The Color Orange

Noun Challenge: July 22, 2014

Today’s Noun: Orange

I understand that the color orange is not actually a noun, and this post should actually be about fruit. However, I am taking advantage of the English language’s lack of originality in naming fruit (or maybe naming colors? Which came first?) because who wants to blog about a piece of fruit? Okay, there are probably some really amazing fruit bloggers out there, but I’m not one of them!

So, what exactly is more interesting about the color orange?

Not everyone can see it. I’m not talking about color blindness. I’m talking about entire cultures of  people who cannot see the color orange. I’m sure there are other cultures who cannot see other colors, but we’re talking about orange today.

One of my anthropology professors told us (multiple times) about a village he visited somewhere in (east?) Asia. I don’t remember exactly where it was, but they could not see orange. He thought it was pretty bizarre. This is yellow, this is red, this is orange. It seemed obvious to him. The people in the village said, no, that’s red. To these people, orange was just another shade of red.

So? What’s the point of this story?

In our culture, every four year old knows that orange is a color. That’s common knowledge to us. But that’s only because that’s what we were taught. To that Asian culture, it’s common knowledge that there are a bunch of shades of red before you get into shades of yellow.

This little story makes me wonder what we can’t see, that other cultures just know to be true.

Just a little something to get you thinking!

Have a spectacular day and I’ll see you tomorrow!



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