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Pew Research Center seeks to divide Hispanics by skin color

The Pew survey split Hispanics up into 10 categories of skin color, one being the lightest, and 10 being the darkest.

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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On Thursday, the Pew Research Center published a survey looking at discrimination faced by Hispanics and Latinos which split the ethnic group into lighter and darker skin color, which has garnered backlash for separating people by the color of their skin.

The Pew survey split Hispanics up into 10 categories of skin color, one being the lightest, and 10 being the darkest. The largest portion, 80 percent of respondents, identified with being lighter in color, categories one through four. 15 percent identified with a darker in tone, or five through 10. Five percent of survey takers did not respond to the question.

The survey asked respondents about their experiences with discrimination tied to their skin color, or "colorism."

"Discrimination based on skin color has deep historical roots in Latin America and the Caribbean. Centuries ago, a hierarchical or caste system was established in the Americas, tying privilege, individual worth and access to opportunities to one's skin color, race and birthplace. This was further shaped by the arrival of slaves from Africa across the region and the mixing of Indigenous, European and African populations," wrote Pew.

"Today, skin color remains an important determinant of outcomes across the region. Individuals with darker skin achieve lower levels of educational attainment or have less access to health care, for example. And those of lighter skin color experience less discrimination than those of darker skin color," they continued.

"Colorism is present in the US as well and has similarly impacted the lives of Hispanics, Black Americans and Asian Americans, existing alongside racial discrimination. And it is similarly linked to a number of outcomes. For example, racism may impact both Hispanics of lighter skin and darker skin color, but Hispanics with darker skin may experience more discrimination," Pew added.

The survey found that 62 percent of Hispanics said "having darker skin color hurts Latino's ability to get ahead."

59 percent said that "having a lighter skin color helps Latinos' ability to get ahead."

57 percent said that "skin colors shapes their daily life experiences," while less than half, 48 percent, said that "discrimination based on race or skin color is a very big problem in the US."

The percentage of those who said their skin color shapes their daily life also varied by education level and political leanings.

63 percent of those with some college experience or higher said their skin color shapes their daily life, versus 51 percent of high school graduates, and 53 percent of those without a high school diploma.

40 percent of Latinos and Hispanics that lean Republican said it shapes their daily life, while 68 percent of Democrats responded as such.

Twitter users were quick to condemn the separation of Hispanics by skin color, stating that the act of doing so could split families apart.

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