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Physical Differences and Discrimination among Humans

Physical Differences and Discrimination among Humans

There have always been differences in the physical appearances of people from different nations. For example, skin complexion has always varied among individuals worldwide. This, however, has not been taken for what it is. For example, people have misused these differences and thus ended up discriminating against one another. The wide range of skin complexions has brought about racism which is extreme in some parts of the universe. Hence, the lives of people from the minorities have been put at risk. In addition, some people feel like their complexion is more precious than others and, as a result, underestimate the value of other people. Some of those whose personal esteems end up lowered beyond recovery opt for different mechanisms to change their skin color. This is evident in the numerous cases of bleaching one’s skin to become lighter.

This is currently affected by certain soaps, pills and body creams. Research also indicates that some skin types are being used as commodities. This is especially the Albino-white skin which has increased kidnapping cases just to get that skin and earn from it. In addition to that, people with white complexion enjoy certain privileges. This is evidenced by the times of the colonial regime, where only the blacks were exposed to hard labor and, especially, working under the sun. History witnesses that those with fair complexion have used this advantage or disadvantage as a property. This has been especially evident throughout the United States history, where white Americans have better rights and privileges, which have even been outlined in their Bill of Rights. It has also been noted that white Hindus were granted more favors and rights in Colonial India than the native ones.

In addition, people have also been discriminated against on the grounds of their physical appearance apart from their skin. For instance, eye color, with some being blue and others brown, has also caused discrimination between humans. Hair loss has also been used to create a split among people. This has especially affected those who lose their hair and often end up bald at tender ages. Some people also suffer from the growth of tufts of hair in the nose and ears of different people. This has caused some of them to undergo rejection from society because of their appearance. These are only a few of the different physical traits of people that have caused much pain or, sometimes, happiness.

It should and must be understood that no one chooses their nationality. People should also understand that no one is a less privileged being than the other because of his/her appearance. This is supported by the fact that our complexion does not condition our potential, talents and knowledge. All these discriminations have caused hostility among people, and yet that should not be the case. It is only fair that we appreciate one another for who we are. We should also understand that physical differences are meant to sustain us in the climates of the different environments in which we live. Because of these reasons, we opt to look deep into the disparities of the physical form of people. In this research, we explore different theories that try to explain the causes of these variations hoping that people will understand the true reasons for disparities and become more reasonable.

To begin with, of the diverse theories trying to explain the differences in man’s skin color, we opt for the theory of evolution. This is because it gives clear facts and comprehensive information on the issue. The theory has, of course, been affected by a series of research. They are from several anthropologists, including Nina Jablonski, a specialist in the field of anthropology, and Chaplain, an expert in the field of Biochemistry. The evolution theory dates back to more than 4.5 million years ago. At that time, a man had come out from the rainforest climate and had been adapting to life in the East African Savanna. It has been at that time that man has engaged in several occupations in order to meet his daily needs.

This has included exposure to the sun for long hours while working. At this juncture, the evolution of man’s skin has taken place at a drastic rate. From her research, Jablonski, who now chairs the Department of Anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences, has discovered that the mammalian brain is susceptible to overheating. She says an increase of almost 6 degrees in its temperature can result in a heart stroke. Therefore, our ancestors, who have happened to know this, have possessed the ability to sweat, which has a cooling effect on the body. Their sweat glands have been, however, few and have been majorly located on their palms and soles. As man has continued to evolve, the bodies of the offspring have developed more sweat glands to produce more sweating, causing the offspring to be healthier compared to their forefathers. Humans have around 2 million sweat glands spread all over our bodies. This is after 2 million years following the theory of natural selection. It has affected our skins, which are less hairy when compared with that of our closest ancient relations (chimpanzees).

The first theories regarding this issue date to years before the 1970s. However, most of them were racist and worsened the split that was among men. In those theories, white skin was portrayed as cold protection. Understanding the impact of racist theories, researchers decided to explore the roots of all this. In her discoveries, Jablonski explained skin color with close reference to either the plenty or lack of vitamins in a person’s body. She conducted a study in 1978 that focused on the effects of Ultraviolet rays on the folate vitamins. Folate is a constituent of the vitamin B complex. She found out that a single hour of exposure to intense sunlight was enough to influence the amount of folate in the body. Exposure to the sun decreases folate levels to as little as half of its composition if your skin is light in color. She later started to study the correlation between neutral-tube defects like anencephaly and low folate levels. Anencephaly is a condition in which an infant is born without a full brain, not a spinal cord. This was with Chaplain’s involvement when they suspected that the skin colors of different people across the universe resulted from the intensity of the UV light that they received. It had been noted that hairless skin was at a greater risk of destruction by sunlight. The relationship between skin cancer and sunlight supported it. The scientists then presumed that man’s body started to produce melanin in the course of evolution. This is a pigment responsible for the absorption and dispersion of UV light. They also discovered that sunburned nipples would debilitate breastfeeding, risking the minor’s life. This problem would be solved by a slight tan among the mothers, and thus most women opted for it, especially in their early months of pregnancy. Chaplain and Jabslonki’s research drew them to study anencephaly.

Most people thus ended up opting to use male contraceptives to solve this problem. It was effective since it contained a foliate inhibitor crucial for developing sperm. It thus overrides all folate in the body, which influences skin color. In 1960, the two scientists discovered that skin color resulted from the body’s need for vitamin D, which is majorly obtained from the UV light rays via absorption through the melanin cells. Vitamin D is known to support calcium absorption into the bones, enhancing the development of an unborn. This was supported by the fact of woman’s need for this vitamin. Thus, people living in the northern hemisphere, where UV light is low, adopted lighter skin to intensify the absorption of vitamins. At the same time, those living in the tropics adopted darker complexions to resist too much of the rays.

Three years before the researchers estimated the amount of UV that falls on Earth, the two scientists had done similar research concerning skin color across 50 countries. They discovered that people living at high altitudes were at risk of being deficient in vitamin D, which was a concern, relieved after it was found in fish. This research drew Chaplain and Jabslonki to the conclusion that skin color was determined by the need and the amount of vitamin D in a person’s body.

Hair loss, commonly known as baldness, is a common problem among men. It is associated with developing tufts of hair in the nose and the pinna. It is majorly explained under genetics in the concept of gene mutation. According to this theory, this problem occurs in an individual when the male sex chromosome fails to fuse with the female one. When this happens, the offspring suffers from either of the malfunctions because they lack the specific genes responsible for the distribution of body hair.

Teeth discoloration is another problem, mostly faced by people living around salty water bodies. Their teeth tend to be brown instead of the usual sparkling white. Unfortunately, when they start to associate with people from other regions, they often face discrimination. The consumption of salty water causes this problem, which is explained in the same theory. The dissolved salts in the water react with the calcium in the teeth, forming a new compound deposited as the brown matter on the teeth. This, however, can be avoided through boiling, where the salts dissolve in the water, reducing that effect.

Eye color is another trait that varies among people. This is explained in genetics as a factor dependent on the pigmentation of the iris of one’s eyes and the frequency with which light is scattered in the eye by the turbid. This ranges between black and brown among men, and it is related to the melanin in the iris’s epithelial layer. However, the blue and green eyes result from Rayleigh’s scattering, which is linked to the sky’s brightness.

📎 References:

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2. Chiras, D. (2011). Human biology. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
3. Malina, R., & Bouchard, C. (2004). Growth, maturation & physical activity (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers.
4. Ferraro, G., & Andreatta, S. (2011). Cultural anthropology: an applied perspective. Belomnt, CA: Cengage Learning.