Saturday, January 2, 2010

Diversity: People of Color

The other day, I was at an association meeting where someone made a statement about 10% of their membership consists of people of color. At the time, didn’t think much of it. Then over the weekend, in a Washington Post article by Michele Singletary, again reference was made to “people of color”. This got me wondering. Who exactly are these people of color. I decided to spend time doing research, looking into several factors.

In case anyone else also is wondering about this, let’s me share with you what I found and who exactly these people are. It was quite enlightening.

First, I looked up definition of White, Black and Brown on commons "colors" of people I tend to run across in my daily life. Here’s how black, white and brown are defined:

Black: The color at one extreme end of the scale of grays – opposite to white, absorbing all light incident upon it.

White: A color without hue at one extreme end of the scale of grays, opposite to black.

Brown: A dark tertiary color with a yellowish or reddish hue.

OK, I was stumped because they all use the word color in their definitions. So I continued to dig.

I then looked up some medical sort of stuff and here’s what they had to say:

In humans, the degree of darkness of skin depends primarily on how much Melanin is present. In addition, the presence of Hemoglobin and Carotine in the blood also contributes to skin color.

Still, no clarity.

Finally, I went to the big boss, at home. Yes, my wife. Yes, she is in charge, without a doubt, whether I accept it or not. Even my two daughters remind me of this every time they get a chance. But that’s a different conversation. :) In any event, as she is a medical doctor I figured she’ll know something about this.

She explained to me that with the exception of Albinos (which is a rare situation and very few true Albinos are present on this earth), every living human being on this planet earth has Melanin (and Hemoglobin and Carotine) and it is these elements that contribute to color.

Hmmmm….still no clear answer as to who are these unique individuals we refer to "People of Color". From all the research I have done, the way I see it, are we all not people of color? The only people who are technically not of color are Albinos. And I honestly can’t seem to recall the last time I saw an Albino.

Perhaps we need to have another measure—please indicate your Melanin content level and we can be grouped by this measure.

Check here: A. 0-10%
B. 11-20%
and so on….

This reminds me, I also learned that every human being also has a human heart. Honestly, I just can’t seem to find anything that really separates us. Everywhere I look, I seem to find only similarities. The search goes on…for these People of Color. If you find out, won't you please let me know. Thank you.

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