Friday, August 22, 2008

Gordon Gartrelle says: Play the We Are Respectable Negroes’ Color Matching Game!

I recently had my place painted, so I’ve been looking at nothing but color samples for weeks. As I pored over the bizarre but creative color names (lazy afternoon?), I had a stroke of inspiration. Brilliant minds have wrestled with the implications of colorism in America, and we are grateful for their contributions. The problem? Their color distinctions aren’t stratified enough. What’s worse, these rough distinctions (e.g. “light, medium, dark”) have no flair.

Thus, in the spirit of Benjamin Moore and Wu Tang, we would like to provide a public service to Social Scientists and any others who may be interested in race: a formal, yet playful classification of black folks’ various hues, complete with punchy, memorable names. Who knows? Given our recent discussion about light-skinned educational and political elites, perhaps this classification tool can aid Affirmative Action for darker black folks:

Now that we have our color categories, I want to invite our readers to play The Matching Game. To play, simply choose a few black people who best represent each color and post them in your comments. We’ve suggested some prominent black people below. Of course, feel free to choose your own color representatives or create your own color categories. Early next week, we will reveal our lists (including where each of us falls on the color spectrum).

**Clarence Thomas**Morgan Freeman**Gwen Ifill**Biggie**Jasmine Guy** Jay Z **Soledad Obrien**Ben Jealous**Angela Bassett**Jesse Jackson**Reverend Wright** **Julian Bond** Don Cheadle**Lena Horne**Denzel Washington**50 Cent**Vin Diesel **Beyonce**Miles Davis **Harold Ford**Wesley Snipes**Muhammad Ali** Oprah **John McWhorter**Malcolm X**Nia Long**Angela Davis**Common**Will Smith **Stanley Crouch**Flava Flav** Michael Eric Dyson**OJ**Whoopie Goldberg/Lil Wayne (has anyone ever seen them both in the same room?)** Halle Berry**Michelle Obama **Barack Obama**


annum natalem said...

Blurple is now my new favorite word. It certainly beats "Bliggety".

Anonymous said...

LMAO @ Bougie Beige

Davis L. Bigelow said...

Perhaps I lack a sense of Ha Ha, but I find this colour-matching exercise a bit discomforting. If you, the writer/creator of this exercise are just out for a bit of fun, well ok, but this reader isn’t quite sure, so I’ll give you my serious response:
I believe that awesome people are awesome because of their deeds. I celebrate accomplishment. Skin colour is of no consequence to me. I acknowledge that people of numerous shades and races have taken a turn at being victimized due to their skin tone, but I also believe that anyone who considers another an inferior because of skin colour or race is guilty of a grave error. Those who have acted on their bias nauseate me. I think it is wonderful to celebrate celebrities who are black, but to me the important part is that they are celebrities, not because they share in a particular colour or shade. My respect and congratulations go out freely to any who give human kind a good name. I hope you will all keep up the good work – no matter who you are or where you live. I also hope that I can remain a member in good standing among you.

Zora said...

Mr. Bigelow,

Please tell me where you live. I am a current resident of the United States of America and am looking to emmigrate -- especially if McCain is elected.

Your country sounds like a land of equal opportunity where people are judged by the content of their character rather than the hue of their skin. I am eager to hear where this place exists.

Black with No Home

Davis L. Bigelow said...

Hi Zora,
I live in Alberta, Canada. Canada is a land of extreme multi-culteralism, and a great place to live. (The only problem with Alberta is that there aren't enough people with good sun tans living here.) There are probably some who live here who are predjudice, but by and large, most people just live and let live.
I hope Obama gets in down there. Our Canadian news follows the events of the world and we are well aware of what is happenning in your country. The US was founded by a group of nobel and good men - as one nation under God and with equality for all. I think that the US Constitution is awesome, but its values and principles should be practiced a lot more. I think Obama might just be the man to get the dream into reality, but if not, come on up here to visit. If you like it here, I don't think staying would be too difficult - but I'm really not in the know about that. You could go online to Canadian Immigration and check it out.
Good luck to you, Zora! Everyone should be "judged by the content of their character rather than the hue of their skin"! Nicely spoken!

Zora said...

...I had the feeling that you weren't from the United States. If you lived here, you would understand the practice of "laughing to keep from crying."

Keep sending positive energy our way!

Davis L. Bigelow said...

Good to hear from you again Zora. I do what I can, but that doesn't feel like very much. Positive influence is always good, however. I'll try to keep up the positive energy and perhaps eventually there will be enough of us to change the world into a better place. Hang in there!!!