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Complexion influences your employment chances: Study

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New York: Skin colour is a significant factor for male immigrants obtaining employment in the US, says a new study.

Among men, darker skin colour negatively influenced their likelihood of employment, even after accounting for the effects of race and other demographic and education related variables, the study found.

The negative effect of darker skin colour was particularly salient for Asian male immigrants.

The researchers said the findings were important because the racial composition of the American population is increasingly expanding beyond black and white.

Today, immigrants from Asia and Latin America account for the majority of new immigrants to the US, and people of Asian and Latin American descent are also the fastest growing populations in the US.

The study found that for female immigrants, the lightness or darkness of their skin did not matter in terms of securing employment after controlling for the effect of race.

While, black and Asian women were disadvantaged compared to white female immigrants, Latin American women were not.

“Our findings suggest that the colour lines are gendered, and that race alone is no longer enough to understand the current stratification system,” said co-researcher Andrea Gomez Cervantes from the University of Kansas).

It is probable that meanings of femininity and masculinity are intertwined with those of skin colour, she said.

“The masculinity and threatening images attached to darker skin may have a negative impact for men, while those negative images are not applied to women, leading to different outcomes for men and women of colour,” Gomez Cervantes added.

The authors relied on the data from the 2003 adult sample of the New Immigrant Survey to look at interactions of skin colour and race as well as skin colour and gender on legal immigrants’ employment probabilities.

Census experts have predicted that by 2050, whites will compose 46.6 percent of the American population while the racial minority population will more than double from what it is presently.

The study is scheduled to be presented at the ongoing 110th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Chicago.

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