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Anthropology/Body Hair & Black People


Dear Ralph,

My question is an interesting one. In the Fall 2013 season of the show "Biggest Loser" former "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard was a guest. One of the jokes that circulated around the internet had to do with his plentiful body hair all over his back. I noticed that here in the USA many domestic/ancestral born Black Americans also have body hair all over their arms etc. (Including darker skinned Black American people). Yet, any good encyclopedia would say Africans and Asians have the least amount of body hair in the world. I have seen this to be valid with immigrant African men in the USA during the Summer months when their arms are more visible. So, Why do American born Blacks have more body hair on their arms, and other places? Thanks and I will await your reply.


Hi William,

All humans have hair,  some more that others.  Hair is an adaptive feature.  In some environments it has "value" in others it does not.  It may also have some cultural advantages.   Caucasian or Black, Asian or something else, makes little difference in terms of how hairy a person may be genetically speaking.


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Ralph Salier


Business Anthropologist. Business negotiations in multiple cultures and working with multiple cultures in the business arena. Broad understanding of business practices and business "ethics" in different parts of the world.


25+ years in international procurement and negotiations.


MA Anthropology, Proximics

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