This man terrifies me

The man in this video terrifies me. He is relatively young, strong, and wears his prejudice on his sleeve for the entire world to see. I fear that he is the kind of man that is always on the edge of violence. In this video, he is targeting protesters while saving special disdain for the black person operating the camera.



But it isn’t just the fact that he is letting his racism show, it is also the fact that he is also acting like so many people that I know here in Oklahoma. It leaves me asking myself how we are ever going to get past the prejudice that permeates society.

For one, my answer starts by standing with all the people that have been, and continue to be, victims of prejudice. I will grant that I fail to live up to my ideals, but the best that I can do is to continue to try.

I want a better world than the one that we have now, and returning to the prejudice of the past isn’t the way to achieve it.

Colors of people – version 1.1

There was a lot that I liked about naming colors for different skin tones. I have learned a lot about skin color as well as learning some new things about myself. While it is true that I don’t want to spend an excessive amount of time trying to come up with skin colors, I also can’t leave them completely alone.

I have been disabused of the idea that this will be the final list. It seems like there will always be some other color or shade that sounds like a better description. With that in mind, here is my current list of skin colors:

Type

Also called

Sunburning

Tanning behavior

Color

I Light, pale white Often Occasionally Frosted ivory
II White, fair Usually Sometimes Moonlit tusk
III Medium, white to light brown Rarely Usually Satin rawhide
IV Olive, moderate brown Rarely Often Umber bronze
V Brown, dark brown Very rarely Sometimes darkens Velvet onyx
VI Very dark brown to black Extremely rarely Naturally black-brown skin Polished jet

One of the things that I learned is that I gave considerable more time to coming up with just the right name for my skin type. Like it or not, I see that skin type every day when I look in the mirror. I could tell that the descriptions weren’t all that accurate. What I didn’t worry about was whether the other colors assigned to skin types reflected the color of their skin accurately. Part of the problem can be seen in the chart itself.

Arguably, type 1, 2, and 3 would be grouped into a “white” category while type 4, 5, and 6 would be grouped into people of color. There would also be some debate whether the darker type 3 people should be considered people of color or whether the lighter type 4 people should be considered “white”. The reality is that there is no clear distinction and accurate color for individual groups of people. We are all just a point on a continuous smear or color ranging from an almost complete lack of melanin to skin so saturated with melanin that color descriptions are almost meaningless.

Race is a concept created by humans, but it doesn’t map very well to the reality of the natural world. Still, if trying to get the color of my own skin right was so important to me, I can only imagine that it must be as important to the groups that rarely – if ever – get to see themselves represented in stories. I can only hope that this list will allow people who read my story to see themselves represented. But more than seeing themselves represented by any particular color, I hope that my readers won’t find any part of the story that excludes them.

Colors of People

Being colorblind yet wanting to include people of color in my stories has presented me with a problem. Many of the descriptions of people of color are either insulting or are meaningless to me. I can’t imagine them and I can’t keep them straight. Why would I want to use these descriptions in one of my stores and actually make people of color feel insulted.

Coffee colored skin? Black? Cocoa? How about for people with medium skin tones? Brown? Even to me, these seem limiting and useless. And that is even before I consider white people. White? Pasty? Pale? Egg shell? Oatmeal baby food?

I want to give up, but I can’t. If there isn’t at least a little bit of description about someone’s color, then it is assumed that they are Caucasoid. Since “white” people are considered the norm in entirely too much literature, some description is going to be necessary unless everyone is assumed to be Anglo-Saxon.

Turning to the Internet has been no help at all. Even when I can find someone willing to help, it is likely that they are discussing how their skin color being compared to trade products is degrading (coffee, cocoa) and telling people to look closer at the actual color of skin so that they can see the primary color and the undertones. By doing that, the description of the skin color will be more true to life.

Well crap! If I can’t actually see the skin color, seeing the color of the undertones is only going to make it worse.

The solution I am going to use isn’t perfect, but it is the best that I can do… at least for now.

Presently, researchers are dividing skin color into seven six groups based on the level of melanin in the skin. While they don’t associate a color directly with them, it is a place for me to start.

The Fitzpatrick scale as listed under human skin color on Wikipedia is:

Type

Also called

Sunburning

Tanning behavior

Von Luschan’s chromatic scale

I Light, pale white Often Occasionally 1–5
II White, fair Usually Sometimes 6–10
III Medium, white to light brown Rarely Usually 11–15
IV Olive, moderate brown Rarely Often 16–21
V Brown, dark brown Very rarely Sometimes darkens 22–28
VI Very dark brown to black Extremely rarely Naturally black-brown skin 29–36

Note: even these skin types don’t go uncontested. The same scale is listed using different descriptions and numerical translation compared to Von Luschan’s chromatic scale.

I an attempt to give consistency to my writing, I’m going to add my own colors to this scale.

Type

Also called

Sunburning

Tanning behavior

Color

I Light, pale white Often Occasionally Frosted ivory
II White, fair Usually Sometimes Moonlit tusk
III Medium, white to light brown Rarely Usually Dusty ecru
IV Olive, moderate brown Rarely Often Umber bronze
V Brown, dark brown Very rarely Sometimes darkens Golden onyx
VI Very dark brown to black Extremely rarely Naturally black-brown skin Polished jet

The color names that I have assigned to the skin type still doesn’t have any meaning to me, but they do appeal to me from an auditory perspective. While I can’t actually see or imagine the colors, they all sound beautiful to my ear.

Do you have any names that would sound better? I would love to hear them.

October 8, 2015 addition:

While I love the concept, there were still a few ‘colors’ that were bothering me. Either they were overly descriptive or utterly confusing to people that could see colors. The idea of my skin color table is to hint at the color while letting your imagination fill in the details. I don’t want it to be precise. I don’t want the colors to be something that you can Google and come up with the “right” answer for their skin color.

Additionally, each color should be beautiful in its own right. Humans are beautiful, and the colors that make up human diversity are beautiful as well. This list should represent that beauty without bringing in the baggage that comes along with the traditional names of skin tones.

With those things in mind, here is my new list:

Type

Also called

Sunburning

Tanning behavior

Color

I Light, pale white Often Occasionally Frosted ivory
II White, fair Usually Sometimes Moonlit tusk
III Medium, white to light brown Rarely Usually Planed leather
IV Olive, moderate brown Rarely Often Umber bronze
V Brown, dark brown Very rarely Sometimes darkens Velvet onyx
VI Very dark brown to black Extremely rarely Naturally black-brown skin Polished jet

Ancient DNA reveals how Europeans developed light skin and lactose tolerance – ScienceAlert

Two mutations responsible for light skin, however, tell quite a different story. Both seem to have been rare in the Mesolithic, but present in a large majority by the Bronze Age (3,000 years later), both in Europe and the steppe. As both areas received a significant influx of Middle Eastern farmers during this time, one might speculate that the mutations arose in the Middle East. They were probably then driven to high levels by natural selection, as they allowed the production of sufficient vitamin D further north despite relatively little sunlight, and/or better suited people to the new diet associated with farming.

http://www.sciencealert.com/ancient-dna-reveals-how-europeans-developed-light-skin-and-lactose-tolerance