Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Acting White: Why NFL Running Backs Marry Blondes

I don’t know how many black NFL players/professional soccer players are also married to white women, but the title of this post speaks to the perception and greater probability of this happening with world-class black male athletes. But why? Is it because these exceptional men are self-haters? I think not. Could there be something about these woman that draws these men to them, and vice-versa? Perhaps, but it is likely not their skin color, per se.

On all the planet, a few things are sure when it comes to human differentiation. The fastest and most agile men come from West African ancestry, and their skin is black. And the most varied women come from European ancestry, and they are white. The hair of these women is near-black with eyes that are brown, dominant traits in humans, but that same hair is also brown, red, and blond, with skin tones to match. Beyond their standard brown eyes we find blue, hazel, or green. Objectively, this makes them the most attractive women on the planet, by virtue of 16 possible hair/eye color combinations versus one for everyone else. This is perhaps the most startling, but not the only, example of a species employing color as a competitive aid to sexual selection.

So while women are instinctively attracted to men with superior physiques capable of running at lightning speed, over and through competitors, these men, influenced by instinct as well, are attracted to variation that flourished many thousands of years ago in Europe, when the “operational sex ratio” (OSR) of males to females was such that competition for limited mates helped hair/eye color variation to literally explode into humanity. The ‘fever’ of interracial attraction has origins in how all men and women have been attracting each other since the beginning, and not just since it was forbidden by laws, in recent times, across skin-color lines.

To keep this in perspective, interracial dating and marriage, while on the rise, still makes up a pittance against the norm. In general, people confine themselves to mates who look like themselves. Society reinforces this, as is evidenced by the complaining blog comments I see from all sides. However, if you are either the fastest man, or the most attractive woman, who then makes the rules for who can be your mate? The slow? The plain? The status quo? No one is saying that speed/agility exist only in West African ancestry, or that beauty does not live well beyond the women of Europe, but there is a lot to learn from the evolutionary science of attraction, if we can put our predispositions aside for a moment.

James C. Collier


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Shay Riley said...

Actually, 93% of human genetic diversity resides on the African continent, so what's with this claim that white women (European-dominated ancestry) have the greatest diversity?

The athletes in question are mainly self-haters who view white trophy wives as proof that they've "arrived". Let's not try to pretty it up.

James C. Collier said...

Shay, the post is about how eye and hair color diversity came about, including making its way into black gene pools, relative to attractivenenss and sexual selection. 'Trophiness' is a component of all sexual selection, male and female of every type, from ancient times till now.

Kmoney said...

not all black women have dark hair and dark eyes; taking into consideration that there is a great deal of diversity amongst black women....if the answer to the question isn't "because they Caucasian," then what is it?

James C. Collier said...

Boca Flaca, indeed there is hair/eye diversity within blacks, but non-brown eyes in people of African ancestry arrive via admixture with European ancestry or mutation (within blacks) of the eye color gene OCA2. Color expression in blacks is rare, and impossible to pass on w/o mating with someone also carrying the mutation, regardless of their skin color. Note that OCA2 mutations do not survive l-t tropical sun intensity, including the whole of Africa.

chemist said...

Pale skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes developed in the northern parts of Europe, where people need all the sunshine vitamin D they can get.
People want what is scarce. If the streets were paved with gold, gold would have no more value and attraction than sand.
20 % of the world’s population has blue eyes. Blue-eyed natural blondes are 1.8-2.0 % of the world’s population. I seriously doubt many of those running back’s blondes are natural.
The Italian Renaissance painters painted all those blue-eyed blonde Madonnas because blue-eyed blondes were so rare in their world. Italian men are still hung up on blondes. I knew the “Growing Up Gotti” author would have long bottled blonde hair before I ever saw her picture.
Since bottled blondes are now as common as sand, their attraction will fall off once men notice that everyone has a blonde on his arm.

ronnie brown said...

why is it so hard to acknowledge that in the pecking order of desirability...white people represent a "step up", an increase in status...we are what we eat. white is honored, non-white is dismissed.

James C. Collier said...

One interesting note is that hair and eye color variability in white men does not make them more attractive to anyone. Tall, dark (hair and eyes) and handsome still rules. As for what we 'eat', men (white and black) are no different in liking long hair, and colorful eyes (if they can get it). The sisters just need to know that healthy long locks/braids will grab the black men more than they know, if they want to put away the relaxer and hot combs. And temporary colored contacts are way better than silicone implants, that are nothing more than auto-immune time bombs.

Dan said...

Aren't redheads rarer than blondes? Why aren't redheads getting all the attention instead?

James C. Collier said...

Dan, that's the thing with sexual selection - availability rises to meet demand. Redhds are rare because they had/have lesser appeal to white men of N.Euro/Scandia. I think blondes have the advantage because the sun works as a natural enhancer to the hair, where it fades the red. Reds tend to have freckles (as well) that get bigger in the sun, too. Personally, I think redheads are just as happening. But remember, I ain't no running back, so this is just a thought.

Unknown said...

There are multiple reasons I disagree with you. As several people mentioned previously, your argument has little congruity with much of the research I've seen on the human biology of attraction. America studies (and these might have been replicated in other countries-I'm not sure) have continuously shown that men prefer brown hair regardless of the other diverse hair color options available. Blond is usually 2nd-3rd on the list with red hair often being last. So it would seem from these studies that brown hair, not the variety of different colors blond, red, etc connote attractive. Sure variety provides a lot of options but if you want only one of those options more than the other, the variety itself a moot point. This "innate" preference for blondness/"variety" that you describe appears more than anything to be a reaction to socialization through media. Despite the fact that men prefer brunettes, the often media portrays blonds as more attractive. But even despite the overwhelming social pressure, men still prefer brown hair. Brown seems to have a strong pull and this pull have historical precedence as there are many tales through even European history about brown hair as more beautiful. Yes blonds, redheads etc were also seen as beautiful but the most beautiful women were raven or brown haired.
As a side note there is also an emerging trend of more men marrying (and increased media representation of the attractiveness of) Asian women, who predominately have dark hair and dark eyes as opposed to blond. And markedly increased rates of intermarriage for black women (predominately darker hair & eyes) and non-black men also despite the lack of diverse hair & eye colors available in these populations. Beauty itself is a social construct, which is why we often dont find historical examples of beautiful people all that attractive when viewing them through our modern perspectives about beauty.

In addition rarity or diversity of a physical trait can not in and of itself be a marker of attractiveness, certainly not just hair or eye color, as these are just 2 traits in a host of characteristics humans tend to examine when considering beauty. More important characteristics include facial symmetry and proportion, body shape, height, skin softness/texture/evenness, hair health, vocal quality and tenor etc. And if you want to argue that diversity is the key to attractiveness, populations from Africa, being the genesis of all human populations, have much more diverse arrangements of the above characteristics.

Also there are native African people who have varied eye color and hair color without the interjection of European genes. They are naturally occurring mutations in black populations much like they are in European ones. However these characteristics aren't necessarily prized in those African populations and there is no selection advantage for them, either environmentally or in terms of mate selection-whereas the opposite may have been true in European populations-or alternatively there may have been a founders effect/evolutionary bottleneck in early European populations.

I think the real relationship between black NFL athletes and blonds has more to do with how they have been socialized by environmental ques rather than the innate attractiveness of varied hair/eye color. Because often those women may lack other traits ascribed as attractive & may not be using the real hair/eye color that works appropriately for their features.

Anonymous said...

Hi James

In the context of your title, "Blondes" does not have an apostrophe!!! Ugh...why do I have to point this out to someone who appears to be a fairly good writer?

Anonymous said...

interesting comments. although i agree a little bit with b. i think we are socialized to be attracted to who we are attracted to. some people want different, some people want same, some people think the Other represents something different, and some simply have a fetish. it might have to do with what a certain feature symbolizes or represents. but i appreciate this blog, it is awesome

Anonymous said...

yep jcc is lookin for somethin thats not there

Anonymous said...

1. Black women who insist on using expressions like he's only dating white women bc they're easy just sound bitter.

2. I think the attractiveness of blondes is a combination of biology AND social pressure.

Social pressure is also why 6 ft talll, androgynous women are upheld as the standard of feminine beauty.

Hemlines and Haute Spots said...

I know I'm a little late on the topic but I recently proposed this topic to an African Brotha from Kenya. He politely told my friend and I-I AM MY MOTHER'S SON. PERIOD. Meaning he can only IDENTIFY WITH WHERE HE CAME FROM-A BLACK WOMAN. Enough said.
*Miz B

Anonymous said...

I realize this article has been online for almost a year ... but it's not too late to remove the apostrophe from "Blonde's" in the title. As used in the title, "blondes" is a plural, not a possessive or a contraction, and therefore it should not contain an apostrophe.

Your prompt attention to this apostrophe catastrophe will make many punctuation freaks very happy.

Thanks. :-) said...


Your thoughts are very interesting, but the conclusion you draw from a faulty premise makes it completely wrong.

Variation in human traits, even the very obvious ones are not hair and eyes. AND if we are supposed to go back in history, men chose women who would carry their seed - that is what evolution dictates. That the most attractive of the species is the one that would be able to carry out reproduction. Therefore, large hips, big breasts, strong pheromones.

Your original statement - black men go for white women because they are more varied - is wrong.

Your other statement - white women are more varied because of their hair and eyes - is wrong. (I came here from your article on Booker rising, gotta back up your statement with scientific figures in order to be believable).

Women are varied. There are no two who look alike or whose bodies can be compared. Men need to stop trying to figure out why they are attracted to one group and not another and why they find so-and-so attractive and not so-and-so. It's okay to fall in love with a woman because you like who she is and not have to come up with a reason why you prefer her race (whatever it might be) to another. You like HER.

It's okay.

You may need to rethink this article. It is inflammatory and brings in the guests and the clicks but ultimately you are peddling the same conclusions you deride Satoshi Kanazawa for.

Anonymous said...

FACT: The majority of black athletes still marry black women. People just love to focus on the ones that don't. FACT: Black women are just as varied. In skin pigmentation and hair texture as white women are in hair and eye color. Also, there are black women who have light eyes and hair as well.