This is part six in a ten part series on melanin myths. This myth addresses the so-called “melanin theory.”
“White melanin Theory.” That is how the idea of a “melanin theory” first was identified. In the 1915 article “A Contribution to our Knowledge of the Chemistry of Coat-Colour in Animals and of Dominant and Recessive Whiteness” H. Onslow sets out to address the “cause of dominant whiteness.” Along the way we learn someone by the name of Spiegler had attempted to devise a means by which “dominant white” in animal coats could be isolated. Yes, someone actually tried to convince people there was such a thing (it was actually a greyish brown.) R.A. Gortner determined that it was, in fact, a by product of keratin decomposition. That is part of the earliest ideas of a melanin theory, “White Melanin Theory.”
Modern ideas of a “Melanin theory” began with Chemist James Woodford of Atlanta. In 1986 Woodford submitted an affidavit in a Cleveland Ohio court case. Black and Hispanic cadets who tested positive for THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in Marijuana. Woodford maintained that melanin in the urine of the cadets was responsible for a false positive result.
For the most part, melanin theory is probably one of the most biased articles on Wikipedia, in our opinion. If you read the article, it tries its best to present the notion that what they call melanin theory is “pseudoscientific Afrocentricity.” It makes no mention of James Woodford at all.
Google scholar only shows 58 results for “melanin theory.” According to Wikipedia notable proponents of melanin theory are Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, and Dr. Naim Akbar yet in google scholar there are no articles in the results for “melanin theory” by ANY Afrocentrists.
The only reference to even mention a “melanin theory” in the wikipedia article is Bernardo Ortiz de Montellano’s “Melanin, afrocentricity, and pseudoscience.” The one time he mentions that phrase is in reference to Frank K. Barr.
Remarkably, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing’s theory is constantly referred to as a “melanin theory” when in fact she herself described it as a “Theory of Color Confrontation or Color Confrontation Theory.”