There’s an incredible social stigma attached to colors and words – stigmas we do not notice.
The classic example is white and black. From literary fiction like The Lord of the Rings to Star Wars, we start from early on to hold opinions on colors. White is good, pure, righteous. Black is evil, mischievous, mysterious. I looked at a number of psychology websites; they certainly don’t disagree. Of course, this may be something inherent within us. But whether it is or isn’t, we cannot simply ignore its influence on human race relations.
There was a study done in the 1930’s United States, where black children were asked to pick between black dolls and white dolls. Children, almost unanimously, picked the white doll..the black ones were “ugly.” This isn’t a thing of the past, in 2005, a similar study was conducted in the 7 minute film A Girl Like me; where 15 of 21 black children decided the white doll was better than the black. “Why don’t you like the black one?” “Its ugly.” “Which one looks like me?” “The black one.”
It’s no wonder the bad market is the black market. The bad hacker is the black hat. A bad cat is a black cat. Hell, a black rose is a death threat.
The same goes for other concept. Left handedness and right handedness. There’s the “right” path, the “right way”. Then there’s the “left hand path – black magic. The word “sinister” in Latin, for one, can also mean “left” handed. It’s the origin of the word. The word “dexterity”, in Latin, can also mean “right”.
I just wonder how big these color differences are. I wonder if these subconscious influences are the creations of our brains…or our cultures. And I wonder how big of an influence they really are.
NOTE: I started thinking about this, or started re-thinking about it rather, after I watched the movie Cry Freedom. It’s about South African apartheid, about a country I know hardly anything about. MY best friend lives there, but that’s about all. You know who you are, best friend 😉