Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

John Murphy

Second Committee Member

Linda Belgrave

Third Committee Member

Karen Callaghan


Colorism is the intra- and interracial discrimination an individual experiences based on one’s phenotype (Hunter 2005, Hunter 2007, Hill 2002). Current research focused on colorism among black Americans has found that “dark-skinned blacks have lower levels of education, income, and job status” in the United States (Hochschild and Weaver 2007). As bias against Middle Easterners rises in the United States, current research regarding this population is scarce. In the context of today’s political climate, the term Muslim has become a misnomer to refer to the Middle Eastern population, with the term Islamophobia specifically referring to Middle Easterners regardless of their religion rather than individuals from regions of the world who practice Islam. Participants ordered job applicants in terms of who they would hire, followed by interviews. Through sixteen semi-structured interviews, this thesis identifies what participants believe are phenotypically Middle Eastern and Muslim facial features. Throughout the study, participants preferred to hire lighter Middle Eastern women.


Colorism; Middle Eastern; Employment; Implicit Bias; Women; Sociology; Social Psychology