Culture: Race
Equal opportunities colour spec.   (+10)  [vote for, against]
simpler and more entertaining bureaucratic action

An Equal Opportunities form asks you for your ethnic origin, so that the organisation can check if it cares.

These are currently of the form of a set of checkboxes, which generally seem to lump all 'white' together, then have many variants for everything else.
Besides failing to take acount of politics, this also fails to deal properly with mixed-race individuals.

Some explanation is in order: I recently saw a TV program about twins who are different colours. The thing is that non-identical twins of different colours tend to surprise people (even more than brothers and sisters of different colours, which still surprise some people).
The upshot of this program was that the child of the unexpected colour will generally have difficulty describing their state. For example, a light-skinned child born to mixed-race, brown-skinned parents may not know what to do with the form.

I propose to replace this cumbersome, inaccurate system with a different method. This would utilise a process much like the Dulux Colour-click system. A photograph of a suitable patch of skin would be taken under standard conditions, framed by a callibrating border, and an average colour generated. This is then mapped to a suitable description.
Standard lighting conditions and area-averaging seem to be necessary; under non-standard conditions I picked various colours for myself including "Crushed cotton 1", "Summer Pecan 3" and "Natural Taupe 2".

This would have the following consequences:
People would not have to worry about their descent any more, and could instead give an objective measurement, and
assuming that discrimination is based on appearance rather than ancestry, this system would be more accurate at detecting it, and
it would be fun, and
you could find out what colours of paint to use to either create a room in a colour-scheme personally customised for yourself, or to paint walls against which you can hide (when naked).
-- Loris, Oct 15 2011

Dulux colour click
give yourself a pretentious colour shade. I bet it never states "pure, brilliant white" [Loris, Oct 15 2011]

for [AO] *flesh* was renamed in 1962!! http://en.wikipedia...ayola_crayon_colors
[xandram, Oct 17 2011]

article - "I'm black, my partner's white - stop asking me if this is my baby"
Why it matters.
Props to the girl who says "I describe my family as ice-cream flavours. I'm caramel. Mum is vanilla. Dad is chocolate. Ella is fudge and my youngest sister is butterscotch." [Loris, Jul 30 2021] [pocmloc, Jul 30 2021]

Color photos made dark people darker
for decades [4and20, Jul 30 2021]

[+] not only skin colour though: also % of epicanthic fold, eye colour, hair colour and curliness, etc.
-- FlyingToaster, Oct 15 2011

Whenever there is an 'other' option, I check that box and fill in 'Swedish-American'.

I suppose under this system I would use 'weathered warm- ecru with cream highlights'. Or I could go the Crayola route and simply state my color as 'flesh'. That's bound to cause some entertaining controversy.
-- Alterother, Oct 15 2011

I think Pantone numbers would be quite nice.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 15 2011

That's why I'd add 'highlights of cream' to make perfectly clear the nature of my hereditary Norse coloration. One could also include undertones as well, I suppose.
-- Alterother, Oct 15 2011

Crumpled linen 4 in some select untannable portions of my body that have no pigment.
-- RayfordSteele, Oct 15 2011

//But the question I have with this idea is, how do you do varying shades on different parts of the body?//

That's a good question, and one I don't have a full answer for.
One option would be to average from several large areas, perhaps from specified parts of the body.
However, at the moment people are generally free to say what they like and taken at their word. I suggest that the equivalent would be to allow the skin area (or areas) to be chosen freely, and at the time of their choosing. Then if you don't like the name of the colour you get you can go on holiday somewhere sunny, or scan a different piece of skin and try again.
-- Loris, Oct 15 2011

Perhaps a 64-tone color chart could be included with the forms, with perforations so you can punch out the swatches and hold them up to your skin.
-- Alterother, Oct 15 2011

//how do you do varying shades on different parts of the body?//

The form could include two humanoid silhouettes (front and back) which you'd annotate, using the 64- tone chart.
-- mouseposture, Oct 15 2011

How about mandatory full colour naked full length front and back portraits on all official documentation?
-- pocmloc, Oct 16 2011

Possibly because that would result in celebrities resident's parking permit applications changing hands for five-figure sums ?

the idea itself is not without merit.
-- 8th of 7, Oct 16 2011

[pocmloc] We're nearly at that point, anyway, what with mandatory monochrome 3-d naked portraits required for air travel.
-- mouseposture, Oct 16 2011

sounds like we are trying to solve the problem that people are racist by forcing everyone to become keenly aware of their own and other peoples skin color. Why? I thought the whole goal was to arrive at a place where actual skin tone was NOT an issue.
-- WcW, Oct 16 2011

//whole goal was to arrive at a place where actual skin tone was NOT an issue//

A long-time coach of our local professional sports team quit unexpectedly. His replacement is a person of exceedingly low reflectance - just slightly up the blue from pure black - with a blindingly white smile. The television camera crew was unprepared for the challenge, so for all the games of a two week road trip all of the halftime interviews showed what looked like a black hole cut into the background. With a smile in it.
-- lurch, Oct 17 2011

//The goal is to find out how many people of certain skin tones are being discriminated against, to better identify employers who are discriminating on that basis and take action against them.//

21 Quest is correct in that this is the goal of the Equal Opportunities system. However :

//whole goal was to arrive at a place where actual skin tone was NOT an issue//

This is a hidden objective for this idea, and behind some of the choices I've made in describing it.
For example, the main reason for using a paint scheme is that these have a wide variety of shades, all named with the most psychologically positive connotations the marketing department could find.
Bullies from the schoolyard up would have a much harder time of it when everyone scans differently in a multi-dimensional space.
That's also why I'd like to keep the output simple, and allow leeway for people to choose their own colour.
-- Loris, Oct 17 2011

We're uniformly pale grey ...
-- 8th of 7, Oct 17 2011

which is strangely also the color of zombies. Let's face it, Borg were just the zombies of Star Trek TNG. Quick, say 'BRAINS!' for us!

As for me, Pantone P-24-6-U in most places.

I predict an upswing in the sale of shoepolish after this law enactment.
-- RayfordSteele, Oct 17 2011

How about category: Science : Skin
I think I'm *desert sand* and *peach* and when I'm TAN I'm *tumbleweed*!! (crayola new names!)
-- xandram, Oct 17 2011

// Quick, say 'BRAINS!' for us! //

"UUUuuurrrhhhh ... BUh-RAins ... BUh-RAins ....!"


Oh dear.
-- 8th of 7, Oct 17 2011

<hefting cricket bat>

[21], you want the one on the right, or the left?
-- Alterother, Oct 17 2011

<lurches slowly away, arms outstretched to front, muttering" Buh…RAins…">
-- 8th of 7, Oct 17 2011

Nothing to interest you here, then.
-- mouseposture, Oct 17 2011

//How about category: Science : Skin//

I did try really hard to find an appropriate section. I think we need a Public : Bureaucracy category.

(fixed - for some reason my internal checker habitually fails on this word)
-- Loris, Oct 18 2011

Would that be before or after the Public: Spelling category ?
-- 8th of 7, Oct 18 2011

I thought [Loris] was proposing a new form of Ursine-led Government.
-- hippo, Oct 18 2011

Oh great, they've already got guns, now they get votes too …?
-- 8th of 7, Oct 18 2011

//I thought the whole goal was to arrive at a place where actual skin tone was NOT an issue.//

If you're interested, [WcW], I think there's a place in Christopher Hitchens' memoir where he describes the tipping point - some time in the 1970s - from trying to minimize victimhood to making it a point of vanity.
-- pertinax, Oct 18 2011

// Oh great, they've already got guns, now they get votes too …? //

You're too late. I've been arming bears and teaching them to vote for months now.

Bit of a trick to it, though--I've had to modify the AR-15s with arctic trigger gaurds to accomodate the bears' thick fingers. Haven't yet figured how to stop them demolishing the voting booths, but I'm hopeful a solution will be found by November.
-- Alterother, Oct 18 2011

Which gives the bears more power & influence: votes or guns?

Trick question: the answer is "neither." We can start worrying when they get money.
-- mouseposture, Oct 18 2011

No chance of that. They're all communists. Seems they figured out how to make it work. Ironic, no?
-- Alterother, Oct 18 2011

Loris, skin color/ race is not a subject tread lightly in the US
-- Zimmy, Oct 26 2011

Yes, but here at the Halfbakery we're all a light golden- brown.
-- Alterother, Oct 26 2011

Or, as in _Lathe of Heaven_, a uniform shade of gray.
-- mouseposture, Oct 26 2011

"skin color/ race is not a subject tread lightly in the US"

And while it is taken so seriously, it will continue to be a problem.

Why do we take such a trivial attribute as skin colour so seriously? It's clearly less of an issue in itself than, for example, height. I've not heard of the existence of any short supremacist groups. (Before anyone starts, Napoleon was of average height for his time)

Race is not a problem. Racists are a problem. Perhaps the focus should be on dealing with racists rather than dealing with race.

I suggest a more appropriate question on an equal opportunities form might be "Do you consider your ethnicity to be important in defining yourself?"
-- Twizz, Oct 27 2011

// We can start worrying when they get money. //

Worry now. Haven't you heard of bearer bonds ?
-- 8th of 7, Oct 27 2011

// Race is not a problem. Racists are a problem. //

Agreed. Unfortunatly, this goes both ways. Living in a place with an almost entirely caucasion population, I see not only the kind of ingrained, unthinking racism born not of actual hatred but of generations of ignorance. But I have also witnessed a few instances of 'pre-emptive racism', minority individuals assuming they will be greeted by racist attitudes and thus adopting an anti-white attitude from the outset. It doesn't happen all the time, but it sucks for everyone when it does.
-- Alterother, Oct 27 2011

Really the problem is not what a person thinks he is, but what the employer thinks he is. If I am a dark skinned subcontinental Indian but my supervisors think I am african american, what is more important? The race question should be filled out by consensus among supervisors/placement officers at some period after the person has accepted and taken their new position.
-- bungston, Oct 27 2011

Frankly, I'm at a loss as to why it's still important, but then again, even the two black people who live in my community don't think it's very important either (I have personally heard them say as much). Maybe it only matters in civilised places.
-- Alterother, Oct 27 2011

Two practical reasons why skin colour is important:

People with lighter skin in sunnier places are at increased risk of sunburn and skin cancer (mitigable with sun-tan lotion).
People with darker skin in dingier places risk vitamin D deficiency (preventable by dietary intake).

But then, that's why people have different colours to begin with.
-- Loris, Oct 27 2011

Understood, but I meant that I don't know why it's important to the bureaucratic machinery of society, i.e. why we have paper forms requiring us to denote our skin color when the reason for filling out said forms has nothing to do with racial heritage. Other than the census, I question the relevancy of this data (yes, I know about affirmative action/equal opportunity, but again, relevancy?). But like I said, I'm not a member of a racial minority and I live in a place where overt, actively-prejudicial racism is as rare as those it might target. For whatever reason, Mainers frown upon baseless hatred.
-- Alterother, Oct 27 2011

"What race are you?"
"Er, where are you from, then?"
Those answers solve a lot of problems. (I haven't used them "officially" yet, but the next census isn't far away...)
-- neutrinos_shadow, Aug 01 2021

random, halfbakery