Melanin theory is a pseudoscientific, racist ideology based on the supposed properties of melanin, the primary determinant of skin color in humans. Melanin theory argues that higher levels of melanin are directly correlated with increased intelligence, creativity, physical prowess and supernatural abilities.
According to Bernard Ortiz De Montellano of Wayne State University, "The alleged properties of melanin, mostly unsupported, irrelevant, or distortions of the scientific literature, are (...) used to justify Afrocentric assertions. One of the most common is that humans evolved as blacks in Africa, and that whites are mutants (albinos, or melanin recessives)". The melanin hypothesis was supported by Leonard Jeffries, who according to Time magazine, believes that "melanin, the dark skin pigment, gives blacks intellectual and physical superiority over whites".
In popular culture
In 2006, the views of adherents and critics of melanin theory were dramatized in Cassandra Medley's play, Relativity.
- Ortiz de Montellano, Bernard R. (17 Dec 2006). "Afrocentric Pseudoscience: The Miseducation of African Americans". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. New York Academy of Sciences. 775: 561–572. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1996.tb23174.x.
- Jaroff, Leon (4 April 1994), "Teaching Reverse Racism", Time, vol. 143 no. 14, p. 74, retrieved 24 July 2016
- Tucker, S. D. (2016), "Science Fictions: Technological Utopia, Objectivity, and Other Scientific Myths", Forgotten Science: Strange Ideas from the Scrapheap of History, Amberley Publishing Limited, ISBN 9781445648385
- Mehler, Barry (Fall 1993), "African American Racism in the Academic Community", Retrieved from the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism (ISAR), Ferris State University. First published in The Review of Education, 15 (3/4), retrieved 12 August 2016
- Ferguson, Stephen C. (2015), Philosophy of African American Studies: Nothing Left of Blackness, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 56, 66–67, ISBN 9781137549976
- Ortiz De Montellano, Bernard (Spring 1992), "Magic Melanin: Spreading Scientific Illiteracy Among Minorities", Skeptical Inquirer
- Cashmore, Ernest; Jennings, James (2001), Racism: Essential Readings, SAGE, pp. 181–182, ISBN 9781446265482
- Morrow, Lance (24 June 2001), "Controversies: The Provocative Professor", Time, vol. 138 no. 8, p. 19
- Ortiz de Montellano, Bernard R. (1993), "Afrocentricity, Melanin, and Pseudoscience", Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, 36, pp. 33–58
- Neil Genzlinger, "Science and Race Issues Clash in Cassandra Medley's 'Relativity'", The New York Times, May 2, 2006