The Colour Black. The Colour White.

What is black? Who is black?

Two questions. No simple answer. When does black become white, and white become black?

Perspective 1: Black is basic, unchanging. In the beginning, there was black. Everything else is coloured. If you see things from this perspective, then you will be confused at the word coloured. You see, when I cry, I don’t turn blue. Or red. I just look awful. From reading books at a very young age, I used to be fascinated at the spectrum of colours that “White” people could turn into: blue, black, red, pink. So when I was told in the university that I could join an association of Coloureds, well, I didn’t get it. To me, white is a colour. Black isn’t. Well, not really. I remember the look of confusion in a friend’s eyes when I told her I bought a white scarf to add colour to my outfit. “I’ve never thought of white as a colour”, my American friend confessed.

Question: why is Barack Obama Black, but not White? That question can only be answered because people see things from a different perspective.

Perspective 2: white is basic. Everything else is coloured or black. This is why Beyonce, Mariah Carey and every other Hollywood star I thought was White turned out to be Black and proud. Even in art, this doesn’t make sense. In my art classes, I learned that if black is added to white, it’s called shading. If white is added to black, it’s tinting. So you either have a tint or a shade. It all depends on technique. But I guess when it comes to human beings, it’s not all black and white (pun intended!).

But what is our problem anyway, and our preoccupation with tagging people and trying to fit everything into neat categories? God knew what he was doing when he made us all. There is beauty in variety. And all that He made, it was VERY GOOD (Genesis 1:31).

By the way, I met a couple of Ghanaian-Koreans or Korean-Ghanaians in Korea. Advice: don’t get them started on who they are or what colour they are.

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