Chapter

Contexts for the Emergence of “Black Is Beautiful”

Maxine Leeds Craig

in Ain't I a Beauty Queen?

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780195152623
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849345 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195152623.003.0002
Contexts for the Emergence of “Black Is Beautiful”

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This chapter discusses the four aspects of African American life that formed the sociocultural context in which new standards of beauty emerged during the period under discussion: the disparagement of black women in dominant cultural images; an African American discourse of race and respectability; the broad acceptance of theories of black self-hatred; and and the close connection between social class and skin tone within black communities. These four social contexts made beauty something worth fighting about and shaped the internal conflicts that would arise within black communities about the meaning of black and beautiful.

Keywords: African Americans; beauty; black women; skin tone; black self-hatred; social class

Chapter.  9569 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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