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EVERYTHING BUT – Yellow and blue!

Ridley Greene

EVERYTHING BUT – Yellow and blue!

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There is no yellow in our National Flag. In fact, it is gold that symbolizes the excellence we must perpetually pursue as we continue to grow in “strength and unity”. To replace our gold with a fraudulent yellow is to do an injustice to our sense of Independence and to scar our psyche irreparably. – Matthew D. Farley, the author I would rather not have named, had it not been for the recognition of intellectual property and common courtesy.
SOME PEOPLE ARROGATE TO THEMSELVES a precision of knowledge that really does not exist. You will forgive the antithesis.
People who are not painters, or students of painting, should stay away from dabbling in colours – unless they are just having harmless fun. The colour-blind, with a palette, always treads on very slippery ground.
A patriot, without a doubt, but no colourful debater, whom I wished I could have kept nameless, makes this brouhaha about the colours of the Barbados Flag and our abuse of their appellation.
“There is no yellow!” he thunders.
Well, wash my face!
And he makes a lukewarm claim that there is no blue either. Ultramarine and gold it is, he would insist. Deviate from this, and you are in detention!
Okay, we can become quite technical and declare that the standard colour codes for our Flag are ultramarine BCC 148 and gold BS O/002, as guided by the British Colour Council, symbolic of the same colonial entities we thought we would no longer be hamstrung by. Thank God there is no argument over the black as symbolized by the Broken Trident, the only thing that some among us would accept as severed.
But back to the ultramarine and gold, which Mr Farley says are not to be confused with blue and yellow. What exactly is ultramarine? The goodly man unconsciously refers to it as “that rich deep blue that reminds us of the sky reflected in our deep waters . . .”.
The Concise Oxford English Dictionary agrees: a brilliant deep blue . . . . Elsewhere ultramarine is defined as a synthetic deep blue.
And of gold, of which Mr Farley offers no description, the Concise Oxford says “a deep lustrous yellow or yellow-brown”. Elsewhere the colour of gold is defined as soft yellow, vivid yellow, and olive brown to dark yellow.
I agree that we should teach in our schools the specific hues of blue and yellow that make up the colours of our National Flag; but never must we indicate to our children that ultramarine is not blue, and that gold is not yellow, for it is a nonsense.
Further, songwriters will not be making any “error that will become forever etched in our sense of who we truly are” by simply relating to gold as yellow. Such a view is not only excessive in tautology, but reeks of intellectual masochism.
While I will concede that gold might be as easily used as yellow for any tune, ultramarine is not exactly a song word or a lyricist’s piece of cake. Blue would have to do – as it does for Mr Farley himself, who finally punctuates his argument with Blue, gold and black! Push it up!
I doubt our Flag’s designer, my old art teacher Mr Grantley Prescod, would have been over the top about blue, yellow and black. Unless one is using glitter gold, as permeates the parading bands on Kadooment Day, we will not get that band of hue upon which the Broken Trident rests unless we invoke yellow.
Of course, I have a problem with the imagery of the Flag’s gold representing sand on our beaches, which is variously described as yellow and white.
Truth be told, ultramarine and gold are basically the representative hues of blue and yellow respectively for the consistency of reproduction worldwide – which is never ever universally successful. Colour schemes in their varied media – screen and print included – are not all congruent.
Next we will be arguing that we shouldn’t refer to the Barbados National Flag as the Broken Trident; that the Broken Trident is that little stylized black icon in the middle.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. One should always seek more.