Hey Dad, today at school we learned about race, but I am still a little confused. Can you explain it to me?
Ok. Thanks, Dad!
Well of course son, but it might be a little complicated, so feel free to ask questions.
Ok Dad, so where do we start?
Alright. So, a long time ago, when the first humans were on the earth, they lived in Africa...
We are going to start at the beginning. A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away.... no. Just kidding.
Because they lived in Africa, that meant that they lived near the equator, which meant they got lots of UV rays. Humans need UV rays so they can make vitamin D, but too much can be bad for your body. So, the first humans had lots of melanin, which acts like sunscreen, and protects from getting too many UV Rays
The melanin in our skin protects us from the UV rays, which breaks down and damages our DNA, and it protects a very important molecule called folate, which is a molecule that helps our cells make more cells. So our bodies created this special sunscreen called folate to protect our bodies from the sun. But then, we moved...
We moved? Where?
Unfortunately, people with darker skin and more melanin were not able to get enough vitamin D. So slowly, over the course of hundreds of years, skin turned lighter because we did not have to worry about our folate molecules getting damaged as much.
We moved from places along the equator, where it is really hot and there are lots of UV rays, to places up north in Europe, where it is colder and there are fewer UV rays
Wow! Thanks, Dad! That really helped.
No Problem Son, I'm glad I could help you understand the history of race and why we look the way we do.
So skin tones of people who were farther North got lighter and lighter, until people looked like us.