Where did racism come from? Says Nina Jablonski, "It's just skin, silly!"

Leading Consciously

Dec 8 2023 • 58 mins

If you lived close to the equator, how might your skin color protect you from harmful radiation? And if you lived far from the equator, would this protection be as critical?

What about Vitamin D? How might your closeness to the equator and the lightness or darkness of your skin affect how much you are able to absorb?

Nina Jablonski proposes these two factors – susceptibility to harmful radiation and absorption of Vitamin D – as the simple explanation for why people have different skin colors, a product of evolutionary adaptation.

Leonard Jeffries Jr, former chair of CUNY’s Black Studies Department in the 1990s, referred to Blacks as “sun people” and Whites as “ice people.”

He said many other things that were deemed a lot more inflammatory, getting fired from his position as a result, AND he was correct in this statement.

Interesting tidbit: his nephew Hakeem Jeffries is a US Congressman and Democratic minority leader.

So why is there so much value judgment on skin color? That’s a harder question, taking us into the historical evolution of the slave trade and emerging science of epigenetics.

Watch this week's interview for some fascinating observations.


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⁠⁠⁠⁠Jean Latting⁠⁠⁠⁠ is an organizational consultant, inclusive leadership coach, and behavioral scientist.