It’s come down to the second last letter of the alphabet. Today’s A to Z Blog Challenge blog entry is about the letter “Y”. I thought I’d pick a lighthearted topic today and blog about the word “yellow”. Most of us associate the word with the color, but there are literally hundreds of shades and variations of yellow, and each has a fancy designer name associated with it. We have sunshine, maize, mustard. lemon, just to name a few.
In Color Psychology, “yellow inspires original thought and inquisitiveness. Yellow is creative from a mental aspect, the color of new ideas, helping us to find new ways of doing things. It is the practical thinker, not the dreamer. Yellow is the best color to create enthusiasm for life and can awaken greater confidence and optimism. The color yellow loves a challenge, particularly a mental challenge.” If you’d like to know more, check out yellow.
Yellow is also the color of spring, at least it is in Eastern Canada, where the dandelions bloom wild all over the place. The flowers look nice for a short period of time–that is unless they take over your lawn and turn it into weed heaven. There are other yellow spring flowers I far prefer– daffodils, tulips, yellow irises and crocuses, but the dandelions last the longest, and my allergies hate them with a passion.
Yellow is a color associated with the heat and the sun. It’s usually the color of happy faces and good times, but yellow, like many words has a dark side. When things age and fade, especially things that are white, they tend to yellow. This is especially true of teeth. Remember those sweet pearly white baby teeth? It takes time, effort, and bleach to keep them that way as a adult. Everyone likes the sunshine, but no one likes yellow teeth. Back in the sixties, I remember a cute commercial where the native maiden turned away from the big, strong brave because he had yellow teeth. The jingle went,”You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.” I guess bleaching teeth has been around a lot longer than people remember.
Another negative side of yellow is its connotations of cowardliness. The lion in the Wizard of Oz claims he “ain’t yellow.” The term yellow-belly is an archetypal American phrase originating in England. Apparently, people from the fens were said to have yellow bellies like eels–not a popular thing I bet.
Finally, and probably the least pleasant aspect of yellow is a form of xenophobia I blogged about yesterday. The Yellow Peril, sometimes referred to as Yellow Terror was a term which originated in the late 1800’s to describe Chinese immigrants who came to work in Canada and the United States. Many worked in homes as servants—who can forget Hop Sing, the cook on Bonanza? Many of these men were responsible for the construction of the trans-continental railways in both countries. Referred to as coolies, they were treated abominably by people in both countries. The Tunnels of Moose Jaw will explain what was definitely not one of the brighter moments in Canadian history. The fear that the mass immigration of Asians would threaten so-called white wages and standards of living was unfounded and irrational, but fear makes people do terrible things.
The term was later associated with the Japanese during the mid-20th century, due to Japanese military expansion, and eventually extended to all Asians of East and Southeast Asian descent. During WWII, the fear the Japanese would attack and wage wars with western societies and eventually destroy them was rampant. Look how we responded to that threat. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some people say the Orient won in the long run–how many of us drive Japanese cars, own Japanese technology or wear clothing made in China. Have our cultures been destroyed because of it? Not really, changed , yes, because many products once made here are made there, but the Yellow Races aren’t top blame for that–corporate greed is. Think about that the next time you go bargain hunting.
Don’t forget to check out the other belg entries in today’s A to Z Blog Challenge.