h a l f b a k e r y
Quis custodiet the custard?

meta:

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.

 user: pass:
register,

Skin Pigment Numbers

Because "black", "white", "yellow", "brown", and "red" are inadequate
 (0) [vote for, against]

There are two varieties of melanin that are responsible for most human skin color. Pheomelanin is a yellow or reddish pigment (depending on concentration), and eumelanin is a deep brown pigment. Most humans have both, but usually one predominates very-much more than the other.

Now consider the average "black" American, and compare that person to a native of the African equatorial region. It is *laughable* to call that American "black"! Not to mention that the African's skin color isn't really black, either; it is more like a super-dark chocolate.

You may now understand why a better way of describing human skin pigmentation is needed. Here we shall suggest a pair of numbers, from 0 to 100+, in which 100 is defined as the normal maximum level of one of the two pigments. (There is an illness called "hyperpigmentation" in which someone could have a number greater than 100, but that is not *normal*.)

In alphabetical order, eumelanin precedes pheomelanin. So let the first number represent the amount of eumelanin in someone's skin, and the second number represent the amount of pheomelanin. We could write down the values as, for example, 15|5 ("ASCII vertical bar" separating them). An albino would have values of 0|0, of course, and if that first example human got a sun-tan, the numbers might change to become 20|6.

As a consequence of most humans having a predominance of one of the two pigments, most humans would have a quite-low value for one of the two numbers --"red" humans, for example, might only have a 2 for the first number.

Some folks will now claim that such a system, while accurately describing skin colorations, will promote prejudice. "Our private club excludes anyone whose numbers fall outside the range of ...!" Well, maybe. My only comment about that is, "Where in the HalfBakery is a "Prejudice" category???" (where this Idea would properly belong)

 — Vernon, Jan 22 2015

the pencil test http://en.wikipedia..._%28South_Africa%29
[not_morrison_rm, Jan 22 2015]

my version Equal_20opportunities_20colour_20spec_2e
it doesn't really matter what the colour is, provided that it's got a good name. [Loris, Jan 22 2015]

beeb apartheid story http://www.bbc.co.u...ca/12chapter7.shtml
[not_morrison_rm, Jan 22 2015]

Somewhat baked in pre-1994 South Africa, eg the Pencil Test and all that kind of stuff..
 — not_morrison_rm, Jan 22 2015

Why not just use Pantone? This is a wider colour palette and would allow for when aliens colonise the Earth and wipe out all humans.
 — hippo, Jan 22 2015

Munsell system would be better.
 — pocmloc, Jan 22 2015

 ^pardon? *

* <>?{}:@~<>?!"£\$%^&*()_+ aha! It's a devil to find the ^ on a Japanese keyboard..
 — not_morrison_rm, Jan 22 2015

 Racial classifications beeb story

 "In 1984, for example:

 518 Coloured people were defined as White, 2 whites were called Chinese, 1 white was reclassified Indian, 1 white became Coloured and 89 Coloured people became African"

You still quite sure you want go down this path?
 — not_morrison_rm, Jan 22 2015

 Prejudice ?

Anyways, interesting idea, except how do you account for suntans/burns ?
 — FlyingToaster, Jan 22 2015

Hey, what about freckles? Maybe Pantone matches would be more accurate?