What are your colors? by Rich Paschall

Everyone has their favorite colors. You can probably tell which ones they are by the walls of their homes. The wall coverings were likely chosen not just by color, but also by the shade of color. Big home improvement stores will mix and match colors for you so you can have just the right shade. Some stores stock color palates and have little colored papers you can take with you while you stare at the walls and envision how they will look. Some will even give you a little sample so you can stare at a brushstroke you put on the wall and dream of a whole room in that color. Of course, they realize that if you put a brushstroke of something on the wall, you will later have to paint the whole thing, but I digress.

Blue is a nice color to me, but I would never paint the walls a dark blue, only pastels. As a matter of fact, there would be no dark colors in my home decorating, if you can call it that. Purples and dark greens certainly are too harsh anyway, but maybe they would appear on your walls. That’s fine for you. Who am I to judge you by your color selection?skin-colors-cropped

I like Hunter Green in kitchen accessories, but not on the walls. Does that seem strange to you? For a number of years, I found it the color of choice in Tupperware and kitchen utensils, but I would never paint with it. Never. Does that sound a little biased? If I found the sea green of your bathroom just a little too garish, would you hold it against me? Shun me forever?

At a past place of employment, I had a manager who wanted to paint his office a nice shade of lavender. If it was good enough for his bedroom, soothing and relaxing, then perhaps it would be good for his office. After all, the company said he could have any color he wanted. Unfortunately, there were those who did not like lavender, especially on office walls. He was derided for his choice of color. Some snickered behind his back, while others openly pointed out the folly of associating with such colors, and at work no less! The color of choice around the building was rather bland. You know the one, an off-white that looks about the same no matter how long it is on the wall. The shade of lavender was…well, rather gay according to some people. What does that say about a new manager? He was judged, but he was certainly straight (or as certain as I can be). Anyway, I thought it was a nice shade of color.

“True colors are beautiful, like a rainbow.”

This prejudice against color is not limited to the walls at home or the office. It goes well beyond the choice of furniture and carpet. It is not just the accessories in your house or your life. It has to do with all your color choices. “Are my friends really judging me by the colors I choose?  If I chose white am I boring? If I choose black am I too Gothic? If I choose lavender am I too gay?” Perhaps this sounds a bit ridiculous.

Yet, people choose their friends this way. They make instant judgments of people they do not know by their shade of color. Some can look across a crowded street and when they spot a person of another color, they formulate an instant opinion. Perhaps an “olive shade” looks like a gangster, and you should avoid crossing the street. Then there are those who are a certain shade of white that is different from my shade. Many people will quickly decide they are crooks, or they are greedy or they are shiftless.

This is not just an issue between races, but also within a race. White people judge other white people and black people do the same. You do not think so? Ask around. Many have color palates for races that are far more discriminating than their choices of the wall colors. Once I was watching a FOX Sports 1 MLB show and immediately noticed that baseball analyst Frank Thomas was a distinctly different shade than the other analyst, Dontrelle Willis. I am not sure what Thomas said, but I instantly decided I liked his opinions better! Was it because he played in Chicago, or was it because I liked his looks better?

So don’t be afraid to let them show,
Your true colors.
True colors are beautiful.
I see your true colors
Shining through (true colors) – “True Colors”, Cyndi Lauper

When the turbulent civil rights era of the 1960s appeared to tear down color barriers, society was pleased with the progress. While some laws now prohibit color choices, the fact is that color choices are as pervasive as ever. These prejudices are perpetuated by social media and Fake News reports that are meant to push people to the left, right, middle, and anywhere else that can separate one from another. “Progressive” radio, “Patriot” radio, “Conservative” radio, “Liberal” radio all highlight the difference between us and “them.” If you don’t think “them” frequently means another color, listen more closely. If you think that many of these talk and Fake News Shows hated a President of the United States because of his shade of skin color, you may be on the right track.

The proliferation of these judgments by everyone from politicians and so-called newsmen to the average person online demonstrates that the color scheme of society today is more divided than ever. We may no longer be segregated by law, but we are still segregated by personal choice. Many can not find it in their hearts to celebrate the different shades of life. They only want certain colors to be approved for the walls they put up in their own existence. Perhaps this all sounds just a bit ridiculous because it is.

So we’re different colours
And we’re different creeds
And different people have different needs.
It’s obvious you hate me
Though I’ve done nothing wrong
I’ve never even met you so what could I have done? – “People Are People,” Depeche Mode

Categories: Life, Racism and Bigotry, Rich Paschall

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4 replies

  1. In my first (married) apartment, we painted the dividing wall between the dining “area” and the living room hunter green. It was one of our favorite colors too. In that case, it provided a nice visual “break” between two rooms that were otherwise divided only by a wide archway. We had to repaint it before we left!

    I had a friends who really DID paint her living room Chinese red. I think it lasted about half a year before she got tired of it. For me, the real problem is that we have (as you saw) a LOT of artwork and you can’t have strong background colors with multi-colored art. You need — even if it’s dark — something more or less neutral.

    Back when we had the money to hire a painter, we eventually painted the entire inside of our condo — all three floors of it — in antique blue and green. Both were a bit “ashy” in tone, so they were effectively neutral. I love those colors. Since then, though, it has been one or another version of off-white. it’s just easier to maneuver around white or some version of white.

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    • Everything here is an off white and the wood baseboards and trim are a solid white, semi-gloss.. In the first few years I did not have musch on the walls, but now I have too many pictures. A dark background would be distracting.

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  2. From a decorating point of view I’d agree with you completely. I love red, bright red, but I wouldn’t put it on my walls or any dark colour. Yet I do get tired of everything being neutral. Everywhere I go, grey, beige, black white are the predominant shades.

    For your other, more important point, it is very sad that people judge others on their appearance so much and it’s becoming more prevalent I feel as time goes on. I don’t know how we make it stop.

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