oa Boleswa Journal of Theology, Religion and Philosophy - Black and white symbolical implications of an aesthetical polarization

Volume 1, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1817-2741



This paper attempts to show that the aesthetic opposition of black and white as aesthetic perceptible ""colours"" applied to the descriptionption of the density of human skin pigment (as it is still done, for example, in southern Africa) does not reflect aesthetic reality To make its case, the paper argues that human beings are not simply black or white in skin colour. This categorisation is not precise because the black and white scheme is a simplifying reductionism. Besides being a simplification and reductionism, the application of this colour scheme to humans is also wrong, because from the perspective of human perception black and white ""colours"" are opposites or extremes, while humans with contrasting skin pigmentations are by no means necessarily opposites or extremes. Another argument advanced in the paper is that this aesthetic opposition may lead to an anthropological extremism and thus to an ethical problem. The paper concludes with two normative suggestions, namely that the black and white scheme should be replaced with a non-binary scheme and that an individual should not be signified by her/his skin colour alone.

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