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Old 01-09-2009, 11:41 AM
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Do black people tan?


It occurred to me that while people of many races get darker in sunlight, I never really thought about if someone was already really dark-skinned. Do black people get darker if they go out for a tan? Do they get sunburned as easily as fair-skinned people?
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:46 AM
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Yes.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:53 AM
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Yes, they get darker. No, they don't burn as easily as lighter people. (That's the curse of the pale-skinned.)

Tanning is basically the melanin in your skin getting bigger. If you have a lot of melanin, it gets bigger the more exposure to the sun you have, and you are protected from burning by that melanin covering even better. If you have little or no melanin, you burn or freckle.
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Old 01-09-2009, 12:42 PM
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Ah, yes, when I was young an unsophisticated I offered sunblock to a black sergeant, who laughed at me and said that it wouldn't really do anything for him.

I wonder, though, does dark skin protect one from cancer-causing damage done by UV light? I should have asked about that during laser safety training, but it didn't occur to me then…
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:06 PM
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Ah, yes, when I was young an unsophisticated I offered sunblock to a black sergeant, who laughed at me and said that it wouldn't really do anything for him.

I wonder, though, does dark skin protect one from cancer-causing damage done by UV light? I should have asked about that during laser safety training, but it didn't occur to me then…
That's strange. I was under the impression that black people could, indeed, sunburn and needed to wear sunscreen every bit as much as light-skinned people.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:09 PM
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But that was a sergeant! The sun wouldn't dare burn a sergeant. It is not as if a sergeant would have human weaknesses.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:16 PM
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Check out this silly Honda commercial (the one with the nudists in the crashed hot air balloon, so NSFW if your work doesn't like shirtless middle aged men). The black nudist has a pretty obvious farmer's tan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tcqWk4je3U
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:21 PM
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The characters discuss this issue (among other, weightier ones) in Howard Sackler's 1967 play (and probably the movie based on it, which I've never seen) The Great White Hope. They declare that black people do, indeed, tan.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:22 PM
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Michael Jackson untanned, so maybe the opposite is true.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:24 PM
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Ah, yes, when I was young an unsophisticated I offered sunblock to a black sergeant, who laughed at me and said that it wouldn't really do anything for him.
His oncologist may be having the last laugh. Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to die of melanoma.

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I wonder, though, does dark skin protect one from cancer-causing damage done by UV light? I should have asked about that during laser safety training, but it didn't occur to me then…
Nope.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:32 PM
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Actually, the link says that dark pigmentation does give some protection from sun damage, just not complete protection:

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It is true that dark skin provides some protection against sun damage. People with light skin types have a much higher incidence of skin cancer than do people with dark skin types.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:40 PM
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Actually, the link says that dark pigmentation does give some protection from sun damage, just not complete protection:
It does, you're absolutely right. I took Balthisar's use of "protect" as an absolute term and answered accordingly.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:54 PM
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Yes, as already stated. Black people do tan( or get darker.) I myself am lighter compared to the blacker side of my race. But.......I do have a buddy soooo black, that he does not get darker, at least not visibly to the eyes.

In my younger years, I was absolutely oblivious to what a sunburn was. I spent all of my days as a child baking in the sun from Japan to California. It wasn't until sometime around the age of 17-18 I experienced my first sunburn in Florida. I absolutely thought something was medically wrong with me. It was horrible I must admit. I constantly thought I had received some sort of chemical burn and finally went to the doctor.......needless to say, I felt pretty stupid once told it was just a sunburn.
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:14 PM
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I think it would be fair to say that more black people die from melanoma due to the cancer being undetected, not because they are more susceptible. Google melanoma and look at the images, I wouldn't notice most of the milder images if they appeared on my ex girlfriend, who is half black half white.

Melanoma is one of the most treatable cancers out there, because it can be discovered in early stages. The cancer is harder to detect on dark skinned people, so it is more deadly on those individuals.

I bring this up because without knowledge of that, it may be easily assumed that since more black people die from melanoma, that there must be more cases with dark skin than with light skin, but I'm sure that isn't the case. Melanin helps protect against sunburn and skin damage, but as a cite already said, it isn't enough for long term sunlight that gives people sunburns and increases risk of getting sun cancer.
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:23 PM
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I think it would be fair to say that more black people die from melanoma due to the cancer being undetected, not because they are more susceptible. Google melanoma and look at the images, I wouldn't notice most of the milder images if they appeared on my ex girlfriend, who is half black half white.
I suspect the main reason why melanoma are more dangerous to black folk is they don't wear sunscreen. My people don't either (including me, and I live in Florida).
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:37 PM
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Yes they do, I've had African American friends and they tan. Some tan easier than others.
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:57 PM
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I suspect the main reason why melanoma are more dangerous to black folk is they don't wear sunscreen. My people don't either (including me, and I live in Florida).
I don't want to turn this into an argument but:

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Skin-...le-31438.shtml
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:32 PM
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I don't want to turn this into an argument but:

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Skin-...le-31438.shtml
That story mentions both proposed risk factors, FTR.
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Old 01-09-2009, 04:41 PM
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Odd, I noticed on Tuesday's Tonight Show that Queen Latifah had tan lines. She was wearing a one shouldered dress and the lines of what appeared to be a swim suit were visable on the opposite one.

Sorry, couldn't find a link.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:57 PM
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Contrary to the common belief that only fair skinned people can be affected by skin cancer, dark skinned people are not at all free of the same type of cancer. Moreover, it was proved that even if black people get skin cancer rather seldom, they are more likely to die or develop complications from it than their fairer counterparts.
"not free of melanoma," "get skin cancer rather seldom"

OK, can we get actual numbers on white vs black skin cancer figures? All is see is sunscreen scare-mongering.

In general, sunscreen has its place. BUT SO DOES VITAMIN D.

(Keep in mind black people, due to their skin, also have a much harder time photosynthesizing it. They should NOT wear sunscreen unless they'll be exposed to strong sunlight excessively. Same for white people, to their own degree.)
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:08 AM
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Yes, we tan. But I've noticed that white people tend not to notice, as least not as readily as other black people. For instance, a black coworker returned from vacation and I complimented her on her tan. The white people standing around claimed I was seeing things, even though to both me and the woman the tan was obvious.
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:36 AM
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I agree, although I am chocolate colored(blush).
Once I went on a road trip on my bike, and not only did I get a farmers tan, I had all the symptoms of a serious sunburn too, yucky skin flakes and all. The amount of exposure that would sunburn a paler person does not affect me, so I guess it is just a matter of degree.
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:56 AM
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In my younger years, I was absolutely oblivious to what a sunburn was. I spent all of my days as a child baking in the sun from Japan to California. It wasn't until sometime around the age of 17-18 I experienced my first sunburn in Florida.
I had an African-American boss several years ago. He went to Cozumel on vacation during the winter and came back...RED! Everyone else in the office was pretty amused, just because he looked so odd. He said it was the first time he'd ever gotten sunburned and that it was horrible.
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:43 PM
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Any darker-skinned people here ever do recreational tanning? As in lying on the beach or by the pool, carefully making sure your skin is evenly exposed to the sun (and incidentally showing off your bod to the opposite sex)? There's also a social aspect to tanning for teen girls. I've always kinda wondered if black teens missed out on that.
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Old 01-10-2009, 04:05 PM
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Generally, naturally darker people are either want to get lighter, or are happy the way they are. Of course, blacks go to the beach, but not usually for the purpose of getting darker. A black teen girl with a tan is more likely to complain about it than be happy about it.
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:53 PM
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Any darker-skinned people here ever do recreational tanning? As in lying on the beach or by the pool, carefully making sure your skin is evenly exposed to the sun (and incidentally showing off your bod to the opposite sex)? There's also a social aspect to tanning for teen girls. I've always kinda wondered if black teens missed out on that.
I did the lying on the beach or by the pool with my friends because that's where my friends were. And I like lying in the sun. (Unfortunately, the opposite sex never gave a rat's ass what I was doing) But I obviously never did the hardcore dedicated tanning that some of them did.

I don't remember burning until I was adult, in New Zealand, on a day that didn't look all that sunny, so I hadn't bothered with sunscreen. That was a mistake. And 30SPF and I became friends for the rest of that vacation.
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:31 PM
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She wasn't black, but one of my Americorps housemates was Indo-Fijian and a deep coffee color. After a couple of months building Habitat houses in Alabama, she returned with arms about two shades darker than her legs.
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:48 PM
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A black teen girl with a tan is more likely to complain about it than be happy about it.
I've never encountered this. However, I don't really like how I look when I get a real dark tan. A little bit of sun and my skin turns a nice golden brown. But after awhile I turn an ugly gray shade.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:08 PM
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Maybe it's a northern thing. It's fairly common around here in the summer to hear someone saying "ugh, I've gotten so black!" or saying they're going to stay inside lest they get any darker.
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:14 PM
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Maybe it's a northern thing. It's fairly common around here in the summer to hear someone saying "ugh, I've gotten so black!" or saying they're going to stay inside lest they get any darker.
I don't know; maybe an old-fashioned thing? I had friends growing up who tried their darndest to stay as light-colored as they could. A lot of folks divided into two camps: dark and light (the country people used the term "bright").
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:19 PM
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A thought just occured to me—is that why the native tribal black Africans you see pictures of are so dark colored, or is it mainly a genetic difference, as I had previously assumed?

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Old 01-10-2009, 08:28 PM
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I don't know; maybe an old-fashioned thing? I had friends growing up who tried their darndest to stay as light-colored as they could. A lot of folks divided into two camps: dark and light (the country people used the term "bright").
Well, I'm only twenty-six, and hear it from people my age and younger...

It's the opposite with my white friends. "Ugh, I'm so white I glow in the dark! I need to get some sun!" Or buy bronzing cream, if they're concerned about UV rays.

Vox, I don't know any black African immigrants to know if they get any lighter over here, but your average black American isn't 100% black, which plays a part.

Last edited by Omega Glory; 01-10-2009 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:59 PM
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(Keep in mind black people, due to their skin, also have a much harder time photosynthesizing it. They should NOT wear sunscreen unless they'll be exposed to strong sunlight excessively. Same for white people, to their own degree.)
I do not think that word means what you think it means. White people don't have any more chlorophyll in their skin cells than black people...
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A thought just occured to me—is that why the native tribal black Africans you see pictures of are so dark colored, or is it mainly a genetic difference, as I had previously assumed?
Genetic; American black folk usually have at least one or two white ancestors; for obvious reasons, African blacks usually don't.

That said, there's tremendous variation in skin tone among Africans, too.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:11 AM
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Well, I'm only twenty-six, and hear it from people my age and younger...
Perhaps it's fallen out of favor down here, then. I don't hear it so much anymore.
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:13 PM
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That story mentions both proposed risk factors, FTR.
I apologize for my stubborn view (and am only keeping this little sub-discussion going because I feel the OP's question has been answered adequately). I started another job where I have to get up very early compared to when I used to have to wake up, and have been a zombie for the last week.

In my first post I was actually responding to WhyNot's post where the tiny article he linked says

Quote:
African Americans are more likely to die from melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer -- than are whites. That has commentator John McCann concerned that blacks need to pay more attention to sun exposure.
It also has a link which you can click where you hear someone on a radio talking about in a little more detail about the topic. But my effort was to straighten out that article a bit. AAs aren't more likely to die from melanoma because they don't wear sunscreen, but because they don't realize that they actually do have melanoma in the first place.

My article does point out that blacks are susceptible to melanoma from the sun (thats the basic point of the first half of the article, and suggests using sunscreen not because they are more or equally susceptible to melanoma than other races, but because they are actually susceptible and not immune to developing it).

But the second half of the article points out that blacks should get regular skin exams checking for melanoma,
Quote:
"paying particular attention to those areas that we commonly don't consider skin cancers would occur, such as palms, soles, fingers, toes, under the nails and mucosal surfaces like in the mouth and genitalia."
Palms, soles, mouth and genitalia are probably the least likely places that sunlight will reach on a human body although palms and soles are anecdotally more likely to receive UV exposure than mouths and genitalia, this suggests to me at least, that sunlight might not be the only thing causing melanoma.

I am not very good at writing, so I tend to be long winded. But what makes skin cancer deadlier to blacks is not that they don't use sunscreen, but that the cancer is not found in time, whether thats because of ignorance or inactivity.

Last edited by MatthewStabile; 01-11-2009 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:19 PM
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Tanning Black


Yes, I go tanning and I'm black. I get darker. But I'm really just trying to tan the bottoms of my bare feet and palms of my hands.
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Old 10-02-2015, 05:21 PM
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But do zombie negroes tan?

My ignorance on the matter was ended in Basic training when one of my shower buddies caught my eyes checking out the tan line on his neck. Big laughs ensued.
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Old 10-02-2015, 05:44 PM
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Yes, I go tanning and I'm black. I get darker. But I'm really just trying to tan the bottoms of my bare feet and palms of my hands.
Dumb question, but... does that work? I thought palms and soles appeared lighter because they had very little melanin. I thought it was the same in all people, just more noticeable when contrasted with darker skin.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:31 PM
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I wonder, though, does dark skin protect one from cancer-causing damage done by UV light?
Only somewhat, as has been said already.

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Originally Posted by Hazle Weatherfield View Post
That's strange. I was under the impression that black people could, indeed, sunburn and needed to wear sunscreen every bit as much as light-skinned people.
Maybe not as much - if my skin hasn't seen sun for several months, like in the spring, it only takes 15-20 minutes in direct sunlight for me to start to burn. The average black person, even an African American with a relatively light skin tone, isn't gone to start crisping up that quickly. But I've had several black friends who discovered the hard way that "sunburn" really is an actual burn and not a joke. A couple of them achieved 2nd degree sunburn (that's blisters) when vacationing in tropical places, possibly because they had never burned before and were unfamiliar with the hazard and early warning signs you are having a problem.

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In my younger years, I was absolutely oblivious to what a sunburn was. I spent all of my days as a child baking in the sun from Japan to California. It wasn't until sometime around the age of 17-18 I experienced my first sunburn in Florida. I absolutely thought something was medically wrong with me. It was horrible I must admit. I constantly thought I had received some sort of chemical burn and finally went to the doctor.......needless to say, I felt pretty stupid once told it was just a sunburn.
Yeah, but if you haven't had to deal with one before....

On the other hand, sunburn is why I spend all summer dashing from tree to tree and keeping to the shade. My complexion has been described as "vampiric".

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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
I suspect the main reason why melanoma are more dangerous to black folk is they don't wear sunscreen. My people don't either (including me, and I live in Florida).
I think it can also be harder to spot on dark skin, at least in the early stages, and they don't perceive it as a risk. A little like how a lot of people seem unaware that men can get breast cancer. Sure, on average the risk isn't very high but when it does happen it's just as dangerous as when it happens to someone with a higher apparent risk, and if you ignore it (It can't happen to me, that must be something else!) yes, it can kill you.

Or, as we were saying back in 1981, just ask Bob Marley about skin cancer in black people...
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Old 10-02-2015, 08:44 PM
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But do zombie negroes tan?

My ignorance on the matter was ended in Basic training when one of my shower buddies caught my eyes checking out the tan line on his neck. Big laughs ensued.
What is a Zombie Negro?
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Old 10-02-2015, 08:45 PM
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Dumb question, but... does that work? I thought palms and soles appeared lighter because they had very little melanin. I thought it was the same in all people, just more noticeable when contrasted with darker skin.
Yes for me it does seem to work. The bottoms of my barefeet have gotten much darker. Not my palms though. Not exactly sure why that is.
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:14 PM
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They absolutely tan and should wear sun screen as well!
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:08 PM
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They absolutely tan and should wear sun screen as well!
I have never worn protection. At the tanning bed or on the beach. As long as the sensitive area is covered, nothing burns.
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:33 PM
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I'm surprised no one said this: Define "black people".

In the US, a "black person" might be 75% "white" or more.
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:35 PM
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What is a Zombie Negro?
Welcome to the Dope, Barefoot_Black_Bull!

Great Sun Jester was pointing out that the thread you're responding to is six years old. Reviving a zombie thread always results in undead jokes - it's kind of a tradition here.
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:27 PM
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I'm surprised no one said this: Define "black people".

In the US, a "black person" might be 75% "white" or more.
That's true. I am 100% black. Sometimes 120% black.
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:32 PM
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What is a Zombie Negro?
This thread dates back to 2009. We tend to refer to old threads that have been raised from the dead like this as zombie threads. Expect a few zombie-related sarcastic comments and/or jokes.
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Old 10-03-2015, 09:50 AM
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I apologize for my stubborn view (and am only keeping this little sub-discussion going because I feel the OP's question has been answered adequately). I started another job where I have to get up very early compared to when I used to have to wake up, and have been a zombie for the last week....

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 10-03-2015 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 10-03-2015, 10:06 AM
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I'm surprised no one said this: Define "black people".
Anyone who can jump.
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Old 10-03-2015, 10:19 AM
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I'm surprised no one said this: Define "black people".

In the US, a "black person" might be 75% "white" or more.
That's true. A read about a scientific study which looked for genetic markers and found that 98% of Americans who identify as "black" have some European ancestry and 35% of Americans who identify as "white" have some African ancestry.

My spouse, who identifies as "black" is roughly* 60% African, 30% European, and 10% Asian. Yes she does tan. Sometimes in the winter time she'll comment on how her skin is a lighter shade of brown than usual. She never uses sunscreen and rarely gets burned.


* I say "roughly" because even if you know what your great-grandparents looked like, you still don't know what THEIR great-grandparents looked like, not with a high degree of certainty anyway.
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