November 16, 2017
Mitiku Ashebir, who came to the United States as a refugee, has completed his new book “Color of the Skin”: an investigative work that defines the subject, namely color of the skin, with considerable precision, elaborating on its various aspects by dialing forward accounts of ponderings that occurred far back in time and place but that are still fresh and substantive.
According to Ashebir, “For over thirty years, (I) served in the US Refugee Resettlement Program in various capacities: vocational counselor with the International Rescue Committee; assistant director for field support for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, where (I) planned, coordinated, and managed field operations for the largest refugee resettlement network in the United States; and vice president for programs of the Ethiopian Community Development Council. In 2002, (I) joined the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), a federal refugee resettlement agency in the Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services. (I) served as a program specialist, placement coordinator, and director of the Division of Refugee Assistance until (I) retired on September 30, 2014.”
Published by New York City-based Page Publishing, Mitiku Ashebir’s intriguing work successfully distills a few fundamental concepts that widely contrast—in some instances, clash—with existing, popularly known, and commonly understood notions concerning skin color.
The book provides comparative descriptions in settings representing two countries: Ethiopia, where color of the skin is straightforward, literal, and simple, where it is used primarily for identifying people, and the United States, where color of the skin is heavily loaded, complex, formal, institutionalized, and often…