Mudcat Café message #3653628 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #155337   Message #3653628
Posted By: Don Firth
24-Aug-14 - 05:23 PM
Thread Name: BS: The term People of Color - Let's Nix
Subject: RE: BS: The term People of Color - Let's Nix
In an Anthropology class at the University of Washington some years ago, I was told that "Race" is a sort of cobbled up concept that doesn't really mean a helluva lot.

I'm a person of color if you regard a sort of a sallow, pinky-beige skin "color." My ancestors came from the Northern climes—my father's grandfather came from Scotland and my mother's parents came from Sweden. My skin (inherited from my forbearers) is light, to enable me to absorb as much vitamin D as possible as a result of relatively weak sunlight and long winters.

A person whose ancestors grew up in equatorial climes have dark skin (high melanin content) in order to shield them from ultraviolet rays and a possibility of vitamin D overdose.

Being a person "of color" (a meaningless expression) gives an indication of where most of one's ancestors come from. It is (sorry, pete 7*s) an evolutionary adaptation to the environment one's ancestors lived in.

Same with size and shape of noses. In a cold, dry climate, one needs fairly extensive nasal passages to moisten air before inhaling it into the lungs. In warmer, wetter climates, much less so. Hence, the size and shape of noses.

The epicanthic fold (so-called "slant eyes" of Asians) evolved (there's that word again!) to sheild the eyes from glare off ice and snow. Asians and "Eskimos"—and their descendants, including American "Indians," evolved in the northern climates of Asia (Siberia and such). "Native" Americans crossed from Asia on the ice to what is now Alaska and spread south to populate North and South America. You often see a bit of epicanthic fold in the eyes of Scandinavians. The epicanthic fold has almost disappeared from the eyes of Native Americans, particularly those who have lived for a long time in southern climes.

And if we go back far enough, all our ancestors came from Africa.

Or so I was informed in Anthropology classes….

Don Firth

P. S. Some years ago I worked with a young woman of African-American descent named Rosetta. She was one of the most truly beautiful women I have ever seen—along with being highly intelligent. We often took our coffee breaks together.

What did I call her? "Rosetta." I often wonder where she is now. (Sigh….)