Missouri State University

About the Opening Speaker

Kim NorwoodKim Norwood is a professor of law and professor of African and African-American Studies at Washington University. Born in Harlem, NY; she graduated from Fordham University in the early 1980s; pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Lamba Chapter while there. She attended law school at the University of Missouri-Columbia and graduated in 1985. While at the University of Missouri, she became the first black person in the school's history to become a member of the prestigious Missouri Law Review. After law school, Norwood clerked with federal district court judge Clifford Scott Green, practiced law with a private firm for several years and joined the law faculty at Washington University School of Law in 1990.

At Washington University, Norwood has taught a range of courses from personal injury classes to education law and policy based courses. One of her classes, entitled Race, Class and Education, involves a combination of judges, lawyers, law students and high school students working together in various mentoring relationships. Norwood also has conducted all day workshops for St. Louis Public School teachers on the struggle for education in black America from slavery through Reconstruction. She has also taught in China, Japan and the Netherlands and supervised public interest externships in Ghana and Kenya.

Her recent research interests have focused on black identity issues and on the public education challenges facing poor children, inner city children and black and Latino/Latina children. She recently published a law review article commemorating the historic lawsuit filed in St. Louis, MO more than 40 years ago to desegregate the public schools there. Her first book, Color Matters: Skin Tone Bias and the Myth of a Post-Racial America was published in 2013.

Norwood is the founder and co-director of a mentor program for the black law students at Washington University. She is a member of the American Law Institute, vice president, board member and 2014 planning chair of the Midwestern People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference, Inc. She is a member of the American Law Institute, a commissioner on the Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and a member of the Regional Disciplinary Committee, Region X, Division 2, of the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Missouri.

She is married to Ronald Norwood, a partner at the law firm of Lewis, Rice & Fingersh. The couple has 5 children. She loves to cook, read, travel internationally and run. She recently completed her first full marathon and looks forward to at least one more marathon in her future.

Skin Tone as a Marker for Beauty: Yet Another Example of How Women are Superficially Evaluated

Friday, April 25, 2014
1-2:15 p.m.

PSU 200 (Theater)

Presentation shared with the Statewide Collaborative Diversity Conference.

In the closing session for the Statewide Collaborative Diversity Conference, and the opening session for the Women's Leadership Conference, Professor Kimberly Norwood will discuss the connection between skin tone and beauty, and how the two work together to decide the economic fate of millions of women across the world.

Throughout the world lighter women are sought after, whether in the business world, as anchors on news channels, as models in advertisements and commercials, as dancers and/or love interests in music videos or as significant others and spouses in relationships. Light skin does not equal beauty, but it allows one the opportunity to be viewed - unlike the option afforded by most economic outcomes and wealth. For example, employers tend to hire people with light skin tones as opposed to people with dark skin tones and this has a direct link to employment, income and ultimately wealth. As this conference is celebrating diversity, inclusion and interventions, this conversation is highly relevant to our employement decisions going forward.