Portmanteau Commentary: Black and White is the new [insert visual file of black and white]

As I passed by a bad advert on my way to an interview this morning I started wondering what fascination it is that the world seems to have with the concept of Black and White.

Heavily loaded with connotation, the words get used symbolically to name, in the strictest sense of the meaning, not color but concept.

The concept and connotation no longer represent the true meaning of the concept's origin. The words Black and White in this constellation carries with it the stigma of racial differentiation, despite the fact that visually and in the truest sense of the meaning of this word - marriage that has surpassed it's grip on reality, the application of these terms are actually false.

Who we, the word users, refer to as "White", is not, in fact, of white color. Who we, the word users, refer to as "Black", is not, in fact, of black color. This we usually forget in the haze of the cultural stigmatization of the meaning of words within a cloud of historical misuse and the continuous misuse to this day.

The fact that the use of this marriage to describe the skin color and indeed culture of a human being is not in line with color the words represent becomes even more apparent when outlining the difference between the impression the colors on their own leave. A graphic logo, an old picture referred to as B&W or a dress which sports these colors do not get associated with that differentiation.

Without wanting to venture into landmine territory, I am trying to understand what it was that tempted colonisers of old to use this constellation to describe an attribute that was not, in fact, applicable. Edward Said outlined the process of attribute projection on an 'other' by applying a dualist form of identification in order to identify and solidify the understanding of the self, accelerated in the situation of facing the unknown or not understood. This explains why the duality of opposites that Black and White are was applied, but I still don't see how 'dark' and 'light' (also antonyms), which would have at least not broken the sanctity of a word's meaning, couldn't have been more appropriate terms for the possessive, euro-centric, xenophobic colonisers to employ.

In the end I need to acknowledge that despite initial misuse, the words have, through extensive collective misuse actually included that alternative meaning and made it official, which TECHNICALLY gives me no right to complain. But I am a linguistic purist, and a bit old fashioned - the constant stretching and kicking, whipping and creaming of the language used the most in the world is painful for me to witness. But slowly I've come to realise that anything this big cannot be coherent in itself and will be influenced and molded into the corners and shapes of the different cultures, contexts and environments. That still doesn't call for an ad saying "White is the new black, buy a white phone with Black (eyed peas). It does call for a fashion tribute to the visual and original meaning of the words.

Our fascination in fashion and advertising with the phrase "[insert new trend] is the new black", however, I venture is derived from not only the historical impact that phrase had the first time around, but also from it's dual nature and the visual implication of the 'colorless colors', stigmatised as not being 'real colors' - Black and White. Of course this is also debatable, white light is the collective sum of all colors and black paint is the collective sum of all colors. But that is another topic for another procrastination session.