After hearing a snippet of Boney M’s ‘Brown Girl in the Ring’ on one of the radio stations this morning, and a comment on skin colour by one of that station’s presenters, it got me thinking about Crayola crayons.
I think most of you reading this will have used a Crayola crayon at some point in your life – there was a real thrill about opening a box of 64 beautifully sharpened coloured sticks, which would be mangled in about 2.5 seconds, especially after trying to sharpen them in the so-called sharpener embedded in the box itself.
The names of the colours were fantastic – was there any discernible difference between blue-violet and violet-blue, or red-orange and orange-red?
Why I talk about this is because the colour of the crayon entitled ‘flesh’ was some sort of bleached, faded, washed-out beige. This, according to Crayola, was the colour of the skin of a white person, and thus called ‘flesh’…because brown people weren’t really people back then and were not really considered flesh themselves. Living, healthy flesh was white while brown skin was some sort of a distant, lesser relation.
‘Flesh’ was eventually changed to ‘peach’.
In closing, I shall now express my disappointment with the ‘gold’ crayon. It was not gold. It was the colour of infant turd.