The Beauty of Melanin

The Beauty of Melanin

mel·a·nin

ˈmelənən/
noun
  1. a dark brown to black pigment occurring in the hair, skin, and iris of the eye in people and animals. It is responsible for tanning of skin exposed to sunlight.

“I have brown skin, brown hair, brown eyes. This is because of Melanin”.

“If it ranges between brown and black; it has Melanin”.

“Usually people with Melanin have better eye sight, natural muscle physique, and better, youthful and beautifully elastic skin”.

 

Melanin. From the definition and provided anecdotes, it seems as if the concept of melanin is pure essence, pure beauty – it seems as if melanin is a positive attribute. But anyone who didn’t naturally understand the beauty of melanin and its divine purpose, would be fooled by the way sociocultural standards of beauty paint it today. Anyone who has been affected by calumnious societies who appreciate aspects of white ideology and white privilege would never have known that melanin is the true source of all things beautiful. Melanin is the reason there is color, it is the basis of every hue and the essence of all things beautiful and young.

Maybe it was once understood. Maybe it was appreciated in a world long before white ideology stripped blackness of its royalty. Maybe just maybe, melanin was desirable.

 

Modern Humans Derived From Africa

Many believe that melanin is an adaptation, but they are so far from the truth, not even Christopher Columbus could venture their waters. Let this be known: the lack of melanin is an adaptation, not the other way around.

We are solely children of Africa—with no Neandertals or island-dwelling “hobbits” in our family tree, according to a new study. Scientists who compared the skulls and DNA of human remains from around the world say their results point to modern humans (Homo sapiens) having a single origin in Africa.”

New data supports the theory that the single origin for anatomically modern humans is from Africa. Early humans colonized the planet after spreading across the world about 50,000 years ago.  National Geographic places the original roots of modern humanity in south-central Africa. The archaic remains found farther away from Africa, represent the adaptation to climate, land, and lifestyle. In short: white skin is an adaptation of the european environment. 

 

Benefits of Melanin

Melanin Is Essential to Brain, Nerve, and Organ Function.

In humans, melanin is the determining factor of hair and skin color. Inconsequently, few people realize that melanin is found in almost every organ of the body and is necessary for the brain and nerves to operate properly.

Translation: melanin is a necessity for survival.

Melanin Protects Black Skin

Melanin targets the biggest cause of widespread damage to human cells: free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for any type of skin damage, from discoloration, wrinkles, sagging, and more importantly, to skin cancer. Melanin is the reason why African-Americans are at the all time lowest risk for developing skin cancer. Our skin was made to absorb the properties of the sun, not reflect them.

Exposure to the sun primarily causes premature aging, as well as skin cancer and one’s ability to withstand the damaging affects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation depends on the levels of melanin in your skin. Melanin, a natural absorber of light, dissipates more than 99.9% of UV radiation. Even the lightest skinned black people have more protection from the sun than the darkest Caucasians. Though there is a limit to the amount of protection melanin provides (yes, you still have to wear sunscreen, this protection is significantly higher in naturally dark skin. As a result of this, darkly pigmented people tend to exhibit less signs of aging. Increased melanin protects its owners from short-term damage from the sun, as well as long-term signs of aging (i.e. age spots, deep wrinkles and rough texture, sagging, and discoloration).

Translation: black don't crack.

Melanin Aids in Human Reproduction

Dark pigmentation protects precious DNA from damage and absorbs the necessary amount of UV radiation needed to keep the body healthy. Melanin also protects against folate depletion, which women need to maintain healthy eggs, proper transferring of eggs, and the normal development of the baby after fertilization. Dark-skinned women suffer the lowest level of baby defects.

Translation: we good.

Melanin vs Melatonin

Melanin and Melatonin are two chemically related substances, but harbor many different characteristics. Again, Melanin is the major human pigment found in black skin, eyes, and hair. Melatonin is responsible for maintaining sleep cycles, biological rhythms and the regulation of melanin synthesis.

Translation: beauty sleep aids in the glowing of beautiful black skin.

 

The Power of Melanin

Melanin is black because its chemical structure allows no energy to escape, making black melanin the sole absorber of energy and light.

Translation: our darkness harbors the brightest light.

According to many authors, skin melanin is a result of UV rays, which despite popular belief, do not have to come from overused tanning beds. Melanin possess the unique ability to absorb energy and convert said energy into a re-usable source.

Melanin can rearrange its chemical structure to absorb all energy across the radiant spectrum. This includes sun-rays, light-rays, music vibrations, sound waves, and sun heat. This could be another major reason why Africans connect on such a deep level with music, and why most of our music was manifested. As a race that is used to being in the sun, whether on our rightful continent, or wrongfully enslaved on another’s, music is a natural response to happiness, adversity, and any other feeling black people may possess.

We could not physically exist without our melanin; our organs, our motor functions, our senses, and our minds could not work without the presence of it. The five physical senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch) are our sensory reactions to the outside world in response to melanin.

Melanin exists on a dark plane of matter, a cosmic biological gateway in which the life form of the spiritual mind can manifest and exist in the material realm.

Melanin, is our power – our essence – while the sun is our source.

We are solar beings.

“We Afrikans, with our distinct racial features -blackness, curly hair, broad nose, thick lips, etc.- are really blessed with greatest gift from nature. The source of all this beauty is this precious life and chemical substance; Melanin.”

The prominent presence of Melanin in African-American people is a testament to the fact that we are the prime examples of elegance and beauty.

We are the ideology.

Despite centuries upon centuries of slavery, objectification, hatred, and prejudice, no one can tell us that black is not beautiful – Black is beauty.

“Dipped in chocolate, bronzed in elegance, enameled with grace, toasted with beauty. My lord, she’s a black woman.”

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The Destruction of Colorism

The Destruction of Colorism

col·or·ism

  1. prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.
    “colorism within the black community has been a serious emotional and psychological battle”

Colorism can best be defined as the internalized racism unknowingly fueled by white supremacy within the black community, and other communities of color.

We are bound – sharing ancestral torments of slavery, separated kin, sexual and psychological assault – we are bound. Tantamount to this, we are damaged. Yet we still walk, and just as anyone who is wounded that endures, we continue to injure ourselves more and more with every passing day.

 

Colorism’s Origins

The simplest way trace colorism’s roots, is to date its significance back to American Slavery. Slave owners typically displayed partisan treatment to slaves with lighter complexions. While dark-skinned blacks struggled in the fields, their light-skinned counterparts typically worked the less grueling tasks inside the house. Slave-owners were often partial to light-skinned slaves because more often than not, they were related. Slave-owners frequently engaged in sexual intercourse with slave women, and light offspring were the signs of their coalition. Although mixed slaves were still forced to endure the horrors of the eugenics movement, abuse, and rape just as their darker-skinned brothers and sisters, they were often allowed some form of an education and were occasionally granted freedom. Light skin became an asset among the black community and centuries of this conduct deeply instilled the belief that light was more desirable than dark.

While most are unsure of exactly why there is such a vast division between black people, the stumbling upon concept of colorism was no accident. The psychological war between African-Americans was the malevolent creation of William Lynch in 1712. Slaves only had the family they were left with and the families they shaped, but their union was strong – almost resilient enough to never be shattered. Lynch spoke of ways to break apart the unified Black man and woman, because their strength lied in each other. Lynch concocted a strategy that he believed would control the slaves physically and mentally for centuries if implemented properly.  The following is what many believe to have been William Lynch’s theory:

“Crossbreeding Niggers mean taking so many drops of good white blood and putting them into as many nigger women as possible, varying the drops by the various tone that you want, and then letting them breed with each other until another circle of color appears as you desire. What this means is this; Put the niggers and the horse in breeding pot, mix some asses and some good white blood and what do you get? You got multiple of colors of ass backward, unusual niggers, running, tied to backward ass long-headed mules, the one productive of itself, the other sterile, (The one Constant, the other dying, we keep the nigger constant for we may replace the mules for another tool) both mule and nigger tied to each other, neither knowing where the other came from and neither productive for itself, nor without each other.”

Most propose that his efforts did not cease there. It is theorized that Lynch suggested destroying the mother language of the black people and limiting their understanding of the English language to render them voiceless. He figured that by making African-Americans imprudent, minuscule differences, like the shade of their skin, would break the black people’s unparalleled alliance. Consequently the conception of light versus dark skin was achieved. Lynch was suspected to have fed off of the fear of the black people by forcing women and children to watch as he tortured the strongest black male on the plantation until near death. The goal was to break the black man’s emotional tenacity. This new mentality was passed down from the mother to her child, and the strong image of the black male was broken. Male children would be made strong physically, but weak mentally. A slave to the white man, even if he was free.

These same inequalities now manifest in our work places, our criminal justice systems, socioeconomic statuses, and in our education systems. It is disproportionately black individuals who are dehumanized by the police, instead of protected, and this psychological terror impacts the entire race. We live in a world that perceives dark as evil, foreign, threatening, and exotified. One could now assume that William Lynch was successful because we unintentionally sanctioned white ideology to separate us. Because of this, no matter how strong we think we are, a part of us is still weak. A part of us is still enslaved.

 

Post Enslavement

Post slavery and throughout the Jim Crow era, the effects of colorism and the actions that went along with it, did not disappear. In black America the favored attitude toward lighter-skinned blacks continued, affecting their darker equivalents. Light skin and privilege were still considered synonymous and fair skin became the sole criteria for acceptance in the black aristocracy.

The Blue Vein Society refers to a historical phenomenon among some African-American communities in which the lighter skinned individuals held more privilege, as to darker skinned blacks, who held lower ranks on the social scale. The term “blue vein” was prominent in the early twentieth century, and was utilized because the test of how light one was, was determined by whether or not their blue veins were prominent beneath their skin. Another benchmark was the “paper bag test”. Many churches, fraternities, sororities, and even clubs, utilized a brown paper bag as an example for the darkest a person could be to be allowed entrance. People at these organizations would hold a paper bag against a person’s skin, and if one were darker than the bag, they would not be allowed entry. The term “fair-skin” was derived from the original meaning of “fair” – which was “beautiful”. “Fair-skinned” is instantly a colorist term because now fair skin means not only light skin, but it also holds the same connotation as, “beautiful skin”. This forms a devastating analogy: fair is to light as ugly is to dark. This is part of the reason why the idea of the brown paper bag test still haunts the black community. Images of lighter skinned blacks dominate the representation of black people, global sales for skin-lightening cream have remained steady for years, and analogously, photoshopped skin lightening techniques are commonplace.

 

Our Choice Affects Us Now More Than Ever

Colorism within the black community is proof that white supremacy, racists, and William Lynch’s techniques are operating exactly how they were intended to. Our experiences as African-Americans are different across our shades and genders, even if we share some of the same oppression. The disunion amongst us makes our fight against the eradication of racism less effective thus creating a double binding paradox for the entire African-American race. That, in itself, was William Lynch’s ultimate plan all along.

It is now, and has always been, our responsibility to educate ourselves and inform the black youth about our antiquity. Teachings should be reminiscent of the fact that although skin color was utilized as a weapon of mind control, light does not equate to beautiful any more than dark does. Internal bias will deteriorate momentously as the concept of unbiased beauty is understood. The perceptual shackles still imprisoning us from centuries ago will be broken and the discriminations that have manifested because of our ignorance will be less prominent. The black community can progress as a race, allowing us to be just as strong as we were before enslavement—if not stronger.

The history of African-American colorism is interminable, and the ruthlessness of internalized racialism boils down to comprehending why humans began to associate light with virtuous, and dark with corrupt. For those of us who acknowledge colorism and the destruction it has since left in its path, my principal question to you is: Are you going to do something about it?

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