Here’s a little-known fact: Crayola officially renamed the “flesh” color crayon “peach” in 1962, in response to the Civil Rights Movement. This was news to Mrs. Bacarella’s suburban Kindergarden classroom a couple decades later, where the “skin color” crayon was much in demand — until we got a stern talking-to by said Mrs. Bacarella about skin color and multi-culturalism.
Angelica Dass’s ongoing project Humanae offers a thoughtful way of looking at this puzzle of skin color. She photographs a colorful array of humans and then matches their skin tones to the Pantone color system. And it’s no exaggeration to say the results will reconfigure anyone’s color-vision. Look how pink and peach and rose and beige and mahogany and coffee-colored we are! What’s most surprising is the endless variety — if color is supposed to be divisive, then the sunburned and the very pale must be going to war — and how beautiful every single shade is.