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"I want to paint a flower black,
I want to make a tree all blue!
They asked me why my river was green,
I said I didn't think it through!
I will dress my baby boy in pink,
Mix yellow for the dew!
I will make the sand purple,
I don't want to think it through!"
A small incident that happened in my daughter's school set me thinking about how we perceive colours. My daughter was learning colours. She loves coloring like all other children. But one thing about her was different, at least according to her teacher. She loved black. Her favourite colour was black. I don't know why, but this was very strange for her teacher. She once remarked in a meeting that this was weird. She thought girls of her age like pink and she likes black. How uncommon of a choice!
For me, this is strange! Not that she likes black, but the fact that it is so unacceptable to people around her! I didn't react to it by asking her why she liked that colour or why she doesn't like pink. I let her be with her world of colours with no meanings attached to them. For her, red is red and she doesn't see romance in it. For her pink is not the colour of innocence. Black is just black for her. Her favourite colour. She chooses most of her stuff in black and I let her have it.
As a society, we have become so prejudiced even with colours. Black is racist, white is elite, pink is cute and blue is bold. When I shop for clothes for my daughter, majority stores have pinks for girls and when I shop for my boy, mostly things are in blues.
I know fashion is all about colours and their organisation, so is art. Also, when professionals use colours they have to add meaning to their work. May be, black is associated with dark so it is not considered auspicious. May be we can't wear black to our wedding. But this has nothing to do with the world of children. They have an unbiased view of the world which should stay. This should be encouraged.
Undoubtedly, parents and teachers have a greater role to play besides the society at large. With the increase in interactions of diverse cultures, it is indispensable that the colour perceptions are changed. Every culture perceives colours differently. The colour meant for a bride in one culture might be the one meant for a widow in another. For a society to be open, it is an imperative that our mindsets are open too. We need to embrace all colours. The age old story of the ugly duckling revolves around the same theme. Grey duckling is called ugly as compared to its golden siblings and with time it transforms into a beautiful white swan. The fact that grey is unacceptable and white is beautiful is reiterated. We need to make some changes in this regard. I really appreciate efforts made in some nursery rhymes for kids on youtube. For example, the nursery rhyme ba ba black sheep has been extended to ba ba white sheep and brown sheep as well. This gives children a complete picture of the colours of sheep that can be found. It inculcates inclusiveness in them. As parents, it becomes our responsibility to ensure that our children are exposed to content that develops their personalities positively.
I want my children to understand that the world is beautiful because it has colours. I want to give them all colours to choose from. They should choose what suits them, what they love, what radiates adding to their personality.
My kid's favourite colour keeps changing. I think this is good. She is exploring her world. Sometimes she likes purple, some day it is green and recently she said she likes rainbow colours.
She paints a reindeer in rainbow colours. I guess that's the pink in her!