The Significance of Black Melanin for all Humans
Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.
Professor of Sociology
The ubiquitous hormone black melanin may be the most important hormone in all of life and may even hold the key and possibility of humans understanding the origin of the universe. What may even be more confusing is that science as understood and in some cases somewhat poorly advocated by Europeans since the 1600s may not even be in a position to understand this potent hormone today. These two sentences may rile up some readers and provoke furious objections and raise immediate defensive antennas of suspicion, taking sides, provoke racial conspiracy theories, hostility, racial myths, superstitions, magic, witchcraft, unscientific or pseudoscience, internet hoax, racial domination.
The reader may ask in the first place why this topic of black melanin is not being prominently investigated by the main stream of top scientists, in prestigious Western Universities and scholars in Europe and North America if it is such a key hormone? Isn’t this black melanin topic meant to make Africans naturally superior and Europeans inferior because of some chemical in the body? Isn’t this some superstitious primitive subject discussed in the underworld of marginal unscientific forums of oppressed frustrated minority groups and organizations with grievances and axes to grind against main stream science? Don’t the hostile members probably meet in dark basements to plot the downfall of main stream Western science?
Role of White Racism in Studies of Black Melanin
This discussion of the black melanin hormone cannot be better understood and digested if the reader is unaware of the risks and forces against the open discussion of or investigation of the hormone that when all is said and done may benefit all 7 billion people to day and especially the 1 billion Africans and their descendants if properly investigated. When conditions coalesced so well in Europe in the 1600s, the Industrial Revolution was born. It brought about the explosion of voyages to explore the world. Tremendous advances were made in science, technology, physics, philosophy, astronomy, economics, medicine, anthropology, technology of war, evolution, secularization or leading to the diminishing or the weakening of the influence of religion.
During this European excitement and new found power and the process of establishing European empires around the globe as countless other empires had done before, something very unusual happened that had to have profound effect on Europeans themselves and their victims; the Atlantic Slave Trade of over 12 million black Africans from West Africa from 1609 when the first slave ship arrived in Virginia from West Africa. Europeans developed the vicious and insidious ideology of racial inferiority of black Africans and the superiority of white Europeans. This racist ideology would probably be history to day if all Europeans countries had abandoned it when Britain did from 1807 to 1835 when the Atlantic Slave Trade had been banned and in the United States in 1863 when President Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation freeing all African American slaves.
But what compounded the racist ideology Europeans directed at Africans was when Europeans colonized Africans further entrenching the racial ideology to the rest of the world which had either dark or non-white people. How is all of this related to the proper study of the ubiquitous hormone black melanin which every human being has and all creatures may have including its prevalence in the universe?
If Europeans were advancing the racial ideology belief that all black Africans are inferior and all whites or Europeans are superior during the last 400 years and black melanin is associated with Africans, why should any European risk the study of the hormone especially if it might have evidence that creates something positive in favor of Africans and people of African heritage? What if the evidence disproves black African inferiority or that we are all descendants of black Africans? The resistance to exploring anything which has to so with Africans with any type of semblance of objectivity, seriousness, and candor is consistent with bantu or Chewa African language aphorism: kamabalani kakhala pa uta sikapheka (if a bird sits on your bow, you yourself cannot kill it). This is may also be consistent with the law of cognitive dissonance as European and Western scientists may be unable or unwilling to investigate the topic of black melanin hormone for these historical ideological reasons.
Once we put the deeply emotional reactions aside, we can explore the black melanin hormone. What is black melanin? What are its functions? Where is its ultimate source? How do individuals respond because of lack of it or if they have too much of it? What is most important and exciting to this author are the possible health and normal life benefits of the black melanin hormone. For example, the author suggests that we may have black hormone mediated physio-social activities and those that may be less or non-black melanin mediated physio-social social activities. The author shares his experiences and challenges of navigating the physio-social world which requires less or more black melanin in everyday life when the author feels he may have more black melanin hormone being an African in the world of 2013 away from the African continent. What are some of the possible black hormone health challenges to day among all 7 billion human beings? Could God have created Africans as his vessel or window to the universe over 75% which is dark matter we cannot see? In these discussions, this author is uninterested in the superiority and inferiority of particular groups of the 7 billion humans to day which seems to have been the unfortunate and tragic focus of the majority of European scientific investigation of humans over the last 400 years.
What is black melanin?
Melanin is a hormone which is found in virtually all parts of the human body, animals, plants, in nature in general including the universe. “The dark color or pigment of the human body that is found internally as well as externally is called melanin.”(Moore, 2002:20) Hormones released from cells or glands in the body are responsible for the proper functioning of the body in terms of firing messages between various significant organs of the body especially proper cell functioning (Moore, 2002). The body of existing descriptions and discussion of the complexity of melanin which are relatively objective scientific discussions of melanin include the advantages of black melanin in the functioning of the body, its protective capabilities as a neutralizer, nerve conductor, and energy transformer. The black melanin plays a fundamental role in the nervous system, endocrine system, the pigment layer in the retina of the visual system, the auditory system in human hearing, and finally in the skin and its hormones (Moore, 2002).
The immediate question one can ask is why if this melanin hormone is obviously key or ubiquitous or is everywhere in the human body, in other creatures, plants and nature and especially in the universe, why isn’t everyone discussing and researching it aggressively? There seems to be even a reluctance to call or acknowledge the hormone as black or dark in the main stream writings.
The answer unfortunately may lie in some of the controversial heated claims about black melanin providing natural superior powers to Africans and blacks over whites who may have less or no black melanin at all. Whites have countered that the whole subject is based on the toxic term pseudoscience. The controversy has to be appreciated within the European and Western history of the racist ideology towards all Africans and people with dark skin color. Once a topic or issue such as black melanin is declared non-grata through Western science categorizing it as pseudoscience, it kills careers and all honest researchers shy away from the topic however useful the potential knowledge garnered from studying it may be for all 7 billion people today including whites or Europeans themselves.
Possible Benefits of Black Melanin
Early studies of black melanin dismissed the hormone as mere waste master of the brain and the body. When all the race-based prejudices from all sides are suspended, it turns out that black melanin may have dozens of far reaching implications on human life and the entire universe.
- The amount of black melanin may be related to brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer, and mental retardation. Incidence of Parkinson’s disease is much lower among Africans and African Americans who have higher levels of black melanin but higher incidence of the same brain-related diseases among whites and Europeans who have much lower levels of black melanin.
- Black melanin may be at the center of creation. First it is very crucial at the very beginning of human life when the human egg is fertilized into a zygote that divides into an embryo that grows into a human infant. The crucial presence of black melanin in the dark womb may provide connections to the dark universe which has plenty of melanin and may be also connected to the origin of life, the universe and provide the window into the spiritual realm.
- Black melanin has protective capabilities for the body in acting as a deposit site for dangerous free radicals and may have bio-electric properties. Melanin may retain drugs, metals, and other harmful chemical substances protecting the body. This function may also make people who have high levels of black melanin more vulnerable to addictions to both legal and illegal drugs.
- The skin is probably the largest part of human physiology and its hormones. Black melanin in Africans is the most notorious as Europeans easily chose it as a marker for racial discrimination. This black melanin in the skin is well known for lower incidence of skin cancer among Africans and all darker skinned people. Lower or absence of black melanin among whites and Europeans is believed to be responsible for high levels of skin cancer in that population.
- Black melanin is crucial in the proper operation of the body’s Nervous System, Endocrine System, the Visual System especially the retina that determines visual acuity, the Auditory system that determines body balance and auditory or good hearing ability.
Music and Dance Rhythm
What resonated with this author is the possible impact of the ubiquitous black melanin on the auditory system, dance and sport performance (Moore, 2002:70-71). As an African with probably saturation levels of black melanin going back to 150 thousand years of my ancestors to the origin of humans or homo sapiens, music and the sound of the drum have evoked an irresistible not just urge but force to reflexively engage in polyrhythmic dance in the author’s body. This author believes the drum in Africa may have been created among the author’s ancestors for the reason that it may be closely intertwined with rhythmic movements connected first to the deep thump of the heartbeat, walking, spiritual healing, dance, running and even eventually what we call rhythmic beautiful and spectacular movements of athletes in many sports.
The presence, decline, or absence of black melanin among population ethnic groups may be responsible for some of and the nature and absence or presence of some of the physio-social experiences among different groups. It may be interesting to investigate all of this more directly and subject what we see anecdotally to some form of empirical investigation. For example, could there be such human activity as black-melanin mediated physio-social rhythmic dance and dance that is non-black-melanin mediated? Could there be such human activity as black-melanin mediated physio-social rhythmic soccer play movements and soccer play movement that is non-black-melanin mediated? Soccer aficionados will remember seeing the 1970 Brazilian best ever legendary world soccer team of Pele, Jairzinho, and Tostão. Pele’s movements had unmistakable physio-social rhythm to them that they really validated the beauty of the human body in sport. What the author sees as a decline to day in the game of soccer is that there is less of the physio-social rhythm in the movement of the players but instead linear speed sprinting and strength is emphasized more. This may be true in many other sports including American football. This has perhaps happened in many of our physio-social movements with modern technology because all the 7 billion people may be moving toward non-black melanin mediated rhythm less movements. Because even walking has rhythm but are we may be losing the walking rhythm because we all have less black melanin because shoes, technology and automobiles have reduced and changed or severely transformed and narrowed our walking abilities. Sex and sexuality may be becoming less enjoyable as the original black-melanin physio-social rhythm movements have slowly diminished.
Bynum, Bruce., (Ed.) Why Darkness Matters: The Power of Melanin in the Brain, Chicago, Illinois: African American Images, 2005.
King, Richard., African Origin of Biological Psychiatry, Tennessee: Seymour-Smith Inc., 1990.
King, Richard D., Melanin: A Key to Freedom, 3rd Edition 7th Printing Sept. 2011 Baltimore: Afrikan World Books, Inc., 2010.
Moore, T. Owens., The Science and the Myth of Melanin: Dispelling the Rumors and Exposing the Fact, Buffalo, NY: Eworld Inc., 1995, 2002.