that the desire for lighter skin at least historically in China was NOT related to westernized standards of beauty, in fact it was more related to class and being rich enough to stay indoors and not go out under the sun to work the fields. This is such an important point, I think, though these days one has to also consider westernization. I’m glad not to have encountered this book when I was younger, though, because in a way I could easily see the book doing the opposite of its intention: perpetuating the very “beauty” standards it is fighting by repeating these voices over and over. On the other hand, there is power in giving page space to all the criticisms so one can squash em and assert one’s own voice. After reading this, I found myself looking at my skin with new eyes wondering if in the past other Asian Americans or Asians judged me for being darker because growing up in CA for some reason maybe because of the diversity I hadn’t thought about it. It made me glad to be raised by someone who never told me I shouldn’t play in the sun (but did encourage sunscreen for the skin cancer and wrinkle prevention) or that I was ugly because of not being a “light-skinned Asian” like in the Chinese/Taiwanese/Korean magazines. I think all children should grow up feeling special for who they are whatever skin tone or other factors, confidence is so important. The book also made me wonder if the phrase “Asians don’t raisin” is not only to do with genetics but also connected to the fact that Asian people — those who value lighter skin at least — are more prone to avoid the sun, wear sunscreen, use hats and parasols… on the other hand, even I, someone who is decidedly tan and definitely likes the sun, still get mistaken for a high school or college student…

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    I wasn't aware of this issue until the early 90's. as a young, white woman, I never really gave color a thought. My first encounter was with women I worked with who were horrified that I spent time working on my tan on days off! One was Puerto Rican and the other Thai. it was just astonishing to them that us white women tanned! Whiter was better to both of them and they stayed out of the sun so as not to turn brown. Then a few years later, I discovered the same issue among children in our Black I wasn't aware of this issue until the early 90's. as a young, white woman, I never really gave color a thought. My first encounter was with women I worked with who were horrified that I spent time working on my tan on days off! One was Puerto Rican and the other Thai. it was just astonishing to them that us white women tanned! Whiter was better to both of them and they stayed out of the sun so as not to turn brown. Then a few years later, I discovered the same issue among children in our Black community. I spend much time trying stop the insults the darker children endured. Just so sad. This is the first book I've ever seen written on the subject and I am just dumbfounded by it! In recent weeks colorism has become a subject in the news and protests around the world are bringing the issue to the foreground for many people. Whitening products are being removed from shelves around the world it seems. At any rate, Nikki Khanna's book is a real timely book and a must read. Kudos to the Ms. Khanna!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas

    Whiter is a wonderful collection of essays by Asian American women on colorism. ⁣ ⁣ What I think was fantastic about this book is that it’s voices and topics are so diverse. The essayists all kinds of asian women (north, south, east, west, mixed). ⁣ ⁣ And the essays dive into the complicated views on skin color within the Asian/Asian American community exploring the value of white skin, how skin color can dictate how we’re accepted and defined, skin privilege, aspirational whiteness, anti-blackness Whiter is a wonderful collection of essays by Asian American women on colorism. ⁣ ⁣ What I think was fantastic about this book is that it’s voices and topics are so diverse. The essayists all kinds of asian women (north, south, east, west, mixed). ⁣ ⁣ And the essays dive into the complicated views on skin color within the Asian/Asian American community exploring the value of white skin, how skin color can dictate how we’re accepted and defined, skin privilege, aspirational whiteness, anti-blackness and so much more. ⁣ ⁣ Each essay is personal and eye opening. It is definitely an educational read but it isn’t didactic. And I highly recommend! For everyone asian or not. Women or not. Even as a brown skinned Asian man it was relatable. ⁣ ⁣

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chelsi

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily Yang

  26. 5 out of 5

    Equal Opportunity Reader

  27. 5 out of 5

    Samar

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lyka

  29. 4 out of 5

    mad mags

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

  31. 4 out of 5

    Kusaimamekirai

  32. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

  33. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tamishly

  34. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Brown

  35. 4 out of 5

    Nuku Hiva

  36. 4 out of 5

    Emily Chandler

  37. 4 out of 5

    Shazia

  38. 4 out of 5

    Dedra

  39. 4 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

  40. 5 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

  41. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  42. 4 out of 5

    Kay Card

  43. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  44. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  45. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

  46. 4 out of 5

    Zakiya Briggs

  47. 4 out of 5

    Mahrukh Ahmed

  48. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Bianchi

  49. 5 out of 5

    Mortisha Cassavetes

  50. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  51. 4 out of 5

    Night

  52. 4 out of 5

    Imke

  53. 4 out of 5

    Makaiah

  54. 4 out of 5

    Harri

  55. 5 out of 5

    Andrea: NastyMuchachitaReads

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