Saturday, August 23, 2008



Maximilian C. Forte said...

What a funny coincidence -- I just posted on "stuff white people like" in connection with anthropology (you can access that here), and here is a post about colour blindness. It's an odd diagram -- what did you think about it when posting it?

Dylan said...

I read your post with interest. My dept is fairly small, and AU is really second tier, if that, but its interesting that are demographic is one where 'white' and 'straight' are a minority, something i take for granted. Its certainly problematic in my view when the so-called top tier universities merely reprodcue the status quo of Mosca and Mills 'ruling elite,' since they will provide the bodies to fill the positions of government, business and science that define the US and the Western world.

Anyway...I like the picture because im colourblind and its does two things, 1) it speaks to all the people who arent colourblind and often think i cant see colours or i see in a sort of gray, and 2) in a way, people are right colours do merge and are less defined in a spectrum for me (but no i dont see in grey!). Colour(s) as such become something i use less than others to define my world - in a sense i do see everything as a blur. Not because i cant see colours mind you, but because the labels i put to them often conflict with what the majority of people see, hence my reliance on colour to define a situation is decreased, i use other descriptive identifiers like shape, age, size etc.

its just something i do because ive always seen in this way. The diagram made me chuckle because pie charts are made to be colour specific and the joke is a colourblind person wouldnt get it.

And of course there's the obvious point you allude to - a colourblind world can be an analogy for a world where phenotype is less significant in determining how power functions.

Another thing this post makes me think is the logic of racism doesnt need phenotype or colour to function - the logic of racism is embedded in capitalism and its modus operandi - eric williams send as much a long time ago. Why doesnt his capitalism and slavery make more syllabuses?

Maximilian C. Forte said...

That was really interesting Dylan, I am glad I asked. It is very difficult for me to imagine colour blindness, I don't mean the metaphorical one, but rather the condition that you have. On the other hand, I tend to gravitate toward black and white and greyscale photographs because they allow me to focus, as if the absence of colour introduced an even greater degree of stillness, and it makes a photo take on an almost magical quality.

Good point about the Williams text. I think a few redux versions and elaborations have been published, especially by U. Press of Florida which looked like it could not stop itself from publishing more and more of them at one point.