The Lighter the Skin, the Shorter the Prison Term?

Lil Wayne likes “a long hair, thick redbone.”  In an article The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates accused Kanye West‘s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy of being “incredibly, almost casually, racist.”  Osama bin Laden’s ex-girlfriend and writer Koola Boof sparked a Twitter war with Wale over his choice of light-skinned video vixens.  Beyoncé‘s L’Oreal ads sparked suspicion that she deliberately lightens her skin.

Light-skinned girls seem to be a contentious motif in hip-hop, especially recently.  But as an article in the Root explains, the debate has tangibly invaded the courtroom.  According to a new study by Villanova University, lighter skin equals shorter prison terms.  After examining 12,000 court cases in North Carolina, they found that women with light skin were sentenced to 12% less time than their darker counterparts.  The reason: colorism — discrimination based on skin color — stands between a defendant and her jurors.

So, the question as usual: is hip-hop helping or hurting the issue?

–via the Root