Despite being the one to suggest the Theme of Colour for Tara Cain's Gallery this week, I found it all too easy to succumb to taking a picture of the millions of colourful toys littering the lounge, or the green grass outside or whatever.

Then a very lengthy life-story email to someone who unwittingly is becoming one of the best friends I ever had, made me have a second think about colour. The email reminded me of all sorts of things related to colour. Sadly, not in a good way, but certainly in a way that would make you sit the hell up and think.

Just the word, "colour", hits a nerve for me. It's something I've had to deal with all my life. Sure we ALL deal with it in some way, but funnily enough, for me it's been more of an issue than anything else.

Growing up as a cellist, people used to ask me "What's it like being a black cellist?" "What's it like being the only black person in an orchestra?" "Those coloured people in the audience, do you know them? Are they your family?"

My friends, mostly white and Asian, would see other black people on the street and (genuinely) say "look, that's your brother isn't it?" "I was out shopping the other day and I saw this black girl and thought it was you" "I think I saw your sister the other day, that coloured girl who works in that shop?"

You couldn't make this shit up.

Oddly, the one thing that bothers me most in that last paragraph, is being called "coloured". I'm going to ask you to stop and have a think, before you label someone coloured. And what I'd like you to think about is this.

When you're ill, you're green.
When you're embarassed, you're red.
When you're cold you're blue.
When you've been on the tanning spray you're orange.
When you're dead you're grey.
When you're asphyxiated you're purple.
When you're jaundiced you're yellow.
When you're terrified you're white.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there just about all the colours of the rainbow in there?

Me? I stay black. Or "brown", if you REALLY want to be PC. I go slightly darker if I stay out in the sun. And I become - yes. Another shade of brown.

So more often than not, when I look at the people around me, I don't see colour. Not in that sense. My husband is "white". My in-laws are "white". I am "black". My great grandmother was asian ("yellow").

So here is my Gallery Contribution.

It's a little lame. But I don't always see colour. I'd like to think I see much, much more.
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13 Responses
  1. The Moiderer Says:

    I think it is an excellent entry for the Gallery. I find it amazing that people still say those things. They really think that all black people know each other? I come from a little village in Wales. I can understand that people would think we are all related there - because it is generally true!

  2. Caroline Says:

    Brilliant post, and great take on the theme. Enjoyed reading - thank you x

  3. planb Says:

    That is a beautiful picture, and a very thought provoking post.

    I, incidentally, read it though and got most excited by "ooh, you're a cellist!" (sorry, once a muso, always a muso...)

  4. Nova Says:

    Great post, I love the picture of the three of you.

  5. A wonderful post and a lovely photo...

  6. Every time I come on here I learn something new about you - you were a CELLIST. Wow, just wow.
    The only thing I see is a bright burning light - you can be whatever colour you like!
    Fabulous interpretation of the theme x

  7. That's a beautiful photograph and a wonderful post!

  8. A really thought provoking post. Thank you for sharing. A lovely photo of you & your sons.

  9. A brilliant post & lovely photo of you three.

    MD x

  10. Livi Says:

    I love a post that makes me think, and yours is fabulous. Very interesting and a lovely photo along with it

  11. Josie Says:

    How have I only just seen this? You just made my cry lady, in a very good way. What ever colour you are, you shine very brightly to me.

    Love you lots xx

  12. Thanks for all your lovely responses! :D

  13. prim Says:

    I know exactly what you mean, I grew up always being made aware of my 'colour' and through my adult life I have always blinkered myself to other people's colour. A case of treat others as you would like them to treat you. My three year old daughter chooses to be brown some days, white some days, english some days and indian on other days, must be quite confusing for her but I just tell her she's all of these things and that it doesn't matter anyway.
    Great post and great perspective. x