Billy: What’s your favorite color?
Ellen: Flesh, like the Crayola color.
Billy: Didn’t the NEA [National Endowment for the Arts] cut off funding for that color?

Excerpt from an exchange between two characters on ABC’s thirtysomething episode broadcast in New York on 22 January 1991 (Dubin 1992: 316–7).


‘Race. Flesh’. 1999. Colors. December 1998–January 1999: 38.

In her text “Flesh In Wax: Demystifying the Skin Colours of the Common Crayon,” Roth writes:

“In the very early part of the twentieth century, when modern North American crayons were developed by Binney & Smith, makers of the Crayola brand (1903), visual materials and technologies aiming to represent or embellish human flesh tones had been commonly perceived as value‐neutral, devoid of ideology—they were simply extensions or expressions of instrumental rationality.”

Or were they…?

Dubin, Steven C. 1992. Arresting Images: Impolitic Art and Uncivil Actions. New York: Routledge Press.

Roth, Lorna. October 2011. “Flesh in Wax: Demystifying the Skin Colors of the Common Crayon.” Jonathan Finn, Ed. In Visual Communications Reader. Oxford University Press.

Roth, Lorna. April 9, 2009. “Home on the Range: Kids, Visual Culture, and Cognitive Equity,” in Cultural Studies /Critical Methodologies, Special Issue on Race and Kids Culture.

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