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Add Health Study: The relationship between skin tone and school suspension for African Americans

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a research team from Villanova University and the University of Iowa examined the links between skin tone and school suspension. They found that, for African American girls, having darker skin significantly increased odds of suspension. In fact, girls with the darkest skin tone were three times as likely to be suspended compared to those with the lightest skin.

Read the New York Times story here: Schools' Discipline for Girls Differs by Race and Hue (released on December 10, 2014 by Tanzina Vega).

Excerpt: “There are different gender expectations for black girls compared with white girls, said Lance Hannon... And, he said, there are different expectations within cross-sections of black girls. ‘When a darker-skinned African-American female acts up, there’s a certain concern about their boyish aggressiveness,’ Dr. Hannon said, ‘that they don’t know their place as a female, as a woman.’"

Author Info: Lance Hannon is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Villanova University. Robert DeFina is a Professor and the Chair of Villanova’s Department of Sociology and Criminology. Sarah Bruch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at The University    of Iowa.

Scholarly source: Hannon L, DeFina R, Bruch S. The relationship between skin tone and school suspension for African Americans. Race and Social Problems 2013; 5(4): 281-295. Article available online.