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Sun exposure and Vitamin D - the real reasons behind racism?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by Daniel Delion, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. Daniel Delion

    Daniel Delion Member

    You probably know how the lighter the color of your skin is, the easier it is for you to make vitamin D from sunlight. And you all know how it's really easy to differentiate between different type of people by their skin color. It works even from a distance, so of course the color of the skin is one of the easiest targets for racist people. While I'm not qualified to get into the psychology of the actual hatred and fear being present in the mind of such people, it made me think of what might be the roots of this phenomenon.

    It would be quite hard to live together for two people who need different amount of sun exposure to be able to get the amount of vitamin D they need. People living near the equator need 6 times the amount of sunlight than the paler, northern people: https://www.nasw.org/article/vitamin-d-levels-determined-how-human-skin-color-evolved


    Let me theoretize something that also connects back to assortative mating. Imagine back in the days without Vitamin D supplements, it was virtually impossible to get the healthy serum levels without enough sun exposure (UV radiation), and if the pale person makes enough, he/she needs to avoid getting more and risking sunburn (and eventually skin cancer). Sure, one can keep putting on protective clothes, even sunscreen (like the ancient jasmine and rice combination), but how uncomfortable that is? And the darker skinned part of the theoretical couple would develop Vitamin D deficiency if he or she stayed in the sunlight only as long as their partner needed.

    So it can be at least one of those quite rational reasons with significant health benefits/drawbacks why people didn't usually mix. From then on, it's just a step for certain members of any given community to forget or be ignorant about the real reasons behind certain choices. Then the only thing left there is the fear of what is perceivably different from them, and this results in the above mentioned hatred.
    Ruryse and andersonnnunes like this.
  2. ListenNighGlint

    ListenNighGlint Active Member

    Daniel, your theory is completely acceptable. I'm just afraid it gets labeled as a reasoning towards racism, just like many things nowadays. Even if it has a truly innocent, scientific purpose. I didn't know they used sunscreen even back then, I would have assumed it was tackled purely by clothes and other devices.
    Daniel Delion likes this.
  3. crypticletter

    crypticletter Member

    Bollocks. Let them judge, but go straight anyway.

    Regarding @Daniel Delion 's theory, it's a neat little reasoning, but I think it neglects or at least overlooks two things: geography and necessity. By the first one, I mean how it was not near as easy to get to meet a person of different skin color by traveling there as it is today. No planes, not even trains.

    By the 2nd one, if people of different skin color lived there around you, and you were someone with not much available choices, you did end up mating with them, regardless of whether you stayed with them or not in the long run.

    Also, think of hordes of soldiers after military attacks on a certain foreign tribe or country. Plenty of genetic mixing has resulted from such situations, even though theoretically they were far from ideal. Basically, you underestimate the evil in humanity in general.
    Daniel Delion likes this.
  4. Daniel Delion

    Daniel Delion Member

    Thanks for the civilized responses, guys, I appreciate them. I'm not sure how obvious it is that a person in any ancient culture would have limited exposure to their own phenotype. The further we go back in time, the smaller and more closed communities seemed to be, so it's more like that was the norm, and genetic mixing among different types was occasional.
    ListenNighGlint likes this.
  5. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member

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