A Matter of Colour


Taking up Reena’s Exploration Challenge #86
by Reena Saxena. The challenge is to write based on the following phrase ” bleeding edge”. Thanks for the mind prompt Reena.

Professor Geoffrey Random pondered a dilemma. Should he apply for the research money or hide his discovery till he thought the world was ready. He had tried to think through the implications of his discovery and the down side of unexpected consequences of implementing his research. You can plan and plan but the human mind is complex and can deviate from expected norms of behaviour given the right circumstances. He sighed, uncertain of what to do, trying to clear his mind and crystalize his thoughts. He unexpectedly came to his decision. I’ll accept the government grant, proceed with perfecting my research and hang the consequences. My research is bleeding edge and I will not deny humanity it’s chance for change.

Professor Random despaired over the prejudices of the human species in reacting to different skin tones. His scientific mind accepted skin tone as just a biological fact, based on skin pigmentation evolving to regulate the amount of ultraviolet radiation penetrating the skin. The closer to the equator, the higher the amount of UVR, thus the mutation of DNA in the skin cells. He shook his head in astonishment over the term ‘ people of colour’ to refer to a specific skin tone. Are we not all people of colour, black, brown, white and all the shades in between. Why do we insist on this continuous bickering over variations in skin colour. He was determined to solve this issue.

He started with experiments in manipulating the gene that determined skin colour, but had no success. He then proceeded to study melanin, the main determinant of skin colour. He worked on the biology of skin colour for five years but was unable to come up with a workable method of how to change skin pigmentation. Realization soon began to dawn that he was taking the wrong approach. It was not about changing the body colour itself but other peoples perception of the colours they see.

The colour we see is determined by the wave length of reflected light. Millions of tiny cone cells in the retina respond to light, zap the signal along the optic nerve to the visual cortex of the brain which processes the information and returns with the colour. What if we could manipulate the wavelength of reflected light to deceive the retina into interpreting this information a specific way to fool the cortex into returning specific colours. He experimented on this hypothesis for a further five years and came up with a prototype nanobot which when injected into the human body would transmit a signal to change an observers perception of skin colour. Due to limitations in the nanobots frequency function only the main colours of violet, blue, green, yellow, orange and red were available. It was this prototype that was submitted to the government for research funds.

Professor Random received the news that his research funds were approved and proceeded with his work, transforming the nanobot prototype into a workable model over two years. For marketing purposes the nanobot was concealed inside a pill that was to be taken orally with a glass of water. The colour of the pill determined the perceived colour of your skin. He then hired 500 volunteers for testing and after a further six months submitted the finished product for government testing. It took a further year to obtain government approval and he was finally ready to market.

Advertising was extensive, extolling the many benefits of exotic skin colours and public acceptance was immediate. What Professor Random failed to predict was that a whole new colour identity social structure was about to be born. He naively thought that colour would be an individual choice rather than a group identity choice. The first adherents of this new technology were the LGBT community who adopted violet as their colour of choice. This was quickly followed by environmentalists who chose green. Followers of political parties soon jumped on board with conservatives adopting blue and liberals/socialists/progressives/communists adopting red. Religious leaders frowned on this new technology and forbid their followers to take part. This resulted in many followers leaving their religion and attaching themselves to a colour identity for economic reasons. The one exception were Buddhists who adopted yellow for enlightenment. Orange was left for ANTIFA and other anti society groups.

Soon a whole new society emerged based strictly on skin colour. The entertainment and fashion industry would only accept people with violet skin. Main street media companies would only allow people with red skin and major industrial business and finance companies would only employ people with blue skin. Mental health issues increased substantially, especially among sports followers, who were conflicted between buying the pill based on their sports team colours or social ideology. Governments continued to appeal to its colour discrimination policies but evidence of your beliefs were attached to skin colour and so it was easy for corporations to reject applicants as being unqualified.

There was a major side effect to the colour pill that quickly became apparent. A red progressive became disillusioned with his ideology and decided to change to blue. He purchased the required blue pill, swallowed and the nanobots started emitting different frequencies which fried his brain into a vegetative state. After this was discovered and Professor Random’s company paid out $10 billion in compensation to the victim’s family, the drug was forced from the market by government decree. Another failed social experiment. Be very careful of bleeding edge technology.

20 thoughts on “A Matter of Colour

  1. I appreciate the methodical way you walked through all of this. Humans are going to set up an “us and them” no matter what attribute it is based upon. Why is the big question!

    Like

  2. This is brilliant, Len!

    All paths of discrimination lead to the ultimate one – haves and have-nots, and then the battle begins. The have-nots need something else for self-esteem, so invent another ideology. The basic problem, IMHO, is that all positive human traits like intelligence, beauty, creativity etc. cannot produce outcomes equal in material value, or add to GDP.

    Thanks for the very inspiring piece!

    Like

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