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Celebrate Diversity

So, those of you who have found me on Facebook probably saw the photo I shared that originated, at least in my experience, from It's OK To Be Takei (or perhaps from George Takei). It's a line of crayons in various variants on brown, all labeled "flesh".

I want that set of crayons!  (Actually, to be honest, I want that set of Prismacolors. I don't use crayons any more, the artist-quality colored pencils give much more satisfying results.  But the principle is the same.)

Then I saw Google's logo for MLK day, which as usual is delightful. But I happened to hold my arm in front of it, and realized that (at least in the light of my tiny office) the color of Dr. King and the children in the logo--so obviously brown against the paper-white background on my computer screen--was barely darker than the color of my arm.  (As you can see from my icon picture here, I'm very clearly not what anyone would consider "brown-skinned".)

This reminds me of my experiments with the skin colors on the time-wasting Sim game on Facebook, where there's a range of skin colors, nearly all of which look white to me when I'm not seeing the even whiter ones in the little window for choosing skin color.  In reality, of course, there's lots of shades of dark skin, not just one or two.

These things served to remind me, on this Martin Luther King day, just how far we still have to go to properly include and celebrate all of the wonderful diversity of humanity in our art and literature.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 18th, 2012 02:41 am (UTC)
Re: Well...
Oooh! How tempting.

I better wait and see what the heat bill is this month before splurging, but...

If I ordered right away, would they get here before sketchfest?
Jan. 18th, 2012 08:32 am (UTC)
Re: Well...
Shipping time usually depends on how much you pay for it; you could investigate the options. Sketch Fest is a recurring project, though. If you miss one, you can always catch another.

I'd really enjoy seeing you experiment with the skintone pencils. Torn World is a very chromatic setting with characters having so many different shades -- the Glifai are fair, the Duurludirj are tan, the ... Mruuna, maybe? ... are dark, and the Northerners tend to be sort of golden.
Jan. 17th, 2012 02:49 pm (UTC)
I just realized that all the children's faces in the Google doodle for Martin Luther King were brown -- but Dr. King spoke of all children, of all races. I think the artist just wanted to keep it simple by using one color, and a shade of brown light enough to show the lines of the facial features, but it would have been more suitable to have a full range, including white children. Ah well.
Jan. 18th, 2012 02:42 am (UTC)
I did notice that. I'd have been happier if the scene showed children of all skin shades, or at least, a good spread.

That would be harder to set up, composition-wise, but some things are worth doing.
Jan. 17th, 2012 03:21 pm (UTC)
This reminds me of how I've considered, for example, with prismacolors (I use the markers primarily, but there's a lot of same-color crossover between their products), I've often thought, "I should make a list of the very most basic colors you could need to do a picture," including the fewest browns you might need to buy in order to create the widest range of skintones. (I might be cheating a little bit, because I put pale peach and light peach in my brown section)

Another anecdote this reminds me of is, I used to own a kind of pixel-art avatar dress-up forum - and it mainly failed because much of my staff decided they had to have their own dress-up site. One of them was asking me what I thought of her bases, and I noted that she hadn't gone past what you might call "medium" on an absolute skin-tone scale. She said it was because the eyes looked funny, but what a silly reason not to include something so basic.
Jan. 18th, 2012 02:51 am (UTC)
I wonder if you could work around the funny-eye thing by changing the color of the outlines used for cartoon figures like those--for the very pale, a medium brown, for the medium brown, dark brown or black, for the darker browns, a suitable paler color--white, gold, or peach?

I do like this icon of yours, by the way!

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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