|We're ALL Black
-- According to Geneticists! (Nov.
Reproduced in its entirety with permission. Editorial by
Linda Beckerman, Ph.D.
Original Title: A Paler Shade
of Black © Linda Beckerman, Ph.D.
| The jig is up.
Thanks to the genetics revolution we now know that there is no such thing as race. The
Human Genome Project (HGP) has determined unequivocally that there is the same amount of
genetic variation among individuals within a so called racial group as there is between
individuals in different racial groups. What that means is that there is no real genetic
difference between blacks and whites or between whites and Asians or between any of the so
| Wonder why it's
been so hush-hush? I mean, you would think this would be big news. Certainly on the order
of Galileo stating that the Earth goes around the Sun and not vice versa. But you haven't
heard it on NBC or read it in your local newspaper. It's more or less kept within the high
brow community as if the common every day man in the street just couldn't take it. So you
can read about it in the Atlantic Monthly or New York Times, but not your home town
newspaper. And some professors on ivory tower college campuses are scrambling to
prove it isn't so, just like there some who argue that Darwin was a fruitcake and
evolution a stunt he pulled to grab the limelight.
But if we are all one race, which race are we? One answer is the cute one that we are the
"human race". But buckle your seat belts folks, because the genetic answer is
that we are all really black. And white people are pale adaptations of black people that
evolved during the past 140,000 years.
From whence does this white skin
come? Weren't we all taught that it was the black people who evolved black skin and it
happened so they would be protected from getting skin cancer?
Forget it. Scientists have thrown
the whole notion out. Here's how evolution works. If you don't live long enough to
reproduce, your genes are lost to the gene pool forever. There being no high school back
when Humans came into being, females started reproducing around the age of 13. Skin cancer
develops later in life when the female has already reproduced and her genes have entered
the world gene pool. Bye, bye skin cancer theory.
What scientists now believe is that
everyone started out with dark skin in the first place because it is protective against
absorbing too much Vitamin D, which is toxic. Too much vitamin D causes calcium to be
pulled from the intestines and bones and deposited in soft tissues all over the body,
damaging the kidneys, heart and blood vessels. Dark skin screens out UV radiation and your
body, which uses UV to produce Vitamin D, produces less of it - a real evolutionary
advantage at the lower latitudes where we began.
So where did the 10,000+ shades of
paler brown, beige, pink, white and what Crayola crayons used to call "flesh"
come from? Archaeological data places the origin of genetically modern humans in
sub-Saharan Africa approximately 140,000 years ago. Humans then began migrating out of
Africa in successive waves, starting approximately 100,000 years or 5000 generations ago.
Now that scientists have mapped the human genome, they are homing in on when each wave
began their outward bound journey and where they migrated to. So far they have confirmed
that everyone on the entire planet, even the 1.3 billion Chinese, have a common ancestor
back in Africa.
For example, the first wave appears
to have been a migration to the Middle East and then eastward and northward from there.
Some geneticists studying the human genome map believe that in a later north moving wave,
which occurred about 60,000 years ago, a mere 50 people inbred together across successive
generations to create all the people who now occupy Europe (excluding recent immigrants,
But wait a minute, I have blond
hair, blue eyes and my hair isn't nappy and I don't have thick lips. So how can my great,
great, etc grandpappy be a black African? It's all from lines of genetic inheritance
splitting apart and then coming together again.
Lines of genetic inheritance, or
lineages, split apart when there is a mutation that is evolutionarily advantageous,
meaning the mutation makes it more likely for someone to reproduce greater numbers of
offspring that survive. Someone with a non advantageous mutation has offspring that are
less likely to survive.
So as humans migrated out of
Africa, why did dark skinned people start losing the genetics Powerball Lottery to their
paler kin? Lower UV levels in the sunlight of the more northern latitudes meant a dark
skinned individual's body could not produce enough Vitamin D. Insufficient Vitamin D would
then result in a child developing rickets. A child with rickets would not likely reproduce
either because it would die before it could or because its pelvis would be so deformed it
could not pass a child through the birth canal. Its genes would be lost forever. So
lighter skin, and more absorption of Vitamin D at higher latitudes would be an adaptive
Interestingly, in high latitudes
where some people still retain dark skin, such as with the Inuit in the Arctic, the people
obtain significant amounts of Vitamin D from eating fish and sea mammal blubber.
Seal blubber aside, what about all
the other features that make us look so different? Mutations that endure are often
advantageous to specific climates. For example, the tall thin body of the Masai warrior
dissipates heat while the short squat body of the Inuit retains it. Long northern European
noses moisten and warm the air before it reaches lungs, while in Africa short noses remain
because the air is already moist and warm. The Asian's eyelid folds protect their eyes
against dry sandy desert winds and wind driven snow. In the far north, light sensitive
blue eyes allow people to see better when it is dark much of the year. The tightly coiled
hair of the African keeps the hair off his neck so he remains cooler. All these diverse
physical features promote the promulgation of different lines of inheritance, or ethnic
Countering this splitting apart of
ethnic lineages is the melding through interbreeding between different ethnic lineages. If
you walk the Silk Road from Persia to China, across the southern flank of Asia, you will
see a continuum of physical feature change. You will not be able to tell where the
European look ends and the Asian begins. Remember all those shots during our assault on
the Taliban in Afghanistan and the TV scans of Afghani children? How many looked European
and how many looked Asian?
Many mechanisms for melding ethnic
lineages have been at play. The rape part of the plunder and pillage drill by invaders,
traders passing through with silver to buy bedtime favors, marriages for political
convenience to form alliances between not so friendly tribes, and the boy and girl from
neighboring tribes sneaking out for a little tryst under the stars, have all contributed
to the recombining of diverse ethnic lineages.
So what we have instead of the
meaningless terms Caucasian, Negro, Asian, etc, is a large multiplicity of ethnic
lineages, all of whom descended from a only a single black race. So don't forget, next
time you fill in the U.S. Census you should write in the word Black next to the question
about your race, regardless of your shade of pale.
Reproduced in its entirety with permission.
© Linda Beckerman, Ph.D.
Dr. Linda P. Beckerman spent over 20 years as a Program Manager for the U.S. Air Force and
several U.S. defense contractors. Dr. Beckerman has published a lot of papers
during her career. These span a large variety of scientific and technical
subjects. She has also taught graduate level systems engineering at the University
of Central Florida.
Dr. Beckermans dream for now and the future is to be a radical political journalist.
She wants to wake everybody up because this is the only planet we have and we are all on
Dr. Beckerman's curriculum vita includes:
- B.S.E from U. of Michigan in Science
Engineering (concentration in Aerospace)
- M.S.E. from University of Miami in
- Ph.D. from Univerisity of Florida in
Materials Science and Engineering (concentration in mechanical metallurgy)
She adds: "But I'm far more known as a Systems Engineer. (Not just computer
systems, but ALL systems.)"
EMAIL Dr. Beckerman at: email@example.com
Last Known Link to the Original
Debunking the Concept of 'Race'
from the New York Times editorial July 30, 2005
"... like most people, those who think of themselves as African-American will need to
search well beyond Africa to find all of their origins.
| "This point
came through with resounding clarity recently at Pennsylvania State University, where
about 90 students took complex genetic screening tests that compared their samples with
those of four regional groups. Many of these students thought of themselves as
"100 percent" white or black or something else, but only a tiny fraction of
them, as it turned out, actually fell into that category. Most learned instead that
they shared genetic markers with people of different skin colors.
"Ostensibly "black" subjects, for example, found that as much as half of
their genetic material came from Europe, with some coming from Asia as well. One
"white" student learned that 14 percent of his DNA came from Africa - and 6
percent from East Asia.
"Prof. Samuel Richards, who teaches a course in race and ethnic relations at Penn
State, uses the test results to shake students out of rigid and received notions about the
biological basis of identity. ... The goal is to make students less prejudiced and
more open to a deeper discussion of humanity."
Last Known Link to the Original 07/30/05 New York
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