Melanin theory is a claim in Afrocentrism that a higher level of melanin, the primary determinant of skin color in humans, is the cause of an intellectual and physical superiority of dark-skinned people and provides them with supernatural powers. It is considered a racist and pseudoscientific theory.
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.
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- Jaroff, Leon (4 April 1994), "Teaching Reverse Racism", Time, vol. 143 no. 14, p. 74, retrieved 24 July 2016
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- Ortiz De Montellano, Bernard (Spring 1992), "Magic Melanin: Spreading Scientific Illiteracy Among Minorities", Skeptical Inquirer
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- De Montellano, Bernard R. Ortiz (1 January 1993). "Melanin, afrocentricity, and pseudoscience". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 36 (S17): 33–58. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330360604. ISSN 1096-8644. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- Neil Genzlinger, "Science and Race Issues Clash in Cassandra Medley's 'Relativity'", The New York Times, May 2, 2006