Gentle Brown and Barely Black

“Why does everything have to be about race?”

That’s what my husband asked me jokingly just now after I asked him why the names of the pantyhose I put in our online cart are so…pc.  I mean, for real, “Barely Black”?  How can I not think about race, especially when the only two pairs that will look good on me are that pair and “Gentle Brown”?  Why can’t I buy a pair of plain brown stockings?  How about coffee brown or maybe even chocolate brown?  Why do they have to come with attitude adjusters?  And why can’t I buy a pair of just black stockings?  Why do they have to be baaarely black or jet?

At least “jet” didn’t come with a subtle behavior suggestion like Sweet Jet or Non-Rebel Jet.

I can’t help how my mind discerns things sometimes.  When I see a shade like Gentle Brown, I think of a docile Indian, Hispanic, or Native American woman, trying her best to not display the joyfulness or outspokenness that her people are known for.  When I see Barely Black, images from my junior year African-Americans in Film class fill my head and I think about the actors and actresses that were successful because they were either barely Black or pretended to be barely Black.  (“Can’t make the White folks uncomfortable, now.”)

And how much Black crosses the line from Barely to Middle-of-the-Road to Full On?  In my dating days, Black men would often accuse me of not acting Black.  But I am Black so however I do act is acting Black.

Maybe I deserve a pair of Barely Black pantyhose….

set of sexy legs isolated on white background

And let me just point out that most of the other shade choices are seemingly non-racist: white, nude, natural, classic navy, Café Au Lait, soft taupe.  No, there are no adjectives to describe the white person that will choose those stockings.  It’s just natural – just another shade.

Nude is a lie, by the way.  It’s not nude at all but, instead, this unflattering yellowish-whitish color.  I made the mistake of buying nude stockings once as a teenager…real eye-opener.  Only people who have a one-sided view of the world will label a product that could be for everyone in a manner that discriminates against the minority.  Of course, Yellowish-Whitish doesn’t have the same ring to is as Nude.

Nude pantyhose will never be nude on me.  This company’s Natural will never be my natural.  Are they expecting me to feel bad about that?  Are they thinking that by calling me Gentle Brown, I will be more at ease with a pair of white “natural” pantyhose?  Or are they afraid that their majority customers will get angry if they had to wear a pair of Full On Black pantyhose?

Or do they just really suck at creativity and naming conventions?

I think I will start my own line of pantyhose and have shades like Angry Black, Loud Brown, and Rose Glasses White.  People might be offended, but at least they would know exactly what shade they would be getting.


PS.  I realize that this post might come off as an angry rant, but I’m actually quite amused this time.  🙂  Perceived racism and all, I still bought the dang stockings.


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