What Can Brown Do for You?

Black is my favorite color.  If you know me, you know it's true.

After hearing this last week, my 4 year-old niece instructed me that I would have to choose again, that my selection didn’t actually count.  She said that it was because black was really “all the other colors mixed together”.

It gives me an unholy amount of joy to tell you that this is a FAT LIE.  Preschool teachers been leading us astray for years, and we need to hold them accountable for their crime.  These are children, for heaven’s sake!

In truth, mixing all your colors will result in a glorious shade of outhouse brown.  Go ahead skeptics; add more dark colors to the pile.  Your paint will only get bluer.  And I will only get righter. 


You heard me.

The only accurate way to make the color black is to mix equal parts of the three primary colors. 

Cyan + magenta + yellow = black.

So next time I see her, I will have to gently explain to my niece that while the issue of black as a color is still debatable, her teacher passed her some phony evidence and her education has been laid on a foundation of alphabet soup and chocolate pudding (which she’ll probably be pretty excited about).

And to think that states are cutting school funding at a time like this. 

Do your duty and call your Senator.  Tell them you mean business.


They should be able to work together on this one.


  1. I was taught the other way around....that black is actually the absence of color and white is all colors. and every other color is really not that color at all but every other color but that color and what we are seeing is really just a reflection of the light and because that color is missing that is the color we see. weird.

  2. ya I thought white was all colors. like when you make the cool pinwheel type thing with all the color and when you pull the strings and get it spinning fast you only see white. but I like your blog non the less. :)

  3. You are both correct. In terms of making paint, the above is true, but in the physical reality around us, black is indeed the absence of all color. I don't know about the reflection vs. color thing Cuz, but it sounds pretty awesome. If I think of a bacony color though, do I get bacon?

  4. The brown thing I knew already- painting taught me that long ago. And yes, black is the absence of color because color requires light in order to be seen. This still seems silly to me. I was taught that t-shirt is only blue when there is light. If the light goes off, the t-shirt is now black. But if you turn the light on to check, or a flashlight, or open a window shade, it doesn't count because you added light again. As a third-grader I wanted my teacher to prove it. She told me to walk into a dark room without any light and to tell me what color everything is. I am still waiting for this to be proven false. If the wall was painted green, and it is still going to be green tomorrow, nothing happens at night to turn it black.....am I black at night?

    Colored light can be overlapped to create white light. Oh, and I learned the same thing as Nate- that the blue backpack is really every color except blue, because the blue is busy reflecting into your eyes. Where did they come up with these ideas??


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