In her most recited piece of work; The Isis Papers, comes Welsing’s most famous theory; Melanin Theory.
The theory originates around the concept that white people are the genetically defective descendants of albino mutants. Welsing also states that because of this “defective” mutation, they may have been forcibly expelled from Africa, explaining the journey many humans took, out from Africa and into the rest of the world. For White people, their journey out of Africa took them into modern Europe.
This notion is further developed into addressing White Supremacy, by stating that because it is so easy for ‘pure’ whiteness to be genetically lost during interracial mixing, White-skinned people developed an aggressive colonial urge to protect this mutation, creating dominating societies over all others, particularly through military force at the cost of any coloured societies development.
Welsing ascribes certain inherent and behavioural differences between Black and White people to a “melanin deficiency” in white people. Welsing proposes what she calls a “functional definition of racism”
Her book; the Isis Papers explains it as such;
“Functional Definition Of Racism = White Supremacy = Apartheid: As a black behavioral scientist and practicing psychiatrist, my own functional definition of racism (white supremacy) is as follows: “Racism (white supremacy) is the local and global power system and dynamic, structure, maintained by persons who classify themselves as white, whether consciously or subconsciously determined; which consists of patterns of perception, logic, symbol formation, thought, speech, action, and emotional response, as conducted, simultaneously in all areas of people activity (economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex, and war); for the ultimate purpose of white genetic survival and to prevent white genetic annihilation on planet Earth – a planet upon which the vast and overwhelming majority of people are classified as non-white (black, brown, red and yellow) by white-skinned people, and all of the non-white people are genetically dominant (in terms of skin coloration) compared to the genetic recessive white-skinned people.”
Supporters of the theory find credence in that the majority of historical records. For example, almost all European, Fennoscandian, the larger Scandinavian powers and Baltic regions established a deep seated, Anti-Foreign/Anti-Black sentiment from their inception as small tribes and colonies into their development which they hold today. To Welsing’s supporters, this evidence enough to find Melanin Theory almost ‘self-proving’.
Furthermore, with the historical treatment of Albino persons being sceptical at best and genocidal at worst, the premonition that Albino people were forced from Africa is a possibility, though the reasoning for their departure is up for debate. Did they leave out of fear for their safety? It is an established truth that Albino people are regularly murdered for perceived magical healing powers, or were they expelled? With Ancient African’s strongly believing in supernatural occurrences, could an Albino child be seen as a curse?
These questions are raised within the Isis Papers, though remain unanswered due to a lack of evidence dating so far back into Human History.
However, despite the strength of the evidence based on Colonial documentation; Welsing’s theory does verge into the realm of philosophy, rending some of the empirical evidence she finds ,redundant.
As such, critiques of Welsing’s theory revolves around the plausible claim that melanin, like serotonin is a neurotransmitter, and like serotonin which affects hormones and therefore thought processes and mood, Melanin changes behaviour also. This factor, to Welsing makes ‘Blackness’ an established basis for moral, or more specifically; normal human behaviour.
As such, Welsing’s Melanin Theory draws critique from a number of Philosophical, Scientific and Historical sources.
From a Historical and Scientific viewpoint, many argue that the transition from African climates to the colder, European ones is where the lighter pigmentation of the skin occurred, as the lack of sunlight means there is a lack of Vitamin D, which creates melanin. Ultimately, this forces the skin to naturally become lighter over time.
Philosophically, the idea that moral behaviour exists is grounds for debate and has been since before the time of Plato and Aristotle in Ancient Greece.
It also means that a collection of people being truly moral , independent of any moral evil is difficult to fathom, as it would imply that the whiter you are, the more evil you are too.
Nonetheless, Welsing defended her initial viewpoint and held it separate from the critiques, as any critique of her work, was from a Eurocentric viewpoint- one her ideology stood to oppose.
Naturally, Welsing’s theories are ones that exploit a grey area in Human knowledge. It is the lack of empirical data on both sides which gives both arguments; that Humans naturally migrated from Africa to colder climates and then lightened, as well as her theory that White Africans were expelled to become White Europeans – equally plausible.
In our next breakdown of Frances Cress Welsing; BHM365 analyses her belief in society and it’s constructions with Welsing’s Unified Field Theory.
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