On Mon, Jan 4, 2021 at 01:37 PM, Orlando Enrique Fiol wrote:
Then, some of the analogies are just downright confusing. Black is supposed to mean darkness, an absence of all color. Yet, when the color drains from faces, we don't say that people go black; we say they go pale. To say nothing of the terrible term "colored" for Black people. How can they be simultaneously dark and colored?-
Several different concepts are at play in your observations. First, color, strictly speaking, is only about light. It is a property of what wavelengths are reflected back to eyes that can, of course, see. When color gets spoken of in the physics sense, it's discussed in an additive sense, and all colors together form what gets called white light (and, no, I can't define white beyond the presence of all colors simultaneously such that something appears white). Pigments actually work by subtracting wavelengths from the full visible spectrum and only allowing certain wavelengths to be reflected back to your eyes. In essence, they're light sponges that only pick up certain wavelengths, while bouncing others back.
Black, when used in reference to light, means (if one is being strict) the absence of all light. But in the real world that's not generally achieved, though things come close. You will hear discussions of ultra-black paints and, believe me, they are a far more intense experience than what's typical.
Now, on to not going black, but going pale. That, too, is 100% accurate. Black, when used as a reference to someone with a lot of melanin in their skin, has never meant literal black as in the absence of all light. And as to colored, which was once the chosen term by those now generally referred to as African-American or Black [see the NAACP], this is relative to the much, much paler tone of white skin, which is not, literally white.
All skin tones, regardless of their base color, have the undertone given by blood flowing beneath the surface of the skin. When we are embarrassed (and you can often literally feel this, even if you can't see it) or for certain other forms of emotion there is often a rush of blood under the cheeks or sometimes to the whole face, resulting in what's called a blush, which is clearly visible to most who can see. Hence the phrase, "The blushing bride," and similar. Brides aren't embarrassed, though, but the way most of us experience the biggest blushes is when we are embarrassed, whether for bad reasons or good. When one gets an emotional shock, something about what the body does very often causes precisely the opposite, where instead of blood rushing to the face it literally drains from under the skin, and no matter what your base skin tone that results in "going pale." Pale and flushed (which is often the term used for blushing full face rather than just cheeks) are relative terms, not absolute ones, so anyone can go pale or become flushed. Of course, the paler your base skin tone the easier it is to see blushing/flushing, and the darker your base skin tone the easier it is to see "going pale" because the state changes visually are more dramatic. Almost everyone has heard the description of someone who's Caucasian being described as "pasty white," which means they have relatively little pink to their skin tone from blood beneath the surface to begin with. If they blush, it's like a light bulb has gone off in red beneath their skin, whereas you'd be much harder pressed to detect paleness say, from an impending faint, were it to occur.
And the opposing end of the light spectrum goes from true black, which means no color whatsoever, to white, which means the presence of all wavelengths. Those of us who are sighted actually generally think of black as a color more than white, but both, because they're on the spectrum of visual perception, are commonly considered colors. But it's all the things in between that, strictly speaking, actually are colors in the sense of specific combinations of wavelengths of light that are somewhere between none at all and all at equal intensity, which produces what we call white light. [If you're into literal noise, think white noise versus pink noise and I believe there are other classes based on what frequencies are there in combination and at what intensities.]
Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042
The depths of denial one can be pushed to by outside forces of disapproval can make you not even recognize yourself to yourself.
~ Brian Vogel