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Myth Busters: Accepting Blood from ‘White’ Donors…

There is a huge misconception about this blood thing and since we get blood often, it’s important for us to sort out the truth from fallacy.

MYTH: Black people should accept blood transfusions only from other Africans/African-Americans because of the increased risk of adverse reaction from blood of other races…after all, with bone marrow transplants (which makes the blood), you do need a perfect racial match, so therefore blood needs a perfect racial match as well.

Bone marrow and blood are not the same thing in fact, as you know, they are completely different. Bone marrow matching is based on HLA antigens. A bone marrow transplant is like an organ transplant. These are more complicated to test for and more complicated to find donors for because HLA antigens are gotten from DNA. Genetically, my HLA type would not be the same as a white person, because it’s kinda like DNA. My bone marrow wouldn’t even match another random person with dark skin: but could only match a sibling,  offspring…or maybe someone from my village. This is why it’s so difficult and people are on the list for YEARS and can’t find donors, especially interracial patients.

Regular blood matching is usually a broader type of matching. There are only 4 possibilities, your blood type is either A, B, O or AB.

The only possible thing that distinguishes your blood from someone else in your blood type are proteins called antigens or antibodies.
 There are so many antigens and antibodies. It is different from PERSON to PERSON, irrespective of race. However, there are certain antigens that are specific to black people, Jewish people, Latin American people, or white people. There are different antigens specific to all people born in North America, that might not be in people born in Australia.

For example; the Dossy antigen is ABSENT in Africans living in Africa; but PRESENT in Blacks living in the USA. White people have the presence of Dossy A or Dossy B. With black people originating predominantly in tropical areas, the malaria parasite attacks the Dossy Antigen, so Africans born and living in Africa genetically developed the immune response of getting rid of the Dossy Antigen. Dossy is a clinically significant antigen because if you give the blood of a white person to a black person, they will get Dossy A or Dossy B. As a result, African Americans mostly have Dossy in their bloodstream whereas straight Africans do not.  I live in Oregon, and it’s predominantly a white population, so I’ve gotten tons of ‘white’ blood. This means that although I’m straight African, I also do have Dossy A and Dossy B antigens because I’ve gotten so many blood transfusions.

If you get a transfusion and you are given an antigen that you do not have, your immune system will create antibodies to take out the foreign antigens or absorb them into your system. This makes your blood type more and more unique and a great collection of antibodies and antigens. As a result, those that get chronic blood transfusions have several antigens and antibodies that can make it difficult to get a ‘standard’ match.

The point is this: On the blood in the laboratory, they don’t write,” this is White blood” or this is “Black blood”. Blood is blood, it is a rare, beautiful commodity that should be graciously accepted from the wonderful donors who decided to let a random person stick a big needle into them every couple of months to give the gift of life to us. Blood is treated the same, and processed the same: the Red Cross doesn’t look to see whether the person is Black or White. The only reason it is taking so long to match your blood is as a result of having gotten multiple blood transfusions, your body has developed multiple antigens and antibodies.

In the blood bank, there is no racial consideration, the choice is based strictly and solely on your blood type. So settle down, relax and breathe easy. Getting ‘white’ blood is not going to kill you but only make you stronger.


About Author

Sickle Cell Warrior

Sickle Cell Warrior

Tosin is dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sickle cell. Although sickle cell is a subject often taboo in the communities this condition is most prevalent, Tosin's message is that sickle cell is not something to be ashamed of and you can live a rich and fulfilling life with sickle cell. Sickle cell warriors are the most amazing people in the world, with a great fortitude for compassion, willpower and strength.

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  1. Belly
    Belly May 01, 02:41

    I am A +. White blood but I am brown.

  2. smthgabouther9
    smthgabouther9 September 23, 12:03

    This article is lying. White “people”‘ are NOT human. They are from ANOTHER WORLD. That’s why they are incompatible with earth’s sun. Most blood donations come from white people ….therefore most donated blood is white blood and most people receiving blood transfusions are getting white alien blood from a species who are NOT originally from earth. What does this mean? It means when a non-White person, especially Blacks and Latinos, receives a blood transfusion, they automatically ARE getting blood that’s incompatible with their own. The immune system’s job us to attack foreign substances that can pose a threat. The immune system, sensing something there that doesn’t belong there, goes into attack mode, bringing on the onset if all types of autoimmune diseases including lupus which I have from a blood transfusion that I have received in my early 20’s. This us real people. Stop letting whites tell You lies. They are making us sick and killing us without us even being aware of what’s going on. That’s why Blacks and Latinos the the majority of people suffering with autoimmune diseases. Please, don’t not have sex with the white race either, especially the Black woman/White man combination. Stay safe!!!

  3. chrissy
    chrissy August 26, 09:19

    my older brother had a friend who I consider my brother to the day he is black. back like 14 years ago he was diagnosed with sickle cell and I’m O- n white he needed a bone marrow and no one showed up we went on all out news channels asking people to get tested to help him and no one would and I was told i couldn’t even be test cause I was white. why would they not even try? he died at 26 years old n had kids

  4. Jennifer
    Jennifer December 05, 05:36

    I’m WHITE and have been told I am high in red blood cells for sickle cell…. Some of these comments are racist and as ignorant as the person who wrote them…. I received a black man’s blood via transfusion…. I am grateful to this man for saving my life….. If you need the blood take it! It’s better to be alive and grateful then keep blaming people for something no one person has fault in!

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