Tuesday, 12 January 2010


...de la Irish Times:

"Is blue the new black?" asked the headline on a recent blog entry by the BBC’s US correspondent.

He was writing about the film Avatar which, while making fortunes at the box office, has also set off a debate about racism.

Apparently some critics are irritated by its patronising portrayal of a blue-skinned race of noble savages, who need a white man to lead them against their (also-white) oppressors.

I haven’t seen the film yet so (a) I can’t comment and (b) I can’t give away the plot (something for which fans of The Wire -on-DVD may be sarcastically grateful).

But the aforementioned headline reminded me of a quirk of Irish-language vocabulary, about which an American reader inquired recently. In this sense, the answer to the BBC man’s question is No. Far from being the new black, blue is the old one.

In Irish, “black person” is translated as “duine gorm”. Thus, in the mother tongue of at least one of his ancestors, Barack Obama’s skin colour would be described, technically, as “blue”....

* "La Vorto Krŝn ( कृष्ण) signifas "la malhela", tial li estas ĉiam bildigita teorie malhelblua, kiel vespera ĉielo; sed ĉar en Hindio rasisma (antaŭ) juĝo favora al blanka haŭto daŭre mergiĝis (angle "pervading"), tiu "malhelbluo" ofte estas tre hela." ~ Vikipedio.

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