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  #1  
Old 10-03-2007, 08:30 PM
Aeschines Aeschines is offline
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African-American with green eyes?

I met with a woman today, my banker, who was clearly African-American. Of course, most African-Americans have a mixture of African, European, Native-American genes, but she did look rather "black," if one is to assess such things. But she also had very light, striking green eyes which were clearly not contact lenses.

Most black people have brown eyes, but do African-Americans sometimes have eyes of other colors? Is it quite rare?

Thanks for any info or insights.
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2007, 08:58 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeschines
I met with a woman today, my banker, who was clearly African-American. Of course, most African-Americans have a mixture of African, European, Native-American genes, but she did look rather "black," if one is to assess such things. But she also had very light, striking green eyes which were clearly not contact lenses.

Most black people have brown eyes, but do African-Americans sometimes have eyes of other colors? Is it quite rare?

Thanks for any info or insights.
I wouldn't say "quite rare", but not the most common thing. Just guessing from my experiences, I'd say maybe 10-15% of black people of non-biracial parentage have "light" eyes--usually hazel or green. Often it's linked to lighter complexions, but not always.
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2007, 09:01 PM
SharkB8 SharkB8 is offline
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I'm black, my family's black...well mostly back, but also have a mixture of Cherokee, Lakota Sioux, French and Scottish. I'd guess a lotof the US black population has some traces of white. I have several green-eyed realtives, even some with blonde and red hair...who are black, not all are dark, but have black features. My brother, who is, I guess what most would call, typically black complected, and his wife, same complection, have a two year old who is fair-skinned, black hair and blue eyes. My mom said one of my other brothers had grey eyes until he was 5. My fiance is Irish with salt andpepper hair and green-blue eyes...I'm dark with very dark brown eyes...I'm curious to see how our kids will look. We'rea motley crew...our contribution to the melting pot. (interracial couple smileys )
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  #4  
Old 10-03-2007, 09:08 PM
pool pool is offline
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I think most that do have green eyes may have some non-black blood somewhere along the line. I had a black coworker with green eyes and when I asked him about it he revealed his grandmother was white.
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  #5  
Old 10-03-2007, 10:02 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro
I wouldn't say "quite rare", but not the most common thing. Just guessing from my experiences, I'd say maybe 10-15% of black people of non-biracial parentage have "light" eyes--usually hazel or green.
That would indicate that the frequency of light coloured eyes is not significatly less common among Black people than amongst Whites. I find that impossible to believe.

Remember only around 40% of the population of western Europe have light coloured eyes. For Europe overall the percentage is 15-20% because blue eyes are much rarer in western Europe and the Mediterranean. That means that the eye colours of "black people of non-biracial parentage" are either the same as for Europeans, or only marginally different.

The problem here I suspect is that "black people of non-biracial parentage" is an approximately meaningless term. A child of Halle Berry and Colin Powell would be a black person of non-biracial parentage depsite being slightly paler than I am. If we change the criterion to the more meaningful and objective "person with less than 25% Negro ancestry" then I think your estimates are way off. In my experience less than 1% of such people have eyes other than brown.

Which answers the questions: African-Americans sometimes have light coloured eyes, as do some African Negroes. However it is rare for people without a majority of Caucasian heritage to have such eye colours. As the percentage of Caucasian ancestry increases it becomes more common.
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  #6  
Old 10-03-2007, 10:07 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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Originally Posted by pool
I think most that do have green eyes may have some non-black blood somewhere along the line. I had a black coworker with green eyes and when I asked him about it he revealed his grandmother was white.
1) I supect that any Black person in North America who didn't immigrate in the last three generations has some non-black blood somewhere along the line, so the statement essentailly applies to all African-Americans.

2) While rare it is in no way unheard of for Negroes with no Causcasian ancestry to have light coloured eyes. The admixture of Caucasian genetics will ddoubtles sincrease the odds simply because light colours are so much more prevalent amongst Europeans. If the ancrresty is from Eastern Europe that will increase still further. But European ancestry isn't essential, just helpful.
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  #7  
Old 10-03-2007, 11:51 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Vanessa Williams and Harold Ford, Jr. come immediately to mind. (I assume those aren't contacts that VW is wearing, as I seem to remember that at least one of her parents also has light colored eyes.)

Most African-Americans have some admixture of European ancestry. In fact, it's not uncommon for that admixture to be as high as 50%. Given that, it should be of no surprise that some have European looking features, including lighter colored eyes. "Black" in the US is generally defined as anyone who has some detectable African ancestry (sometimes called the one drop rule). Given that standard, I'm sure there are quite a few African-Americans who derive more than 50% of their ancestry from Europe.

It's funny... I'm watching PBS right now and there is some show about Broadway musicals ("Showboat"?) in which someone is exposed to be passing as White.

Last edited by John Mace; 10-03-2007 at 11:52 PM..
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  #8  
Old 10-04-2007, 05:50 AM
monstro monstro is offline
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Originally Posted by Blake
That would indicate that the frequency of light coloured eyes is not significatly less common among Black people than amongst Whites. I find that impossible to believe.

Remember only around 40% of the population of western Europe have light coloured eyes. For Europe overall the percentage is 15-20% because blue eyes are much rarer in western Europe and the Mediterranean. That means that the eye colours of "black people of non-biracial parentage" are either the same as for Europeans, or only marginally different.

Perhaps my experiences are biased. But "rare" is not the word I would use to describe this phenomena.

Quote:
The problem here I suspect is that "black people of non-biracial parentage" is an approximately meaningless term. A child of Halle Berry and Colin Powell would be a black person of non-biracial parentage depsite being slightly paler than I am. If we change the criterion to the more meaningful and objective "person with less than 25% Negro ancestry" then I think your estimates are way off. In my experience less than 1% of such people have eyes other than brown.
First off, there's no way of predicting what skin tone a Colin-Berry child would have. They might have light skin like their father, light brown skin like their mother, or go lighter than dad and darker than mom. So it's possible the woman the OP encountered is actually biracial, despite looking "pretty black". Which segues into my next point...

The OP asked specifically about African Americans, and it was African Americans I was referencing in my post. Yeah, the answer changes if you change the population. But if we play around with our operational definitions too much, then we aren't talking about AAs anymore, are we?

It's like asking what percentage of white Americans have blond hair, but excluding people descended from Scandanavians to arrive at the answer.

Perhaps 15% or even 10% is too high, but 1% is definitely low based on my experience.
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  #9  
Old 10-04-2007, 06:04 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro
First off, there's no way of predicting what skin tone a Colin-Berry child would have. They might have light skin like their father, light brown skin like their mother, or go lighter than dad and darker than mom.
You have missed the point entirely. A child of this couple could be, could very, likely be, paler than I am. Nonetheless the child would be of non bi-racial parentage. It's not about the ancestry of the woman in the OP, it's about whether "non bi-racial parentage" has any predictive capacity at all, and I'm guessing it doesn't.

Quote:
The OP asked specifically about African Americans, and it was African Americans I was referencing in my post. Yeah, the answer changes if you change the population. But if we play around with our operational definitions too much, then we aren't talking about AAs anymore, are we?
But I was only ever talking about African Americans as well. I wasn't "playing around with the populations" any more than you were. The only difference is that rather than subdividing African Americans based on the essentially meaningless "non-biracial parentage I was attempting to use a more subjective standard: 75% recent Negro ancestry. Much easier to define, and such people are almost certain to appear Black.

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It's like asking what percentage of white Americans have blond hair, but excluding people descended from Scandanavians to arrive at the answer.
Not what anyone is suggesting in any way at all. What is it, 25% of "white" Americans have Negro ancestry? So we have two choices. We can include everyone who qualifies under the "one drop" rule encompassing people like Ted Danson. That is hardly likely to answer the OP who I think we can safely assume is using "African-American" to mean Negro. Alternatively we can restrict the discussion of people who are actually "Black". We have both decided to go with the latter option. Th only difference is how we define the term Black. You are defining it as including any child of a subjectively-identified black couple no matter what the physical appearance or ancestry of the child or parents actually is. I am attempting to define it objectively in a way that our sample includes only people who are "rather black".

IOW you are just as guilty of excuding Scandinavians as I am. The only difference is that you want to claim that Norwegians aren't Scandinavian so you can keep them in your sample.

Quote:
Perhaps 15% or even 10% is too high, but 1% is definitely low based on my experience.
I'm just basing it on the fact that on those rare occassions when I do see a person with dark skin and light eyes it makes an impact. If it were more than a few percent it would be commonplace and cease to be any more noticable than the same eye colours in white people. The fact that the OP had the same reaction to seeing this light eyed black person suggests the same thing.

If 1 in every 10 black people had light coloured eyes s you suggested we would hardly be reacting with such surprise. After all only around 1 in 5 white people have light coloured eyes and that is so commonplace that we don't even notice it much less start threads about it. That is why I am estimating an incidence of 1 in 100 or less. I honestly wouldn't be surpised to discover the incidence was as low as 1 in 1000.
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  #10  
Old 10-04-2007, 07:33 PM
Green Bean Green Bean is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake
I'm just basing it on the fact that on those rare occassions when I do see a person with dark skin and light eyes it makes an impact. If it were more than a few percent it would be commonplace and cease to be any more noticable than the same eye colours in white people.
I think it really depends on how you're defining "light colored eyes." Perhaps monstro is counting light brown, amber, and hazel eyes as light colored, and you're not. 'Cause I see plenty of (apparently) black people around with "light" eyes, but very few with eyes that are actually blue or green.
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  #11  
Old 10-04-2007, 07:40 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by Green Bean
I think it really depends on how you're defining "light colored eyes." Perhaps monstro is counting light brown, amber, and hazel eyes as light colored, and you're not. 'Cause I see plenty of (apparently) black people around with "light" eyes, but very few with eyes that are actually blue or green.
This is a good point. Another factor to consider is that our experience depends on where we live. I don't remember the details, but the average amount of European admixture in African-Americans varies by geography in the US. IIRC, it is higher in the north and lower in the south. One might see a higher percentage of Blacks with lighter colored eyes in Boston or Chicago than in Atlanta (although you'd see a higher percentage of Blacks in the general population in Atlanta). In a place like New Orleans, though, one finds lots and lots of so-called Creoles. Most Americans would call them Black, but light colored eyes is pretty common among that group.

Last edited by John Mace; 10-04-2007 at 07:41 PM..
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  #12  
Old 10-04-2007, 09:14 PM
elelle elelle is offline
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Adding to John Mace's post: I've lived in the South most of my adult life, and the most striking instance I've seen of a community of people considered Black ,by the social norms of the area, who had remarkably beautiful green eyes, and lighter, curly hair, were the people living in the area west of New Orleans, out in the country. The particular club, Richard's, is known as ground zero for Zydeco music. That music is an amazing hybrid of many traditions, and the people who play it reflect the very different influence in Southern Louisiana as opposed to the rest of the South.

There is much more Spanish, French (from Caribbean islands as well as Acadian refugees-- "Cajun"), and the port of New Orleans was more isolated from the more staid tradition of the rest of the South, and genetics were more mixed. New Orleans was always the most cosmopolitan European/African mix of people in the South, and it shows well in the green eyes there.
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  #13  
Old 10-04-2007, 10:06 PM
phouka phouka is offline
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In order for any child to have blue or green eyes, at least two of their four grandparents or g'grandparents (or on back) had to have blue or green eyes. That color of iris is inherited through a recessive allele. While it's not as simple as BB(brown), Bb(brown), and bb(blue), it still works out fairly regularly.


For instance, paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother both had blue eyes and married brown eyed spouses. All children from both marriages (unless either spouse also had a blue-eyed ancestor) will be brown eyed, with a 50% chance of carrying the recessive blue-eyed allele.

Paternal grandfather's Bb(brown) son marries maternal grandmother's Bb(brown) daughter. When they have children, there's a 25% chance of the baby being BB(brown) homozygous, a 50% chance of a Bb(brown) heterozygous baby, and a 25% chance of a bb(blue) heterozygous baby.

Or it could be that the mother got her blue allele from an Spanish man eight generations previously, and all his descendants had Bb(brown) eyes until the recessive was reinforced by the father, who got his recessive blue allele from a German woman three generations ago, and all her descendants were Bb(brown), until the offspring of mother and father had a 25% chance to grab a double recessive bb(blue) allele.

Eye color is its own discrete set of genes. IIRC, there are three different alleles that make the combination, but what it boils down to is that while brown-eyed parents can have blue-eyed children thanks to the recessive being carried down generation after generation without being seen, blue-eyed parents cannot have a brown-eyed child.

The eye color alleles are not connected to skin color, facial features, or other "racial" marker, and so can be inherited completely independently of them.

What it boils down to, though, is that unless her eye color is a spontaneous mutation (unlikely), your banker has at least two northern/western European ancestors somewhere back in her family tree.
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  #14  
Old 10-04-2007, 10:59 PM
Jodi Jodi is offline
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The best example that comes to mind of an African-American with beautiful green eyes is Gary Dourdan of CSI.

I guess that doesn't contribute to the factual answer, but I post the picture as a public service.
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  #15  
Old 10-05-2007, 12:23 AM
Blake Blake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Bean
I think it really depends on how you're defining "light colored eyes." Perhaps monstro is counting light brown, amber, and hazel eyes as light colored, and you're not. 'Cause I see plenty of (apparently) black people around with "light" eyes, but very few with eyes that are actually blue or green.

Well monstro specifically said 10-15% of black people have light coloured eyes, usually hazel or green. IOW even if we include "light brown" or amber then he is still claiming that at least 5 - 8% have either hazel or green eyes. That is astonishingly high when only about 20% of the European population have hazel, green or blue eyes. Once again, how many people find it noteworthy to see a white person with hazel or green eyes? And how many find it noteworthy to see a black person with those eye colours?

And remember, percieved eye colour is strongly associated with the degree of
contrast to skin colour, so a person wth black skin and hazel eyes will never be percieved as having brown eyes. In fact this may be the source of the problem. People are percieving many brown tones as being 'light' simply because of a contrast with black skin, whereas exactly the same colour contrasted to white skin would be percieved as a dark colour.

Ultimately I guess there is no factual answer likely here, but I still maintain that very few peopel are surprised to see a white person with hazel eyes, but most people would be surpised at that eye cooour in a black person.
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  #16  
Old 10-05-2007, 12:35 AM
Blake Blake is offline
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Originally Posted by phouka
In order for any child to have blue or green eyes, at least two of their four grandparents or g'grandparents (or on back) had to have blue or green eyes. That color of iris is inherited through a recessive allele. While it's not as simple as BB(brown), Bb(brown), and bb(blue), it still works out fairly regularly.
Sorry, but this is absolute nonsense.

It is perfectly possible for a person to have blue eyes without any of their ancestors ever having had blue or green eyes, all the way back to Adam. Never mind the genetics, the logic is quite simple. If your parents don't need to have blue or green eyes for you to have blue eyes then quite clearly any two people can carry the gene for blue eyes without it being expressed. Therefore your grandparents could have carried it without it being expressed and their grandparents and so forth.

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The eye color alleles are not connected to skin color, facial features, or other "racial" marker, and so can be inherited completely independently of them.
Once again, this is total nonsense.

At least one of the alleles for eye colour is exactly the same as the alelle for skin colour. Not related to, not similar to, exactly the freakin' same gene locus and exactly the same allelle.

Of course that is just one out of at least 6 genes that controls eye colour, but the gene that controls how much melanin you produce in your skin is exactly the same gene that controls how much melanin you expres in your eye.

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What it boils down to, though, is that unless her eye color is a spontaneous mutation (unlikely), your banker has at least two northern/western European ancestors somewhere back in her family tree.
Once again, this is total and utter nonsense.

All major human genes are found in sub-Saharan African population. That includes all the major genes for eye colour. It is perfectly possible for people whose ancestors have all been Negroes for the last 100, 000 years to have blue eyes.

The idea that ony people with western European heritage can have blue eyes is absolute nonsense.
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  #17  
Old 10-05-2007, 12:50 AM
Blake Blake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phouka
The eye color alleles are not connected to skin color, facial features, or other "racial" marker, and so can be inherited completely independently of them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by An Actual Geneticist
“The colour of our eyes, hair and skin are all linked, in that the same genes affect the production of melanin in all of these tissues, however certain genes will have more influence on one tissue than another.
Emphasis added.
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  #18  
Old 10-05-2007, 09:42 AM
gigi gigi is offline
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Originally Posted by Jodi
I guess that doesn't contribute to the factual answer, but I post the picture as a public service.
In that vein, Michael Ealy too.
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  #19  
Old 10-05-2007, 09:44 AM
gigi gigi is offline
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Originally Posted by Blake
African-Americans sometimes have light coloured eyes, as do some African Negroes. However it is rare for people without a majority of Caucasian heritage to have such eye colours. As the percentage of Caucasian ancestry increases it becomes more common.
Can you clarify "African-American" and "Negro". Does "Negro" mean a pure race and African-American possibly/probably mixed race?
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Old 10-05-2007, 10:35 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by Jodi
The best example that comes to mind of an African-American with beautiful green eyes is Gary Dourdan of CSI.

I guess that doesn't contribute to the factual answer, but I post the picture as a public service.
As a counterpoint, I'd like to mention that in watching CSI last night (with a nice bottle of Cabernet, btw ), they made it clear that his character was getting a divorce. A shame, since his on-screen wife was very, very, VERY hot. She only had a few cameos, but she left an impression.
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  #21  
Old 10-05-2007, 10:38 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by Blake
All major human genes are found in sub-Saharan African population. That includes all the major genes for eye colour. It is perfectly possible for people whose ancestors have all been Negroes for the last 100, 000 years to have blue eyes.
Having all the same genes is not the same as having all the same variations of those genes. Do you have a cite for that claim about eye color? I'm not saying I know you're wrong, but it sounds a little fishy to me. I'm not even sure we've identified all the genes that control eye color.
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Old 10-05-2007, 10:51 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace
Having all the same genes is not the same as having all the same variations of those genes. Do you have a cite for that claim about eye color? I'm not saying I know you're wrong, but it sounds a little fishy to me. I'm not even sure we've identified all the genes that control eye color.
Let me clarify this...

There are certain mutations that occurred in populations outside (sub-Sahara) Africa. That is indisputable. To the extent that those mutations occur in African populations today, that is because of gene flow back to Africa from those non-African populations.

It should also be noted that the (theoretically determined) Identical Ancestor Point tells us that every living person today is descended from the same set of common ancestor who lived ~15k years ago. This means that there is no one living today who can trace all of his or her ancestry to sub-Sahara Africa further than 15k years ago. Some people may have only the tiniest fraction of their DNA from non-African ancestors, but that is still more than zero. [Link to Wikipedia article. PDF link to American Journal of Physical Anthropology article.]

Last edited by John Mace; 10-05-2007 at 10:52 AM..
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  #23  
Old 10-05-2007, 12:11 PM
phouka phouka is offline
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Originally Posted by Blake
All major human genes are found in sub-Saharan African population. That includes all the major genes for eye colour. It is perfectly possible for people whose ancestors have all been Negroes for the last 100, 000 years to have blue eyes.

The idea that only people with western European heritage can have blue eyes is absolute nonsense.
Consider my ignorance fought.

I need some clarification though.

Start with the population of sub-Saharan homo sapiens from which we are all descended. Did the alleles associated with blue eyes arise in that population? Because my understanding is that of the gene pool that remains in sub-Saharan Africa, without mixing in genetic traits from younger, ex-African populations, light color eyes simply don't appear. (I make an exception, of course, for albinism, but that is a complete lack of melanin, as opposed to a moderation of it.)

If the alleles exist in the original sub-Saharan gene pool, then inevitably, wouldn't you see individuals who inherited the double recessives necessary for blue eyes? Yet - and I don't mean this facetiously - I have never seen a picture of a person of direct sub-Saharan African ancestry with light colored eyes unless they also had some manner of European ancestry as well.

Or, bluntly, where are the black Africans with blue eyes?

Spell it out for me, 'cause I want to understand.
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  #24  
Old 10-05-2007, 12:33 PM
even sven even sven is offline
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I can't think of anyone I know here with light eyes, though I'm sure some of the people from North African/Middle Eastern stock must have them sometimes.

I'd venture most African-Americans have some white mixed in. African American visitors here are often honestly mistaken for white, because they look that different (and Cameroon is a very diverse country, so it's not just because they look different than Cameroonians). I myself have been known to think "hey, theres a white guy" only to discover on closer inspection the man in question is black. And I think the main reason why African Americans (many of whom probably have ancestry here) is because most African Americans have some (or even many) white ancestors.
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Old 10-05-2007, 12:39 PM
you with the face you with the face is offline
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Originally Posted by Blake
Well monstro specifically said 10-15% of black people have light coloured eyes, usually hazel or green. IOW even if we include "light brown" or amber then he is still claiming that at least 5 - 8% have either hazel or green eyes. That is astonishingly high when only about 20% of the European population have hazel, green or blue eyes. Once again, how many people find it noteworthy to see a white person with hazel or green eyes? And how many find it noteworthy to see a black person with those eye colours?
Maybe it's astonishing to you, but it's not to me. If you were to pull together a random sample of 100 African Americans, I'd hardly find it astonishing if 10 of them had "light" eyes, with hazel and grayish-green eyes predominating.

Of course, what looks "dark" to a white person may look "light" to a black one. So maybe color subjectivity leads you think differently than I do. Even accounting for that, though, I think "rare" is an overstatement. Just off the top of my head I can think of several light-eyed black folks, including both celebrities and run of the mill folk.
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Old 10-05-2007, 12:47 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by even sven
I can't think of anyone I know here with light eyes, though I'm sure some of the people from North African/Middle Eastern stock must have them sometimes.

I'd venture most African-Americans have some white mixed in. African American visitors here are often honestly mistaken for white, because they look that different (and Cameroon is a very diverse country, so it's not just because they look different than Cameroonians). I myself have been known to think "hey, theres a white guy" only to discover on closer inspection the man in question is black. And I think the main reason why African Americans (many of whom probably have ancestry here) is because most African Americans have some (or even many) white ancestors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ywtf
Of course, what looks "dark" to a white person may look "light" to a black one. So maybe color subjectivity leads you think differently than I do. Even accounting for that, though, I think "rare" is an overstatement. Just off the top of my head I can think of several light-eyed black folks, including both celebrities and run of the mill folk.
This is an interesting point, and one that has often occurred to me as well. Take someone like Harold Ford Jr, and most White Americans would call him Black. Send him over to Africa, and it wouldn't surprise me if people there considered him White. It would seem that we notice most in others what we see that is different from ourselves, not so much what is similar.
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Old 10-05-2007, 01:20 PM
you with the face you with the face is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace
This is an interesting point, and one that has often occurred to me as well. Take someone like Harold Ford Jr, and most White Americans would call him Black.
I think if it wasn't for the fact that Ford was well known (and known to be a black politician), most whites would probably see him as a white man. When my father was younger he looked a lot like Ford does, and he frequently was assumed to be white by other whites. (He knows this because they would share racist jokes with him and say other disparaging things about black people.)

Quote:
It would seem that we notice most in others what we see that is different from ourselves, not so much what is similar.
I agree with this. Also, labels have power over our perceptions too.

Anecdote time: In middle school, my science teacher had the class stare at the person sitting next to us for 30 seconds and then write down a physical description of them. Then we were told to swap papers and read how we had been described. The guy sitting to me, a white guy, must have not been paying attention very well. Or he couldn't tell his colors apart. Or something. He looked at my eyes and called them black. He looked at my hair and called them black. Now hair is one of those weird things that can look dark in certain light, so I gave him a pass for that. But my eyes? Not black at all.

Often I think when some folks think of black people, they just assume everything about them is literally black, despite evidence to the contrary. Just like when people think of twins, they automatically assume they won't be able to tell them apart. Don't matter if the twins look completely different from one another. People will still find a way to get them confused.
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Old 10-05-2007, 01:50 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by you with the face
I think if it wasn't for the fact that Ford was well known (and known to be a black politician), most whites would probably see him as a white man. When my father was younger he looked a lot like Ford does, and he frequently was assumed to be white by other whites. (He knows this because they would share racist jokes with him and say other disparaging things about black people.)
Yeah, Harold Ford might not have been the best example, especially when he keeps his hair clipped short-- he looks pretty darn White. But I think my point is still valid, you just need to find the right person.
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  #29  
Old 10-05-2007, 02:13 PM
you with the face you with the face is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace
Yeah, Harold Ford might not have been the best example, especially when he keeps his hair clipped short-- he looks pretty darn White. But I think my point is still valid, you just need to find the right person.
monstro
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  #30  
Old 10-05-2007, 02:18 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by you with the face
monstro
She actually posted a link to a picture of herself* in a thread some time ago, and I agree.

*IIRC, it was a picture of her and several of the people she worked with.
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  #31  
Old 10-05-2007, 06:21 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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I think my disagreement with Blake stems from my use of "light". I'm equating "light" with "not dark brown". I don't know any black people with blue eyes, but I've known a lot with definitely "not dark brown" eyes. Sorry for the confusion.
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  #32  
Old 10-06-2007, 12:08 AM
SharkB8 SharkB8 is offline
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Anyone ever seen that movie the "Human Stain?"

I can't believe I didn't think of him first, but Wentworth Miller , from "Prison Break" considers himself black , with a black father and white mother.

He and his father, like I'm pretty sure, most of us black folks in the US, are mutts.
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  #33  
Old 10-06-2007, 03:55 AM
Zoe Zoe is offline
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I'm white and I think that I show evidence of being a mutt too.

My maternal grandfather's hair was auburn but very kinky -- not curly.

My mother had just a little bit of auburn in her hair and right in front of her ears, she had a little bit of kinky hair.

My hair is mostly dark with a tendency to curl and wave. But right in front of my ears it is kinky just like mother's and granddaddy's.

I don't even see hair this kinky on Afro Americans these days, but I used to. Does the gene for this kind of hair come only from Black-skinned people originally? May I claim to be bi-racial?
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  #34  
Old 10-06-2007, 05:08 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace
It should also be noted that the (theoretically determined) Identical Ancestor Point tells us that every living person today is descended from the same set of common ancestor who lived ~15k years ago. This means that there is no one living today who can trace all of his or her ancestry to sub-Sahara Africa further than 15k years ago. Some people may have only the tiniest fraction of their DNA from non-African ancestors, but that is still more than zero.
I don't see the logical connection between "Can't trace ancestry back more than 15K" to "must have non-zero fraction of non-African DNA", unless that IAP ancestor was necessarily not African. Please enlighten me.
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  #35  
Old 10-06-2007, 10:08 AM
monstro monstro is offline
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Originally Posted by Zoe
I'm white and I think that I show evidence of being a mutt too.

My maternal grandfather's hair was auburn but very kinky -- not curly.

My mother had just a little bit of auburn in her hair and right in front of her ears, she had a little bit of kinky hair.

My hair is mostly dark with a tendency to curl and wave. But right in front of my ears it is kinky just like mother's and granddaddy's.

I don't even see hair this kinky on Afro Americans these days, but I used to. Does the gene for this kind of hair come only from Black-skinned people originally? May I claim to be bi-racial?
Black people aren't the only ones with kinky hair. Pacific Islanders have this hair type. I've also met Middle Easterners (particularly Egyptians) who have especially curly hair.
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  #36  
Old 10-06-2007, 11:08 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by MrDibble
I don't see the logical connection between "Can't trace ancestry back more than 15K" to "must have non-zero fraction of non-African DNA", unless that IAP ancestor was necessarily not African. Please enlighten me.
At the time of the IAP (sometime around 15k years ago), all living humans were either the ancestors of everyone alive today or no one alive today. Let's call the first group A. Unless everyone in group A was living in sub-Sahara Africa at the time, then everyone alive today (including people in Africa) have non-African ancestors from that time period. The likelihood that all members of group A were African is extremely small.

If we go back farther, say to around 60k years ago, then all of our ancestors were probably still living in Africa. But not by 15k years ago. Some non-African genes (mutations that occurred in non-African populations) will have gotten back into African populations between then and now. We can't know exactly how much, but it's greater than zero. Note that we don't all share the same percentage of DNA from everyone in group A-- some of us have more from certain subgroups and less from others, while some of us have a different mixture from the various subgroups.
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  #37  
Old 10-06-2007, 05:40 PM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
At the time of the IAP (sometime around 15k years ago), all living humans were either the ancestors of everyone alive today or no one alive today. Let's call the first group A. Unless everyone in group A was living in sub-Sahara Africa at the time, then everyone alive today (including people in Africa) have non-African ancestors from that time period.
This is the bit I don't get - why exclude the possibility that some African person today has only African ancestors? I don't see what in the scenario precludes it.

I'm probably just being dense, but I still don't get it.
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  #38  
Old 10-06-2007, 07:41 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by MrDibble
This is the bit I don't get - why exclude the possibility that some African person today has only African ancestors? I don't see what in the scenario precludes it.

I'm probably just being dense, but I still don't get it.
Because everyone in group A is an ancestor of everyone alive today. It's not that we share some ancestors for that time, we share all of our ancestors.

You and I, and everyone else alive today, have the exact same set of ancestors at the IAP. We don't get the same % of our genes from the same people, but we all get some of our genes from every single person in group A.

If you look at the distribution of humans at 15k years ago, we were pretty much everywhere (except maybe the Americas). But we had been living in Europe and Asia since about 35 -40k years ago, and in Australia from maybe 50k years ago. It would be extremely odd if all the people in group A lived only in Africa at that time.

If I'm not explaining it well enough, read the PDF file I linked to earlier. It's not too technical.
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  #39  
Old 10-07-2007, 05:14 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace
Because everyone in group A is an ancestor of everyone alive today. It's not that we share some ancestors for that time, we share all of our ancestors.
That's made it perfectly clear - I get it now, thanks.
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  #40  
Old 10-07-2007, 09:04 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by MrDibble
That's made it perfectly clear - I get it now, thanks.
Even though I wrote "for that time" instead of "from that time"?

Last edited by John Mace; 10-07-2007 at 09:05 AM..
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  #41  
Old 10-07-2007, 09:26 AM
irishgirl irishgirl is offline
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I think describing Wentworth Miller as half black, half white is disingenous.
His "black" half includes Jamaican, German, Jewish, Cherokee, English and African-American ancestry, while his "white" half includes Dutch, French, Syrian and Lebanese ancestry. He's a beautiful example of extremely interracial relationships and is entitled to consider himself whatever the hell he wants, but "black" doesn't tell the full story.

Besides, how do you know some of these people aren't wearing contact lenses?
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  #42  
Old 10-07-2007, 11:52 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by SharkB8
Anyone ever seen that movie the "Human Stain?"

I can't believe I didn't think of him first, but Wentworth Miller , from "Prison Break" considers himself black , with a black father and white mother.
Quote:
Originally Posted by irishgirl
I think describing Wentworth Miller as half black, half white is disingenous.
His "black" half includes Jamaican, German, Jewish, Cherokee, English and African-American ancestry, while his "white" half includes Dutch, French, Syrian and Lebanese ancestry. He's a beautiful example of extremely interracial relationships and is entitled to consider himself whatever the hell he wants, but "black" doesn't tell the full story.

Besides, how do you know some of these people aren't wearing contact lenses?
Especially since that wikipedia link does not say the he considers himself to be Black.

Quote:
Miller's father "is African-American, Jamaican, English, German" and part Cherokee and Jewish; his mother is Russian, French, Dutch, Syrian, and Lebanese. In an interview, Miller said: "My father is black and my mother is white. Therefore, I could answer to either which kind of makes me a racial Lone Ranger, at times, caught between two communities."
But keep in mind that "race" is a social construct, and as such, it will defy scientific analysis. If society says you are Black, then you are Black. Doesn't matter how many or how few African ancestors you have. I think in the case of Miller, society will say he is White unless he makes a concerted effort to self-identify as Black. That might not have been true 50 years ago (when the one-drop rule was commonly used to classify people), but it is today*.

Whenever we try to apply scientific analysis to the concept of race to humans today, we end up throwing up our hands and giving up. It can't be done, scientifically.

*I'm generalizing, of course, as some people today probably still use the one-drop rule. However, I don't think most of us think that way anymore.

Last edited by John Mace; 10-07-2007 at 11:53 AM..
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  #43  
Old 10-07-2007, 05:38 PM
SharkB8 SharkB8 is offline
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Originally Posted by irishgirl
I think describing Wentworth Miller as half black, half white is disingenous.
His "black" half includes Jamaican, German, Jewish, Cherokee, English and African-American ancestry, while his "white" half includes Dutch, French, Syrian and Lebanese ancestry. He's a beautiful example of extremely interracial relationships and is entitled to consider himself whatever the hell he wants, but "black" doesn't tell the full story.

Besides, how do you know some of these people aren't wearing contact lenses?
I concur...I was just saying how he described himself.
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  #44  
Old 10-07-2007, 05:51 PM
SharkB8 SharkB8 is offline
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Or let me clarify...

There was a quote of his I read about 3 years ago where he refered to himself as a black guy. And said his father considered himself black as well. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm Cherokee, Lakota Sioux, Scottish, French and Black. But you look at me and say black. I say black, not multi-racial...mostly because I'm too lazy to explain. I'll search around and see if I can find that quote.

Oh, and I don't know about anyone else, but you can TOTALLY tell when black people are wearing colored contacts. Sometimes you can even see the pixels. It's not at all impossible for them to have light eyes. And like I also mentioned, my brother's 2 year old is definately not wearing blue contacts.

And Mr. Mace, my family and friends totally still go by the one drop rule. People are more and more mixed now, though, that usually that one drop is in the presence of othernon-white drops, so that rule may become obsolete.

Last edited by SharkB8; 10-07-2007 at 05:54 PM..
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  #45  
Old 10-08-2007, 12:45 AM
Nzinga, Seated Nzinga, Seated is offline
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I know a lot of black people with 'light' eyes. Light by anyone's standards. I won't try to guess the percentage of blacks with light eyes, but, my oldest sister has light grean eyes. My mom is definitely black by any definition, and so is my sister's dad. My sister's daughter has blue eyes. Well they are usually bright blue, and sometimes they seem blue on the edges and yellow in the center! And she has two black parents. That is two people in my close family, alone. It is really not that uncommon.

I think that it is maybe like you with the face said...people who are not black are more likely not to notice the subtle differences in the eye color of black people. Or something like that.

Last edited by Nzinga, Seated; 10-08-2007 at 12:45 AM..
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