Friendship Selection Among African Americans
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Colorism (intra and inter-racial discrimination based upon skin-tone) has been viewed as pervasive among African American women. Substantial research has suggested that there are negative effects of colorism on several life domains. However, the impact of this phenomena on friendship selection (Wilder, 2015) has not been adequately tested. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between skin-tone, self-esteem, and racial identity on friendship selection. This investigation was based on Symbolic Interaction theory (Blumer, 1969) to help determine how participant’s racial identity used that to interact with others. Participants were 162 African American women and men from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) and Predominately White Institutions (PWI’s). Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and several measures including: Facebook Facial Profile Instrument (developed for the present study), Skin Color Satisfaction Scale (Falconer & Neville, 2000), Multidimensional Model of Black Identity (Sellers, 1997, 1998), and Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965). Results of the study failed to yield any significant findings. Contrary to this writer’s expectation and popular lore, colorism was not a significant moderator in friendship formation. However, data collected provided insight into the importance of social media in establishing and maintaining friendships for African Americans.