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The "flesh" colored crayon: WTF?


While mulling over Crayola products at Toys "R" Us earlier today, I found myself wondering about the rosy-beige colored crayon once called "flesh." I knew the crayon didn't exist anymore – after all, it was completely ridiculous to label a crayon "flesh" when most people on the planet don't have skin that color -- but I do remember it from childhood and wondered whatever happened to Crayola's (arguably) racist crayon?

Back at home, Google enlightens me with her knowledge. Turns out, the crayon's name was changed in 1962 when the Civil Rights Movement started to heat up. That's more than a decade before I was scribbling on scratch paper, but I remember the crayon distinctly. I think it was in a coffee can filled with crayons at my grandma's house that was originally my older cousin's.

Actually, Crayola changed the name of this crayon in 1903, from "flesh tint" to "flesh" to "pink beige" and then back to "flesh." It finally switched for good to "peach" in '62.

In 1999, the crayon named "Indian red" was changed to "chestnut" because kids identified the color with Native Americans even though it was named after a dye from India. Other Crayola name changes over the years include "Van Dyke brown" which became plain ol' "brown," "Madder Lake" changed to "dark red," "rose pink" to "carnation pink" and "charcoal gray" became just "gray."

Talkbacks

LJ1 | Jan. 5, 2011 at 9:24 a.m. (report)

shockingly I just found that Lids.com has an text color option called Flesh Tone on their Custom Hat Design Lab. WOW

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poodiddles | Dec. 26, 2007 at 12:45 p.m. (report)

We noticed this in our kid's xmas crayons. It's now called Piggy Pink or something similar.

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martharea | Dec. 24, 2007 at 5:59 a.m. (report)

but they *do* offer multicultural colors! http://www.crayolastore.com/product_detail.asp?T1=CRA+58%2D7801&.

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LegallyBlonde | Dec. 23, 2007 at 9:54 p.m. (report)

I don't think of Gray and Charcoal Gray as the same. There is clearly a darker grainy aspect to the charcoal gray. Way to go, Crayola. You have fooled us again!

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