Critical Race Theories, Colorism, and the Decade's Research on Families of Color


Sociology Department, Duke University, 268 Soc-Psy Bldg, Durham, NC 27708 (


In the millennium's inaugural decade, 2 interrelated trends influenced research on America's families of color: the need for new knowledge about America's growing ethnic/racial minority and immigrant populations and conceptual advances in critical race theories and perspectives on colorism. Three substantive areas reflecting researchers' interests in these trends emerged as the most frequently studied topics about families of color: inequality and socioeconomic mobility within and across families, interracial romantic pairings, and the racial socialization of children. In this review, we synthesize and critique the decade's scholarly literature on these topics. We devote special attention to advances in knowledge made by family-relevant research that incorporated ways of thinking from critical race theories and the conceptual discourse on colorism.