Kris Manley is a blogger, author, and speaker. She's a guest on radio in the U.S., Canada, and overseas, as well as a guest on network TV.
Black People with Blue, Green, Grey or Hazel Eyes - Really?
We, as a society, are so used to seeing black people with black or brown hair and with brown eyes, but when we see a black person with different color eyes and different color hair we see colored contacts and hair coloring. Nine out of ten times we would be correct in assuming just that, but there are black people who are out of the “norm” with naturally occurring blue, green, or hazel eye color and naturally occurring blonde or red hair color and have freckles. I know first hand because my Mom’s brother was born with blonde hair and blue eyes and their parents were black people with brown hair and brown eyes. Pictures of him are quite surprising. My mom said she and her sister were shocked, but not more shocked than their Dad, who swore the kid was not his, but the doctor said he was. Ever heard of Mama’s baby, Daddy’s maybe? As time passed my uncle’s eyes and hair changed to brown – WHEW! What a relief my Mom and her sister thought, and their Dad, my Grandfather, calmed down.
Genetics is a crazy thing and can reach way back in a bloodline and pull some tricks out of the proverbial hat. As our society moves on and interracial mingling continues, and it will continue, we will see more and more “different” individuals coming out of the woodwork which should not surprise us nor should we be offended. The world is a huge melting pot and there’s bound to be various “vegetables” in the soup mix.
What Does the Research Say?
Research has suggested that there is some mutation in genes that causes black people to have blue, green or hazel eyes and blonde or red hair. This so-called mutation is seen mostly among pure Africans, and these Africans have no Caucasian ancestry. A black person does not have to be mulatto or light-skinned to have blue or green eyes, blonde or red hair or freckles. The black race is quite varied in skin color, hair texture, and eye color as with any other race of people. I wonder if this same mutation is seen in other races? This question will be answered in the video attached to this Hub – please watch, it will surprise you.
As mentioned above, there are black Africans with characteristics not mostly seen by the average person that have blue, green, grey or hazel eyes along with red or blonde hair. Individuals, especially, in the U.S., are not used to seeing dark-skinned people with these characteristics. We are used to seeing light-skinned people with these characteristics and of course the obvious is to assume that the light-skinned people have Caucasian ancestors or immediate family members. An African-American dark-skinned friend of mine married a Caucasian man and they had three children, and one of the children was born with kinky red hair. That did not take them by surprise. It is surprising to see a black dark-skinned individual without the traditional brown eyes, brown or black hair.
Melanesians - Blondes of the "Black Islands"
Let’s take a look at a group of people who live in Melanesia, pronounced [mel- uh -nee-zhuh ,-shuh ], and of course they are called Melanesians, who live within a group of islands off the Pacific Ocean. Other Pacific islands include Micronesia, Polynesia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Louisiade, pronounced [Lo-e-zi-odd], Solomon, Santa Cruz, and Loyalty Islands. The word Melanesia is taken from the Greek – melas meaning black or dark and nēsos meaning islands. References to the dark skins of the inhabitants of the islands. Melanesians are referred to as the blondes of the ‘black islands’ or naturally blonde blacks. Melanesians have frizzy hair and are dark-skinned. “Papuans,” are what they are referred to which comes from the Malay word papua which means “frizzy haired.” These frizzy haired people have characteristics that are not common to most dark-skinned people. You will see that some Melanesians have blonde hair and grey or green eyes. If we were to see these people on a daily basis we would think nothing of it, but that is not the case. Our minds can be so limited to just what we see in our own little world, but when we see things that are not usually in our own little world we think it odd or strange and want to reject what we see, when actually those “odd or strange” things have been there all the time. It’s like Caucasians visiting a distant land where they are not normally seen, and native people gather to touch their skin because the shade of it is different. Some of you reading this Hub may have experienced this if you frequently travel overseas. You are sort of a “celebrity” because of your skin shade, eye, and hair color and even your hair texture.
Other Races with Blonde or Red Hair, Blue, Green, or Grey Eyes
There are other races of people that we may think should have a certain skin color, hair or eye color. Asians should have jet black hair and brown eyes, East Indians should have long brown hair and brown eyes, Middle Easterners should have black hair and brown eyes, Caucasians should have all the eye colors and hair colors, oh, and don’t forget the freckles, but this is not true at all. Again, this is what we mainly see in our own little world.
Black people live all over the world and because of that they are not all going to look the same because of their migrating to other continents and intermingling with other races and/or simply genetics playing a part in a unique characteristic.
African-American Husband, Wife, and Sons. Yes, She Gave Birth to Both Boys.
Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on January 16, 2019:
Hello Xxtra, thank you for reading and sharing. Yes! Genetics does through in some surprises. My family is quite diverse as well.
Xxtra on January 16, 2019:
Donna this is a great article. I was trying to figure out something I recently turned 45 y/o I’m Afro American so are my parents, grrand parents Ect ect ..... I’ve always had brown eyes and hair recently my eye coloring has started to change to grey I went to the Ophthalmologist he told me nothing is wrong just genetics wow right. I’ve never heard of healthy eyes changing color as an adult ! All in all great article super information thank you.
C. Parks on October 07, 2018:
After reading your article I don't feel so alienated about my "aqua" blue eyes. They tend to change depending on how I feel. Some days they are more gray others they are blue. But being a black person with light eyes that are characterized at Caucasian traits tend to get me more attention than I would like. I wore brown contacts for over 20 years to fit in. So thanks for posting this.
Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on September 24, 2017:
Hello J. Craig, thanks for reading and commenting; you've provided some good information.
J. Craig on September 24, 2017:
My grandmother (Black U.S., Citizen) has blue eyes. I'm mixed, and have a pale complexion, and had blonde hair when I was younger. My skin colour paled over the years, and my hair is brown now. With that said, Caucasians came from Blacks thousands of years ago, and it still happens to this day. There are (black) families that give birth to blond hair, blue eyed children.
Dark melanin people are the original race, and due to climate structure, mutation et-al, it happens that Caucasians are born into Black families. Thousands of years ago, Caucasians were ostracized from their homes, or use your imagination as to what could have happened if you had a different skin coloured baby in an entire community with only one colour. These children were ostracized, and over the years migrated to other parts of the world, Asia, India, Europe, etc.
In lieu of environmental changes (such as ice ages), many regions of the world were impossible to travel to. Skip ahead to present times, it is now assumed that because, of the Euro-centric civilization we live in, that anyone with blond, and/ or blue eyes has a Caucasian ancestor in their family tree. This may be the case in some families; however, everyone came from dark melanin people. This can be proven through DNA traces.
Latoya Griffin on September 07, 2017:
I was born the oldiest of 6 born. With light hazel eyes no one else has in my family. I am african american
Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on May 12, 2017:
Hi Ronnie, thanks for reading, and yes with all the things going on in America, I am blessed to live in this moment in history.
Ronnie on May 11, 2017:
I would have to agree with the AUTHOR genetics is a strange thing. In America people can be haunted by this FACT when the truth is no haunting should ever be. It's entirely to painful a thing that which shallow Americans (from which ever heritage they spring from) Cause this to develop into. My guess would be you are blessed to be alive at such a moment in history and to live in AMERICA another blessing.
Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on February 12, 2017:
Thanks for reading and posting. It's amazing how people are so intertwined.
Barbara on February 11, 2017:
It has been said by scientists that everyone on this planet began in Africa. That we all began from 1 common Mother. That being said, we have spent thousands of years isolating peoples so that certain genetic commonalities show up. These commonalities are like the look and skin color of an Asian, or Celts having pale skin and freckles. So, we all have genes from each parent, you don't know what you got many times because of recessive genes! My parents both had brown eyes. They had 5 girls, 2 with brown eyes and 3 with green. I think 3 of my grandparents had brown eyes!
One sister of mine was born with a negative blood type. Both my parents had positive blood types, and were told that was grounds for divorce!
Carol Baldwin on October 17, 2016:
Great article. Thanks!
Kg on August 14, 2015:
All I can God is the creator wow!
Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on January 23, 2015:
Please be reminded that years ago during my Grandparents era, this information was not general knowledge, and for a child to be born any different from his or her parents was questioned. Thank you for your comments.
dot. dot. dot. on January 22, 2015:
Although this post is very informative and interesting. There was one part that really stuck out to me. Why was it a relief that your uncle's eyes and hair turned brown instead of staying blue and blonde. Why was that not a great unique part of him to be cherished instead of questioned. I don't understand that at all. Regardless of if he looked "normal" or not shouldn't they have excepted him the way he was born instead of hoping he'll look like everyone else eventually?
Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on March 11, 2012:
Hi jainismus, thanks. Different color eyes and other attributes are in every race of people. Thanks for reading.
Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on March 11, 2012:
Thank you for sharing this great information. Here in India also there are some black people with hazel eyes.
Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on March 11, 2012:
Hi prairieprincess, when I was researching to write this Hub I was surprised about some findings - I'll have to check the band of First Nations people in Ontario, Canada. Thanks for reading. Cheers!
Sharilee Swaity from Canada on March 11, 2012:
Wow, this is very interesting! I probably would assumed a Caucasian ancestor,too, as you mentioned in the article. This reminds me that there is a band of First Nations people in Ontario, Canada, that are blonde with blue eyes, and they always have been. Thank you for the education and it's nice to see an actual Hubpages video. It looks great!
Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on March 08, 2012:
Hi maxoxam41, I agree that it is rarer to see an African with blue eyes and less probable to attach an explanation to the reason why.
Deforest from USA on March 08, 2012:
There's nothing extraordinary in finding blue-eyed African-American, the mix of races is the cause however, it is rarer to see an African with blue eyes and less probable to attach an explanation to the phenomenon!
Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on March 08, 2012:
Hi gmwilliams, thank you.
Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on March 07, 2012:
Excellent hub which should be required reading regarding genetics for all. You did a great job with the presentation which included visuals. There are many people who do not have the concept of recessive genes in the non-Caucasoid races.
Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on March 07, 2012:
Hi cclitgirl, yes, it is about genetics in every race of people. Thanks
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on March 07, 2012:
What a beautiful baby in that first picture and I LOVE the blue eyes! Informative hub - it's all about genetics, no matter how you look at it. :) Great information presented here!