The Skin We’re In
Melanin is power! Know why it’s important to celebrate the power of melanin to uplift our community.
Systemic racism is real. The social construct of prejudice, inequality, and racism has created a division to dehumanize the Black community simply based on melanin – an attempt to turn our strength into a weakness! It’s important to understand the power of melanin and how it has sustained us.
In humans, melanin is the primary determinant of skin color. It is also found in hair and the pigmented tissue underlying the iris of the eye. In the human skin, melanin is an effective absorbent of light; the pigment is able to dissipate over 99.9% of absorbed UV radiation. Because of this property, melanin protects skin cells from UVB radiation damage, reducing the risk of skin cancer. Studies have shown a lower incidence for skin cancer in individuals with more concentrated melanin, i.e. darker skin tone. Essentially, melanin plays a delicate role in the body. It helps protect the body from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. Therefore, melanin is simply magical. Because of it, our skin is protected and shines, leaving others to bask in our beauty!
“I find, in being black, a thing of beauty: a joy; a strength; a secret cup of gladness.” – Ossie Davis
Because of our melanin, Black people were able to build pyramids, establish civilizations, and develop the various workings of complex subject matters in the birthplace of humankind. For 250 years, melanin is how America was built, from the backs of Black men, women, and children who were forced into slavery, largely in the fields of the South. Melanin was a key to our survival through this dark period of American history.
Melanin has sustained us physically however it’s been used to categorize us intellectually, resulting in prejudice and systemic racism. By celebrating the strength of melanin, while fighting the social construct that limits our aspirations and goals, we win!
Our experiences are different but are nonetheless powerful. As Black people, we possess a distinct strength and versatility to our beauty. From our melanated hair and skin to our resilience in overcoming prejudice and racism, we unapologetically embrace all aspects of who we are as a community.
OneUnited Bank offers unapologetically Black Visa Debit Cards to celebrate the beauty of melanin, while also showcasing the power of our $1.3 trillion in spending power. Beauty and power wins!
May we continue to strive for greatness as we reach the skies while embracing our melanated roots and pressing on into the future.