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Exlpain the theme of racism in The Skin I'm In.

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In this novel, the theme of colorism within racial attitudes is more prominent than racism against a different race. Maleeka, the protagonist, is a very dark-skinned African American seventh-grade girl. Most of her fellow students are also African American, so their antagonism toward her is not based on race. However, she is mistreated for several reasons. Maleeka is a high achiever academically, so one girl becomes a false friend in order to manipulate her into cheating for her. Maleeka’s skin is much darker than most of the others, who assess each other based on skin tone. One of the boys, John-John, has internalized that colorist discrimination; although his skin is about the same tone as Maleeka’s, he also mocks her for being dark.

This book was published more than 20 years ago, in 1998. Colorism or complexion bias remains a problem, as authors in several 21st-century publications have noted.

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