Variations in Skin Color and Our Issues with Biases

Dec 6, 2015
by: jbranch

Skin Color. Where do these variations come from? How can humans have this huge difference when genetically we are so similar? How?

These questions have been on the minds of scientists for generations and the answer is quite simple. We have these variations because of the equator and our place on the planet ages ago.

The equator is the reason for these variations because of how harshly the sun strikes it. The closer you are to the equator, the more sun and ultraviolet rays you are exposed to which can cause harmful affects like skin cancer and a lack of folic acid, a nutrient essential to the development of healthy fetuses. (Human Skin Color Variation)

So, how did those who lived closer to the equator adapt to such harmful conditions? They evolved with shorter hair, more sweat glands, and darker skin! Darker skin absorbs the ultraviolet rays better, more sweat glands cool the body better, and less hair helps the body absorb the sweat faster to quickly relieve people from the harmful heat.

It’s that simple! Humans who evolved closer to the equator had darker skin and those who evolved farther away from the equator had lighter skin! So how could the simple need for adaptation cause such a division between so many races today?

There are many different theories. Some would argue that white Europeans oppressed people of color for their own greed, their own quest for complete power, and their own selfishness. This could be seen through colonialism. Europeans would fight other towns and take them over at whatever cost, and the division of races could be seen as a result of that.

Others say the division was a result of the fear white people had over people of color. As I grew up and started to learn more about this social, civil, and racial disgrace; people taught me that all the injustice was because of the huge amount of fear that lied in white people against those with darker skin. For years people of color could be described by white people as monsters or scary and because white people were secretly afraid of us, the division was formed and has lasted so long.
I grew up believing the fear of people of color becoming something greater than the white population was why they kept black people down for so long.

How Do We Help Change This?
That has been one of my biggest questions in the quest for racial equality in America. After doing research and chatting with some very influential people this past November, one answer has been very important. We need to acknowledge that we are the problem!

My racial injustice focus group recently had an interview with the amazing Mr. James E. Ford. Mr. Ford is with the North Carolina Public School Forum and his focus is with equity and justice within the school systems.

I asked him “What step can we take to end biases and issues with racial injustice?” and he said, “We are all bias and that translates into how we see other people,” and he said that can be good and bad. He told us the way to get rid of these biases was to acknowledge that we have those biases!

Some people don’t choose to see the problem that we all have when it comes to racial biases. When we are all willing to acknowledge our biases and when we are all willing to grow from them, change can start to happen!

If we all continue to use our biases in negative ways instead of growing from them, we will begin to take steps backwards in racial justice! It’s easy to be stubborn in our ways of thinking but this issue is way too important. We all need to be open to change so that injustice will no longer be a problem of today.


Jordan, I completely agree

Submitted by Jordan Manno on Mon, 2015-12-14 22:49.

Jordan, I completely agree that in order to end biases we must first recogize we have them. I also think you did a very nice job with your introduction and explaining difference in skin color and what us humans percieve of them. You also speak of where biases were formed but during that you only suggest bias being formed by one race. Is it possible all races, or many for that matter have formed own biases against others and we just dont see the picture from all angles?

Jordan, I completely agree in

Submitted by jmanno on Mon, 2015-12-14 22:58.

Jordan, I completely agree in order to end biases we must first recognize we have them. I also think you did a very nice job in your introduction explaining different races and what us humans percieve of them. You also speak on where biases were formed but only as if they were formed by one race to another. Is it possible all races or many for that matter have formed biases against others and we just dont see the picture from all angles?