Out of the Box
There’s a crayon manufacturer that’s got the edge on hues with their multicultural 8 pack of skin tone colors: apricot, black, burnt sienna, mahogany, peach, sepia, tan and white. Quite a variation from the single “flesh”, aka beige, that I grew up with in the 70’s. It just goes to show you that cultural diversity is everywhere, from our board rooms to our crayon boxes. But does diversity bring us together or set us apart?
Our family resembles this 8 pack. There are eight of us with varying shades of skin tone, but I hesitate to designate one color per person. Well, my husband would definitely be crayon white – that’s easy…or is he more peach? Perhaps I’m apricot or sepia? Our daughter favors my coloring and our three boys would necessitate a blending tool to create their color. We also have two foster children that bring in a splash of black and white, one being more black in skin tone, the other more white – which I’m pretty sure blends into gray, but there’s a problem because there’s no such color in the box.
Or, perhaps, it’s the box that’s the problem. We tend to put things in boxes – like skin toned crayons, or boxes that designate our ethnicity, our nationality, our religious preference. We like to box things, it keeps things neat. It separates things with walls and gives us permission to use those proverbial walls to build a diversity driven world that is divisive instead of unified. But what happens when we unbox what is boxed and let it run wild? When sepia bleeds into black and apricot and burnt sienna blend into a beautiful sunset? We discover some amazing new colors!
We rarely talk about the color of our skin in our family. We have worked hard not to build walls that create boxes and are constantly striving to see beyond what is on the surface. The definition of color is “the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way it reflects or emits light.” I hope that the light we reflect off of our color produces a sensation of vibrancy, hope and unity, because our color isn’t boxed into an eight pack. Our color is love.