Re: Color control (was: Immigration Bomb)

From: Olga Bourlin (
Date: Sun Sep 02 2001 - 11:47:58 MDT

From: "Robert J. Bradbury" <>
> Charlie wrote:
> > Obviously, this doesn't work in the US, which has a large indigenous
> > black population... Given that white anglo-saxon types are due to become
> > minority in the US by 2050 if current trends continue...
> This sparked a memory in my mind of a very attractive young
> white woman roller skating around Greenlake the other day. The
> most striking thing about her was the large tattoo that she had
> covering most of her arms and shoulders. She was someone who
> obviously viewed her body as a canvas on which designs could be
> painted.
> Now switch to genetic engineering -- control of skin color has
> to be regulated by a very few genes. That would suggest that
> within a decade or so it should be feasible to pop a pill that
> regulates how dark you are. (Caucasians can already put on
> suntan lotion that activates their endogenous tanning response).
> Now I would guess that tattoos are not as effective on dark skinned
> people due to the lack of contrast. That would suggest that such
> people would utilize genetic means to lighten their skin to allow
> them to take advantage of tatooing. Eventually we will get dynamic
> control of skin color (though this will take a while).

Okay, I'll buy the (post)(trans)human billboard idea. But when we get
dynamic control of skin color, I would assume the "contrast" could go both
ways - i.e., canvases don't all need to have a white background (black
tattoos would contrast with white skin, and white tattoos would contrast
with black skin). I realize there will be an array of other color
combinations, but I'm only tackling the dark/light example you brought up.

Not attributing this to you, Robert, but it seems many white people think
that if people with darker skins had the choice, they'd choose to be "white"
or "whiter." As if darker skin is somehow defective?

> So isn't the debate kind of meaningless? Skin color will no longer
> be a useful marker for the identification of people as belonging
> to a particular "clan". It seems to me that language is becoming
> the key factor for the "bin-ing" of people you encounter rather than
> color.

Certainly, the debate may be meaningless at some point in the future. But
bin-ning still goes on, in spite of language, and in spite of uniforms. A
black woman I know was recently telling me a story of her sister, who is a
doctor. Over and over again this doctor has been mistaken for a cleaning
woman - EVEN THOUGH she was wearing a uniform with her name, followed by
M.D. And it happened to her recently again in the bathroom, when a white
woman came up to the doctor and started talking to her about a plumbing
problem in one of the stalls.

> And of course discussing policy based on any expectations about what
> 2050 is going to be like seems silly. We know that 2050 is going
> to be very different from any possible pictures of it we have today.

Granted. But I am concerned for this year, and the next, and the next ...
the quality of people's lives now. (Although I'm excited about the
possibilities to come, as well.)


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:23 MDT