federal protection


skin color is protected

Color as a Protected Class

The Federal Fair Housing Act protects each one of us equally against illegal housing discrimination based on the color of our skin. This means that one may not be treated differently, denied, or harassed in a housing setting or transaction because of one's skin color.

For example, a landlord provider may claim not to illegally discriminate stating the fact that s/he rents, let's say, to African Americans. If, however, all of the African Americans the landlord rented to were lighter skinned and all the African Americans s/he denied were darker skinned, a case for illegal discrimination could be made.

Color is largely genetic and determined by the amount and type of pigment in the skin. It may, or may not, be related to race or national origin. One skin color is not more protected than another. That being said, individuals with darker skin tend to experience more frequent incidents of discrimination in housing.

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The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and the publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.

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