Why is it that Africans have black skin? And is it true that African Americans have lighter skin than those coming from Africa? Learn the answers here.
The question of the colour of the skin has probably been asked by different people since the early childhood. You see that various people have different tones and colours of skin, and you immediately go to your parents to have them explain how this works.
However, not all parents could explain it as well; that is why we often left wondering why God created us all different and what thought He kept in mind when creating different shades and tones.
Luckily, the scholars have answered all of these questions using the scientific foundation they could find. According to what they stated, having different tones of skin is merely a matter of safety and better adjustment to the climate people live in.
It is evident that people with dark skin live in the areas where the strong sunlight is a common thing. Therefore, this type of skin is used as a means of protection against sunburns. Given that these people often spent hours exposed to the sun, having dark skin was their answer and their protection. Without it, ordinary activities like hunting, fishing or even certain kinds of agriculture would not be possible.
On top of that, scholars mention that “A lack of skin pigment can cause vision problems, and dark skin protects sweat glands from being damaged by the sun. Excessive UV rays from the sun can hinder neural development. Dark skin helps to protect the body's folic acid supply, which promotes neural development.”
However, despite this, there are still people living on the African continent that have a problem called albinism. This issue was often the death point for people that had albinism. They died from cancer in no time. Moreover, such people developed lesions sooner than white-skinned Americans due to the amount of outdoor labour performed in Africa. In the past, if citizens in Africa had pale skin, they would develop skin cancer at a rapid rate, and not be able to survive. The result is that people with dark skin were more likely to pass on their genes, eventually leading to a dark-skinned population.
Another reason why Africans are black is as a means of adaption to extreme climate. Scientifically speaking, the whiter you skin is, the more vitamin D you are able to get from the sun exposure. People living in the North, do not get as much sun, as those living in Africa. That is why having lighter skin is beneficial to them, since they still get enough vitamin D. People with dark skin will not be able to handle it as well as they do.
Meanwhile, people with darker skin are more resistant to the overexposure of light. They say that in extreme climates with little winter sunlight and short summers, white skin overcomes this deficiency, however there is a negative tradeoff which is the reduction in the protective amount of melanin in the skin, melanin not only helps give the skin its darker characteristics but it also protects humans from some of the harsher elements of the sun.
There is also evidence that people like Black Canadians, British people from Commonwealth countries and Muslim nations where women are all dressed and don’t get enough sun can suffer in the cold climates more and are frequently diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency that has to be medically treated.
Finally, another important thing to mention is that some scientists believe that white skin emerged from the black skin and not vice versa. And even though we have not studied this question in many details, we found it interesting and decided to share it with to see whether you would find it exciting too.
Now, we would like to talk to you whether it is true that African Americans have lighter skin than Africans. Some people believe that this is the case, so let’s see whether it really is so.
Before anything else, we would like to state that there is no standard black African skin colour. They are all different tones and shades. So, we cannot say that the black colour of the skin of one nation is truer than the one of the other.
This phenomenon is especially obvious in the United States of America as well as a number of other states on the American continent. The thing is that there was a dangerous slave trade developing in this region. That is why a lot of Africans that were forced to go to America got in the relationship or stayed on the continent. The races mixed up. Here is what the Wikipedia says about it:
“Between 1650 and 1900, 10.24 million enslaved Africans arrived in the Americas from the following regions in the following proportions:
Senegambia (Senegal and the Gambia): 4.8%. Upper Guinea (Guinea-Bissau, Guinea and Sierra Leone): 4.1%. Windward Coast (Liberia and Ivory Coast): 1.8%. Gold Coast (Ghana and east of Ivory Coast): 10.4%. Bight of Benin (Togo, Benin and Nigeria west of the Niger Delta): 20.2%. Bight of Biafra (Nigeria east of the Niger Delta, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon): 14.6%. West Central Africa (Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola): 39.4%. Southeastern Africa (Mozambique and Madagascar): 4.7%.”
As a result, the genes of Africans brought to the Americas were mixed up with those of the Europeans. As individual sources state, slave women were forced to comply with sexual advances by their masters on a very regular basis. Consequences of resistance often came in the form of physical beatings; thus, an enormous number of slaves became concubines for these men.
As a result of these sexual relationships, these women gave birth to children who despite the fact that they were at least fifty percent European, were automatically considered as Africans and slaves who fully belonged to the master.
John Nurse in one of his articles mentioned that if half of the babies born to slave women in the generation following their arrival, were to European fathers, this would result in a genetic mix which was 75% African and 25% European. Now, in fact, the likelihood is that the rate of fathering by Europeans was much lower, but that it continued unabated for a century of more.
And to illustrate this example, here is what the genetic study shows about the forefathers of Americans as we know them today. They say that the genome of an African American is at least 73,2% African, 24% European, and 0.8% Native American.
As one can see the lighter colour is a result of multiple interbreeding and mixture of European and African blood both in parents and in a child. However, even though the skin is lighter, it is not less of the African skin than one might think.