A warm hello to all of my readers!
Firstly, I would like to thank you all for the spike in my following. I appreciate you all so much, and I love seeing that people read and enjoy my content. I hope you have all had a great August so far.
As some of you know, school has been keeping me endlessly busy, especially my latest art final (my theme is “Reflections”) which I will be posting an article on sometime next week. I know I always promise to post articles and they show up a few months later than anticipated but hey, I’m just trying to survive high school. I do promise to try my best this month since it’s women’s month and I’m feeling like such a powerful boss babe because my horoscope told me to.
But, let’s not waste any more time. The idea for this post actually came to me whilst scrutinising the colour names of my acrylic paint. This is a huge step out of my comfort zone because I tend not to dive into such serious topics on HFC, but I felt it necessary to share this with all of you.
A year or so back, I was sitting in an art class with some lovely humans and one of my friends, Hannah, was going on about the way the colour “flesh” is an incorrect colour reference because, and I quote, “Real human flesh is pink.” The colours that are labelled as “flesh” are usually very light apricot/Caucasian skin colours and in fact, look nothing like the intense pink colour of human flesh. I remember laughing at the time and dismissing it, but when I saw my little tub of “flesh” acrylic paint today I was instantly reminded of it.
As a lot of you know, in Afrikaans the word for the “flesh” colour is ‘menskleur’ which means ‘the colour of a human’. It bothers me endlessly that it is not only an incorrect colour reference but that it’s also really racist and suggestive. It very subtly implies that this “flesh” colour is the colour of a normal person, and that anyone with a different skin tone does not fit the description of ‘person’.
I mean no harm when I say these things, and all opinions expressed in this post are my completely my own.
I realise there are a lot of things far worse in the world and that complaining about paint names is a really silly thing to be doing, but we are surrounded by tiny injustices like this. The small things matter.
We overlook the subtle indoctrination that has been slipped into our everyday lives, hidden in plain sight to alter the way we think without us even realising it.
Has anyone ever considered that the younger generation is growing up thinking that light pink/apricot/Caucasian is considered to be the colour of a person? Has anyone ever considered that this is how we all grew up? We have all coloured, painted, drawn or handled crayons in our lifetime.
How do you think a child feels when his/her skin colour does not match the colour of ‘skin’ in his pencil box? Dehumanised? Unimportant?
Maybe he/she doesn’t feel anything. Or maybe it’s paving the way to a million future problems that we probably will never know about, but that will bother that child for the rest of his/her life. We all know how profound the statements are that children make.
This isn’t even about the children, it’s about all of us. I find myself realising these things more and more as I struggle to break free of the centuries of indoctrination that have affected us all. I find that this is difficult to do in a country like South Africa where the legacy of Apartheid looms over our heads and racism is just that much harder to shake because it’s simply how we were all raised.
I realise as I grow older that maybe my problem is my infallible faith in every ‘impossible’ thing. I suppose it’s the child in me that can’t shake the belief that the world has the potential to be better, to be equal, to be fair.
With that happy thought, I shall leave you. A quick thank you to Hannah for unwittingly inspiring this post (I hope you don’t mind me quoting you).
I wish for you all a happy week and I encourage you to try and break through the bad. We have to fight for the things that matter. Let’s all try to be decent human beings this month, okay?