Skin color isn't just a mark of ethnicity or a perfect tan

Posted by Ria, 15 Feb

"She must be mixed race." "No! She is definitely Asian." "He is Black."

That is the kind of world we live in. A world of colorism. And this world of ours is black and white. We even include yellow to this short list of ours. Since time immemorial, most people have continued to use skin color as a determinant of race. But is that all skin pigmentation denotes?

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Maybe in the social world. But in the scientific world... there is an intricate relationship between a person’s skin color and the environment. Science also reveals to us the important role skin pigmentation plays in human reproduction and survival in general.

Looking back to our ancestors who lived in equatorial Africa, when they lost body hair and moved to the open Savannah, their skin color became darker in order to shield them from UV radiation. Therefore, the dark skin of Africans is as a result of perfect adaptation to that kind of environment. Its not just a suntan. Its one of many of nature’s achievements to ensure survival of the human race.

In the year 2000, Nina Jablonski, Anthropologist at Penn State University proposed a study to explain why the human skin has different colors. According to her study, skin pigmentation doesn’t protect us from cancer. It mainly assists the body to maintain the balance of Vitamins B and D which are very crucial for reproduction and development of the body.

When the skin reacts to sunlight, it produces vitamin D. Then again, Folic Acid (a kind of Vitamin B), which our bodies require to produce DNA and develop the neural system can be destroyed by the same sunlight or UV rays. Because of this, skin pigmentation developed to create the perfect compromise by allowing the right amount of sunlight to stimulate the production of vitamin D while subsequently protecting the body from UV radiations which destroy Folic Acid.

For many many years, skin color has adapted to our local environments. However, in the global world we live in today; and so much movement of people far away from their local environments, many of them realize that their skin color is not suited for their new environment. Lucky for them, they can survive well in these new settings; thanks to vitamin supplements, sunscreen creams and lotions, and appropriate clothing to cater for the mismatch between skin color and the environment.

The beauty about Science is that it plays major role in shaping our views about the world. And now we can look at skin color from a whole new perspective. Its more than just a perfect tan… more than just a marker of race and ethnicity. Therefore, its high time we stopped judging others on the basis of their skin color coz much as doing so is morally wrong, definitely it is Scientifically WRONG! The evolution of skin color is entirely an adaptation to our local surroundings.

Instead of cracking our brains so hard trying to figure out what ethnicity that stranger is, why not use this new Scientific revelation to help us stamp out racism and embrace the human race and all its diversities.

For more understanding on this topic, watch the film "Skin Deep"

4 responses to "Skin color isn't just a mark of ethnicity or a perfect tan"

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  1.   coolgal211 says:
    Posted: 19 Feb 11

    What I don't get is why race is such an issue? I really get tried of the black and white stereotypes. Many people may see me and think that I am black but really I am mixed. I am more then my race I am a human being like any other person. When will this divide ever end? I really understand the article because so many people think about race and are prejudice or misinformed. I been around all types of people and I noticed that people act differently in different regions. It doesn't have to do with your race but the culture. So it just makes me mad when someone stereotypes someone else.

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  2.   scrupulous says:
    Posted: 18 Feb 11

    The blog article discusses its scientific leanings, but doesn't provide much proof. One study does not make a subject scientific. I agree with Empress26. Thanks for sharing, but it's better posted on a personal blog.

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  3.   Empress26 says:
    Posted: 18 Feb 11

    Are you kidding me? who seriously comes up with these blogs to post. Listen this is an interracial site we don't need to be trying to figure out why we all are seen as white or black or whatever else there is out there or what scientist says or doctor says. If the professors and scholars think that they have the answers for all these racist things why then are we having issues about color and race? we are here to loved the white and the blacks and every other race out there.Sometimes i feel like these topic on issue on these blogs is just a way of separation in a very tactical way. We all are born in this life meeting these factors of race already distinguish and set aside. Now for who ever, invented and make these by laws i don't know and care to know. What i do know is that our heavenly farther God never separated us he never put any lines on the earth man made all these rules and biological settings. Which we all are living by. I want to hear more about love and success stories and more about people coming together, not blogs of color and race yeah we need to keep an open forum but, are you telling me there ain't nothing else for us to blog about other than race and color and religion etc. No i would not believe that there are far to many intelligent people in this world and on this site for us to only converse on the same blog topic only written in many different forms.Why are we on an interracial site if all we can do is to answer and dispute about why one love the other race. This is not black on blacks site or white on whites site everyone here is to come together in one way or the other to find love or even friendship who knows.Not to dispute over color and backgrounds.

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  4.   edna says:
    Posted: 16 Feb 11

    @Noplayer i waiting for u to drop ur comment befor i do my :)

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