“All skin colors, whether light or dark, are not due to race but to adaptation to life under the sun” – Alan Goodman, Biological Anthropologist
Race is not real. To all my fellow “white folks” your skin looks the way it does because where you come from required less melanin to manage sun exposure. Naturally, in places like Africa a person would need more melanin to manage sun exposure as compared to someone from Europe. The concept of race was created as a way justify the power and privilege of some and the maltreatment and murder of others.
A person of color is simply a person with more melanin in their skin than a white person. That’s it. It’s ludicrous that because I have less melanin I am afforded more opportunities and a safer existence than someone that has more melanin.
Our brains like to categorize things. It makes it easier to sort through the millions of bits of information that come at us every second. However, we somehow lost the ability (or the willingness) to critically think about the categories we create. I think this is because white people like the illusion of superiority and the real life privileges afforded to us based on some arbitrary biological adaptation.
I know Justin Timberlake wants to believe we are all one human race and scientifically he’s correct but just because race is not a real does not mean I am allowed to be color blind. I must acknowledge the fatal consequences of these false categories. I must speak truth to the experiences of people of color and validate their anger, fear, and pain. I must take responsibility for how my privilege has allowed for hundreds of years of oppression.
Most importantly, I am in no way a better or more special human because of my melanin situation. I am so sorry that people that looked like me were and are so selfish and insecure that they used/use something as basic and adaptive as skin color to justify their barbarism and continue to do so.
“As primates who uniquely use language to create categories, we readily give names to these differences. Since the mid-18th century, skin color has been the single most important physical trait used to define human groups, including variously named varieties, races, subspecies, and species.” NINA G. JABLONSKI*† AND GEORGE CHAPLIN, Human Skin Pigmentation as an Adaptation to UV Radiation