African American Genetics

Is it possible for African Americans to have (natural) hair and eyes that aren’t dark? For example, are there any African Americans with blonde hair and/or blue eyes?

By the way, I’m not talking about black albinos here. I know that happens.


Yes. To elaborate on Lamia’s reply: Why not?

Re hair just look at the comic “Sinbad”. It’s quite reddish.

Re eyes the disk jockey Donnie Simpson has very light eyes.

Alias, you have to get out more often.

Here is a very recent thread that deals with genes and race. All is explained here.

Come to New Orleans, or anywhere in southern Louisiana. You will see many differnet types of black people. As a matter of fact, I work with 2 blue eyed black persons.

Do *African[/] Africans have blue eyes? Or are blue eyes in African Americans the result of Euopean genes mixed in? What percentage of African Americans are of entirely African descent?

elucidator, please read the link I provided. Collounsbury is very weary. Gaspode and edwino(sp?) need a break too.

The short of it:

There are a lot of people calling themselves African-American, and some of those people have blue eyes, and some of them have blonde hair.

The continent of Africa is vast, with people of great variety. There has been intermingling of these people throughout human history. Therefore, drawing a line around the geographical mass of Africa and asking if anyone in the continent can have blue eyes and blonde hair is ridiculous. Of course they can. To add, there are no genetic criteria which can separate out most of these populations.

If you want to learn more, please check the other threads dealing with this. I would ordinarily respond in full, because I don’t like “go check the thread” posts, but honestly, this is really a dead horse that doesn’t need further whipping. Just enter “race” and “genetics” into the search engine and it will bring up at least 2 in the past 5 days.

I think what the OP was really getting at wasn’t “have you ever seen a black guy with light-colored hair”, but rather “are light-colored hair and eyes possible (or even common) in those of strictly African lineage?”. Yes, this question seems poised to fall into a “What does it mean to be ‘black’?” debate, but there is at least some semblance of an answerable question. I dunno, anyone have any genetic basis for an answer?


The answer to your q. is yes, blue eyes, light hair do occur in Africa. Rare but there. Since, to my understanding blue eyes and blondish hair are both recessive --although to be frank I don’t recall details-- they will be rare in most populations(*). There is no such thing as “strictly African lingeage” in a meaningful genetic sense. Please do read over the linked matierals in the other threads.

(*: It occurs to me that the subject of recessive traits and ranges of expression have just been discussed in the past two or three days on the board. Since its beddy bye time for me, I simply advise a search on recessive and allele. That should turn up a relevant discussion in either GD or GQ, forget which.)

The globally-rare recessive allele that causes blue eye color reaches its highest frequency in northern Europe. There are many places on Earth where it is of sufficiently low frequency that homozygotes (with two copies of the gene needed for expression of the blue-eyed phenotype) would be very rare. These places may include parts of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. But the occurence of this phenotype has to be discussed in terms of probabilities based on local allele frequencies, not possibility/impossibility.

Hair color is based on multiple alleles, not just a few, as in eye-color. But the same principles apply.

Oh, and BTW, I would like to thank Collounsbury, edwino, tomndebb, Gaspode, and some others for their yeoman (and seemingly tireless) efforts on this and similar topics in many other threads. Alias and occ, you really should read some of those recent threads and then come back if you have additional questions.