The purpose of the present study was to examine the role of skin color (i.e., lightness–darkness), as it pertains to racial identity development theory and self-esteem among 113 African American college students of various skin colors. Findings revealed that the sample preferred skin color of a medium tone, rather than exhibiting self-preference for either lighter or darker skin tones. There was also a significant relationship between one's perceptions of and preferences for his or her skin color and the skin tones idealized by others (e.g., opposite gender, family). Lighter skin color was positively related to higher levels of racial identity attitudes (immersion/emersion); the more satisfied darker skinned individuals were with their skin color, the lower their self-esteem, and gender differences existed in perceptions of others’ preferences for skin color. Implications of this study for providing therapeutic clinical services and fostering the healthy psychological development of African American men, women, and children are discussed.