[Editor’s note: The following is “Appendix 3: Skin Color” with minor modification from Species of Men: A Polygenetic Hypothesis by Thomas Coley Allen (Franklinton, North Carolina: TC Allen Co., 1999. Footnotes have been converted to end notes.]
Three substances cause skin color: hemoglobin, carotene (or keratin), and melanin. In Aryans hemoglobin dominates. In Turanians and Khoisans, carotene usually dominates. For the other species of men, melanin dominates.
All skin contains melanin. However, in Aryans it is slight enough so that hemoglobin of blood shows through the skin giving it a pinkish or reddish tinge or appearance. (One distinguishing characteristic between Aryans and Melanochroi is that the blue color of blood vessels can be seen through the untanned, and often tanned, skin of Aryans — hence, the term “blue blood.” However, for Melanochroi the blue color is seldom apparent.)
Melanin occurs as granules in the granular layer of the epidermis. (The epidermis is the bloodless outer layer of the skin.) Melanin determines the degree of the skin's darkness and its hue (color on the chromatic scale). There are two types of melanin. They are eumelanin (black melanin) and phaeomelanin (dun, or orange to red, melanin).
Eumelanin granules appear in the untanned skin of Negroes and Australians as blackish discs between 1.3 and 1.0 microns long and between 0.6 and 0.5 microns wide. They lie singly in individual capsules. Eumelanin granules also appear in the skins of Aryans (except Nordics, East Baltics, and many Alpines), Melanochroi, and Turanians (including American Indians). In their skins eumelanin granules are smaller and round or elliptical in shape and are between 0.7 and 0.6 microns long and about 0.5 microns wide. They occur in clusters. The volume of eumelanin granules in the skins of Aryans, Melanochroi, and Turanians is about one-fifth of the volume found in Negroes and Australians. The tint of the skins of Aryans and Melanochroi result from eumelanin.
Phaeomelanin granules are similar to the smaller eumelanin granules in size and shape. They are found in the skins of Aryans, Melanochroi, and some Turanians. They may also occur in the Negro Melanesians.[5, 6]
Carotene, a yellowish pigment, is found in the outer horny layer of the skin and in subcutaneous fat. It gives the skin of Turanians and Khoisans a yellowish hue.
For fair skinned people, blood in the dermis, the inner layer of skin, contributes to color. The hemoglobin in blood gives Aryans their pinkish or ruddy color.
Three parts of the solar spectrum (ultraviolet, visible light, and infrared) impact the three basic skin colors (white, yellow, and black) differently. Ultraviolet and infrared penetrate white skin while it reflects visible light. Yellow skin reflects visible light, absorbs infrared, and allows ultraviolet to pass through. Black skin absorbs all three bands of radiation. Intermediate colored skins, usually some shade of brown, fall between the extremes of the three basic colors. Thus, the darker the skin the less the ultraviolet and infrared radiation penetrate the skin. The fairer the skin the greater the penetration of ultraviolet and infrared radiation.
Fair skin reflects more visible light than does darker skin. At 6500 to 6850 angstroms (Å) the percent reflectivity for Aryans averages about 50 to 64 percent. For Turanians average reflectivity ranges between about 35 and 48 percent. For Melanochroi the range is 23 to 41 percent. Australians have a reflectivity of about 12 percent. The reflectivity for Khoisans is about 43 percent, and for Negroes (Sudanese) it is about 24 percent.
A standard chart or scale used to measure skin color is the von Luschan's Hautfarbentafel. This scale contains 36 shades of color ranging from pale pinkish white to black, with three yellowish tones. The colors contained on this scale are whitish, reddish white, whitish yellow, olive yellow, light brown, brown, reddish brown, dark reddish brown, blackish brown, grayish brown, and pure black. On this scale skin color for Aryans range between 1 and 17, excluding 4 through 6. That of Melanochroi ranges between 18 and 29. For Turanians the range is between 4 and 6 and between 12 and 23. Negroes have skin colors of 27 to 36. That of Australians ranges between 24 and 29. For Khoisans the range is between 18 and 23.
Deniker divides skin color into ten shades: pale white, florid or rosy, light-brunette, yellowish-white (similar to the color of wheat), olive-yellow (similar to the color of new portmanteau leather), dark yellow-brown or dark olive (similar to the color of dead leaves), red or copper, reddish-brown or chocolate, sooty black, and coal black. Under his scheme Aryans are pale white, florid, and light-brunette white. For Turanians the basic shades are yellowish-white, olive-yellow, and dark yellow-brown or dark olive. The basic shades in Negroes are reddish-brown or chocolate, sooty black, and coal black. For Melanochroi the basic colors are red or copper and reddish brown or chocolate. Australians are generally reddish-brown or chocolate.
Similar to Deniker’s scheme is a simplified version of Broca's scale. This scale consists of three basic colors (white, yellow, and black) divided into ten shades. The shades are pale white, reddish white (Northern Europeans), tawny white (Mediterraneans), pale yellow (Chinese), warm yellow (American Indians), brownish yellow, reddish brown (Eastern-Hamites), chocolate brown (Australians), brownish black (Dravidians and Melanesians), and black (Bantus). Thus, skin colors for Aryans are pale white, reddish white, and tawny white. Skin colors for Turanians are pale yellow, warm yellow, and brownish yellow. Black and brownish black are the colors for Negroes. For Melanochroi the skin colors are reddish brown and brownish black. Australians have chocolate brown skin.
Keane identifies six primary colors. Under his scheme, Aryans fall into two colors: florid white (Northern Europeans and Finns, i.e., Nordic, many Alpines, and East Baltics) and pale white (Southern Europeans, i.e., Mediterraneans, Iranians, Northern Semites, and Southern Mediterraneans). Turanians fall under yellow (Chinese, Tunguses, Paraoeans, and some Indians of South American), brown (Polynesians, Plateau Indians), and copper red (Prairie Indians). The color of Negroes is brown (Negritos) and black (African and Oceanic Negroes). Melanochroi are black (Eastern-Hamites) and brown (Indo-Iranians and Fulas). Khoisans are yellow, and Australians are black.
Brinton provides the following scale for skin colors:
a. White: (1) white, brown undertone (grayish); (2) white, yellow undertone; (3) white, rosy undertone.
b. Medium: (1) reddish; (2) yellowish (olive).
c. Dark: (1) black; (2) dark brown, reddish undertone; (3) dark brown, yellowish undertone.
Hrdlička used a scale of five colors consisting of twelve shades. His scale contained white (florid, light, medium, light brown), yellow-brown (light, medium, dark, chocolate brown), pale-yellowish, dusky-yellowish, black (brown-black, bluish-black, grayish-black, ebony-black).
Color is difficult to measure accurately because of the different ways that people perceive the color of skin. This difficulty leads some to claim that skin color is not a reliable indicator of race. Not only do different people see the same color differently, the same person may see the same color differently under different lighting. People may disagree that a shade of red is carmine or scarlet. However, unless they are color blind, they can distinguish either shade from green. People may argue about whether a person from Northern Europe is a Nordic, East Baltic, or Alpine based on slight differences in skin color. Any argument over skin color vanishes when the color of this person's skin is compared to that of an African Negro. Likewise, one can easily distinguish blue eyes from brown eyes although disagreement over shades of blue or brown may occur.
Skin color is also criticized as a valid racial identification tool because it can vary with age, diet, and health. The skin of a sickly person may differ noticeably from that of a healthy person. The obvious answer to this problem is that identification should be based, whenever possible, on healthy adults eating a normal diet. When classifying animals, taxonomists choose normal healthy adults to establish the standards and to identify to which species a population or individual belongs.
That skin tans eliminates it as a valid racial identifier so claim some people — especially those who claim that no races of men exist. The solution to this problem is simple. Observe the untanned skin.
Skin color is a valid descriptor of the several species of men. Although some overlap of color occurs, especially that of Negroes, Melanochroi, and Australians, skin colors in general differ with race. This is specially true for Aryans and Turanians.
1. More details on skin color are given by Babun, pp. 22-27; Baker, pp. 148-160; Bodmer and Cavalli-Sforza, pp. 580-582; Brace and Montagu, pp. 271-293; Brinton, pp. 29-31; Comas, pp. 264-265; Coon, Racial Adaptation, pp. 48-62; Coon and Hunt, pp. 229-235; Deniker, pp. 46-48; Downs and Bleibreu, pp. 244-251; Goldsby, pp. 90-94; Jurmain and Nelson, pp. 141-144; Keane, Ethnology, pp. 171-174; King, pp. 142-146; and Molnar, pp. 119-127.
2. Carleton S. Coon, Racial Adaptation ( Chicago, Illinois: Nelson-Hall, 1982), p. 48.
3. One micron equals one-thousandth of a millimeter or about 0.000039 inches.
4. Coon, Racial Adaptation, p. 49.
5. [Editor’s note: Since the author wrote this book, he has reconsidered the classification of the Melanesian. He now classifies the Melanesian as part of the Australian species, which he now calls the Indo-Australian species.]
6. Coon, Racial Adaptation, p. 49.
7. Coon, Racial Adaptation, p. 50.
8. Coon, Racial Adaptation, pp. 54-55.
9. Carleton S. Coon and Edward E. Hunt, Jr.,The Living Races of Man (New York, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965), p. 230. Stephen Molnar, Races, Types, and Ethnic Groups: The Problem of Human Variation (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1975), pp. 122-123.
10. Coon and Hunt, p. 229.
11. Juan Comas, Manual of Physical Anthropology (English edition. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 1960), pp. 264-265.
12. J. Deniker, The Races of Man: An Outline of Anthropology and Ethnography (London, England: Walter Scott, Limited, 1900), p. 47.
13. Comas, p. 264.
14. A. H. Keane, Ethnology (Cambridge, England: The University Press, 1896), pp. 173-174.
15. Daniel G. Brinton, Races and Peoples: Lectures on the Science of Ethnography (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: David McKay, Publisher, ), p. 31.
16. Comas, p. 264.
17. In this particular example head-shape would immediately distinguish a Nordic from an Alpine or East Baltic.
18. This does not mean that the difficulty of using skin color as a distinguishing racial identifier does not or cannot occur. The differences between the skin color of Aryans and Melanochroi can be slight and may occasionally be difficult to determine or distinguish along the transitional zone between these two species in North Africa and West Asia.
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