Fair and lovely: Colorism in language

While researching skin-lightening creams, I started to wonder if fair as in “just,” fair as in “beautiful,” and fair as in “light-complexioned” were etymologically linked. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, these three usages emerged around the same time and share the Proto-Germanic root fagraz. It seems that, for English speakers in the Middle Ages, light skin was bound up with virtue and beauty, which isn’t surprising.