The Color of Love: Understanding Colorism and Relationships

The Color of Love: Understanding Colorism and Relationships


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Location: Online via Zoom Videoconferencing

Registrants will receive the Zoom link to attend the workshop 1 -2 days prior to the event date.

Council for Relationships is continuing to offer professional development workshops. All of our workshops will be held online until further notice. Earn CE credits from home.

Council for Relationships


3 CE Credits Available for Psychologists, PA/NJ/DE LPCs and LMFTs, PA/DE Social Workers, and CSTs*


Workshop Description:

Colorism has generally been defined as a form of prejudice or discrimination in favor of lighter skin color; however, there is growing recognition that the scope and impact of colorism are much broader than originally conceptualized. This is seemingly true both in terms of how it has been defined in the literature (i.e., as primarily a skin color issue), and in terms of the many different ways in which it manifests among individuals and groups, across the global spectrum – particularly within the African Diaspora. It has become increasingly clear that colorism also extends to other aspects of the European aesthetic, such as hair texture/length, body image/physique, and perceived attractiveness/facial features, and that the meanings ascribed to such features have implications for many aspects of life, notably identity development and intimate relationships.

This advanced-level workshop aims to help participants gain a more comprehensive understanding of colorism in a global context, and to inform participants about the role that colorism plays in intimate relationships, from attraction and mate selection to dating and partnering. Participants will also be provided with interventions and suggestions about how to help couples and individuals understand (process) and heal the trauma associated with the experience of colorism, to help promote healthier and more sustainable relationships.


Level of Difficulty: Advanced


Learning Objectives:

Following this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Articulate an expanded and nuanced definition of colorism.
  2. Describe and discuss the ways in which colorism impacts relationships.
  3. Name 2-3 specific interventions and suggestions for assisting clients in processing and healing from trauma associated with experiences of colorism.



Awad, G. H., Norwood, C., Taylor, D. S., Martinez, M., McClain, S., Jones, B. & Chapman-Hilliard, C. (2015). Beauty and body image concerns among African American college women. Journal of Black Psychology, 41(6), 540-564.

Dhillon-Jamerson, K. K. (2018). Euro-Americans favoring people of color: Covert racism and economies of White colorism. American Behavioral Scientist, 62(14), 2087-2100.

Egbeyemi, A. (2019). Shedding Light on Colorism: How the colonial fabrication of colorism impacts the lives of African American women. Journal of Integrative Research & Reflection2(2), 14-25.

Gasman, M. & Abiola, U. (2015). Colorism within the historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU’s). Theory Into Practice, 55(1), 39-45.

Hunter, M. (2016). Colorism in the classroom: How skin tone stratifies African American and Latina/o students. Theory Into Practice, 55:1, 54-61.

Jackson-Lowman, H. (2013). An analysis of the impact of Eurocentric concepts of beauty on the lives of African American women. African American women: Living at the crossroads of race, gender, class, and culture, 155-172.

Keith, V.  & Monroe, C. (2016). Histories of colorism and implications for education, Theory into Practice, 55:1, 4- 10.

Landor, A. M. & Smith, S. M. (2019). Skin-Tone Trauma: Historical and Contemporary Influences on the Health and Interpersonal Outcomes of African Americans. Perspectives on Psychological Science. 14(4), 797-815.

Landor, A. M., & Halpern, C. T. (2016). The enduring significance of skin tone: Linking skin tone, attitudes toward marriage and cohabitation, and sexual behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence45(5), 986-1002.

Maxwell, M. L., Abrams, J. A. & Belgrave, F. Z. (2016). Redbones and earth mothers: A contemporary exploration of colorism and its perception among African American female adolescents. Psychology of Music, 44(6), 1488-1499.

Nakray, K. (2018). The global beauty industry, colorism, racism and the national body. Journal of Gender Studies, 27:7, 861-863.

Norwood, K. J. (Ed.) (2014). Color matters: Skin tone bias and myths of a post-racial America. New York, NY: Routledge.

Parks, C. W. & Woodson, K.M. (2002). The impact of skin color and hair texture on mate selection: Implications for interventions with African American men and women. In E. Davis-Russell (Ed.) The California School of Professional Psychology handbook of multicultural education, research, intervention, and training (pp.249-262). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass Publishers, Inc.

Woodson, K.M. (Ed). (2020). Colorism: Investigating a global phenomenon with implications for research, policy, and practice. Santa Barbara, CA: Fielding University Press


About the Presenter:

Kamilah Marie Woodson, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist who holds a dual appointment at Howard University, where she is a tenured full Professor in the Department of Human Development and Psycho-educational Studies at the Howard University School of Education, and works as Research Associate, Professor, and Clinician with the Department of Psychiatry at the Howard University College of Medicine/Howard University Hospital. In addition, Dr. Woodson is currently working toward a Doctorate Degree in Ministry from the Howard University School of Divinity.

Dr. Woodson’s research concentrates on health disparities, including the factors that impact health-related risk behaviors (HIV/AIDS and Substance Abuse) among people of color, including incarcerated populations, as well as the impact of human trafficking on young women of color. Dr. Woodson began her career conducting research on the impact of global colorism and furthered this agenda through the (2020) edited volume, Colorism: Investigating a Global Phenomenon with Implications for Research, Policy, and Practice, and through research as result of being a recent Fulbright-Hayes Fellow (Brazil, South America). She has presented her colorism research all over the world, in places like Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico, France, Amsterdam, Prague, Hong Kong, and Cuba.

As a licensed Clinical Psychologist and the previous Associate Managing Director of the Association of Black Psychologists, Dr. Woodson has over 25 years of experience working with individuals, couples, and groups. Her clinical interests include, but are not limited to, sexual victimization, sexual orientation concerns, interpersonal relationships, trauma, and depression. She has a small private practice in Maryland/Washington, DC, works closely with the Casa Ruby LGBTQ homeless shelter and treatment center in Washington, DC, and is in the process of developing a Training Consortium in the DMV area to service under-resourced and traditionally marginalized clients.


Workshop Details

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Council for Relationships

Location: Online via Zoom Videoconferencing

Registrants will receive the Zoom link to attend the workshop 1 -2 days prior to the event date.


3 CE Credits Available for Psychologists, PA/NJ/DE LPCs and LMFTs, PA/DE Social Workers, and CSTs*

Council for Relationships is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Council for Relationships maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The following entities accept continuing education credits provided by APA-approved sponsors: the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors; the New Jersey State Board of Marriage and Family Examiners; the Delaware State Board of Professional Counselors of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals; the Delaware State Board of Social Work Examiners.

*This program meets the requirements of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) and is approved for CE credits. These CE credits may be applied toward AASECT certification and renewal of certification. Completion of this program does not ensure or guarantee ASSECT certification. For further information about certification, please contact

Council for Relationships staff and current students: visit your password-protected page for information regarding staff and student rates. Please contact Tiffani Smoot, Academic Administrator, for alumni rate and questions.

Refund Policy


Register for The Color of Love: Understanding Colorism and Relationships

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Additional information

AASECT Certificate ($25)

With AASECT Certificate, No AASECT Certificate

Event Details

Start date: February 23, 2021

Start time: 09:00 a.m. EST

End time: 12:00 p.m. EST

Venue: Online via Zoom Videoconferencing