Sometimes we need to look at the colors “inside the box” of our social groups, corporations and institutions to examine what kind of diversity truly surrounds us.

Did you know that in the 1960’s—our favorite crayon company, Crayola®, put the color “Flesh” inside a box?  The beige-like skin tone color matched most Caucasians and it wasn’t until a social researcher happened to notice that children using the shade were teasing darker-skinned classmates who didn’t match the crayon, that the issue was raised!  He wrote to the company—amidst the social awareness fervor of the decade—to request that they rename the crayon.  At first, the executives did not “see the problem.” After a couple of back-and-forth years with the name ‘Pink Beige’ for some reason, Crayola® eventually changed, ‘Flesh’ to become ‘Peach.’  The consciousness-raising continued and in later years, ‘Indian Red’ became ‘Chestnut.’

Take a look around to see what colors are in your own social boxes—who feels comfortable in expressing who they really are—with you, your team, within your department and company?  What can we do, as managers and co-workers—to stop the labeling and celebrate our differences, rather than have them divide us?

After all, there’s still great excitement—and nostalgia—when opening a new box of Crayola® crayons.  Their ultimate collection now has 152 different colors!

What’s in your palette?


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


Other articles you may be interested in: