Colour me grumpy

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.


11 Responses to Colour me grumpy

  1. Tamara says:

    Wow. I will never look at a gold crayon the same way again.

  2. Helen says:

    and we all used to fight over the silver…

    I’m jealous though, I never got a built-in sharpener!

  3. Don't Believe a Word I Write says:

    Very healthy infant turd, Tamara, rest assured.

    Helen, yes!! The silver was in demand. Don’t worry about not having the built-in sharpener/mangler. It was far less fun than it sounds.

  4. Woofles says:

    Possibly your best post ever.

  5. Don't Believe a Word I Write says:

    Thanks, dear Woofles. That means very much.

  6. boldlybenny says:

    I had a display for all my crayons, I loved it. But since I went to a multiracial school the ‘flesh’ crayon always puzzled me so thanks for posting on this!

  7. Don't Believe a Word I Write says:

    Cute Benny, like a printer’s tray. Did you name them? 😉

  8. hardspear says:

    Grown-up colours are just as confusing. I never know what Chartreuse or Mauve is… Why cant they stick to the basic colour wheel?

  9. Don't Believe a Word I Write says:

    More confusing that ‘flesh’ being the colour of white skin?

  10. Black Dog Barking says:

    I remember a Mad Magazine parody of the Crayola Spectrum, which included such awesome and then-relevant hues as Gorbachev-birthmark Umber.


  11. dbawiw says:

    Gorbachev-birthmark Umber….that is utterly marvellous!
    Thanks for making me chuckle, BDB.

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