“Can Black People Tan?”
“Can Black People Tan?” This is a worthy quandary if I have ever heard one. One of the eternal questions that has plagued mankind for centuries. Plato discuses this topic in his Dialogues. In the East, Confucius tackled this question in Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. I was posed this question by a Russian [read beige with a unibrow] guy named Nick who is in my section at law school. He has now counted himself among the luminaries of human thought in whose unintentionally racist footsteps he now walks. As the mid-atlantic spokesman for coloreds, I was naturally caught at unawares. I had to take pause and reach into the depths of my intellect to inquire if black folk actually tan. Before I relate the answer to Nick’s question, let us first examine the mechanism that creates the tan.
According to Wikipedia, from whom I receive all the information I regard as patently true, tanning is the result of UV (ultraviolet) radiation from the sun causing direct DNA damage to the skin. The human body naturally repairs this damage, and in the process of doing so, the body creates and releases melanin into skin cells. This melanin manifests as a darker skin tone, or “tan.”
There you have it folks: Tanning is a natural biological process for which all human beings have the capacity .
It stands to reason, through the masterful powers of deduction that my HBCU education affords me, that since I and all of my darker skinned comrades are in fact human, that we can get a tan. Who Knew, Right?! Personally I had absolutely no idea that being a human meant that you respond in many ways biologically identical to other human beings. This seems to hold true, even if you are Black and they are White. For those of you who haven’t gotten the point, or who just skipped ahead to the bottom because your boss is swiftly approaching, the requirements to tan are as follows:
1. Be Human (a tough initial hurdle for some)
2. Have skin cells (I’m about 87.9% certain Black people have these)
3. Remain in the sun for an extended period of time
Though my friends of European descent wish they could call tanning their very own, alas, it remains the milieu of all the human brotherhood.
And it only took me 30 minutes and a Google search to figure it out. Suck it, Plato and Confucius.