Pigments of imagination

The colors of the racial rainbow

By William Wetherall

First posted 5 February 2007
Last updated 5 February 2007

Anyone with ordinary vision can differentiate colors of human skin. It is also perfectly normal that someone who is accustomed to seeing only one general color of skin would be curious about people whose skins are differently colored.

Even in populations of people who share the same general color of skin (yellow), there are bound to be a range of gradations of tone -- lighter than average to white, and darker than average to brown -- resulting from individual differences in pigmentation and exposure to sun, among other factors that can affect skin coloration. And just as people will differe in their preferences of texture (from smooth to coarse) or hirsuteness (from hairless to furry), they will differ what color or tone of skin they find attractive in themselves and others.

To be continued.