Skin color is an contentious topic for many. It is truly arbitrary but has evolved to have incredible meaning across cultural and ‘racial’ lines. The literal determination of pigment in skin is simple, it’s the amount of melanin that your body produces. This biological process is purely an adaptation of necessity.
Why do people from the tropics generally have darker skin color that those who live in colder climates? Variations in human skin color are adaptive traits that correlate closely with geography and the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Melanin, the skin’s brown pigment, is a natural sunscreen that protects tropical peoples from the many harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays.
The concept of skin color is just the body evolving biologically to protect itself from the sun. Somewhere along the way, a distinction developed between light and dark skin. The battle of pigment is likely derived from centuries of brainwashing through colonization and segregation for power.
Discrimination against those with different skin is more than skin deep. These divisions have expanded into subconscious perceptions and have real internal and external consequences. Skin color is now a package deal with preset expectations and characterizations of the person it sits on. This rationale is perpetuated in media and among people in everyday society.
Racism is so powerful and systemic that the assumptions that are bred within its culture, have had long lasting effects on targeted communities. Colorism has taken hold of many communities of color, forever changing the psyche of the people who enact on it.
The conditioning is so elaborate that people with medium to dark skin tones are actually bleaching their skin to become lighter. It is widely believed that lighter skin leads to better opportunities and upward mobility.
Reversing gilded belief systems won’t happen overnight but some perspective never hurts. If we as humans have learned anything from modern science, it is not to be weary of the unknown. The mixed bag of genetics is just that, mixed. Appearances are just evolutionary adaptations to the environments of our ancestors. The alarm of fear should not be sounded over aesthetics.
Remove the sentiment associated with the color of ones skin. Skin color is not a determination of character or moral fiber. View it for its intended purpose–a vessel and protector. In the 21st century, the war the has been waged against it is outdated and futile.