Black and White

by Omar Abdelhamid

What do you consider blank?

If someone was to ask you to draw or express something blank, what would you draw?

Would you take an 8 1/2 by 11 piece of computer paper and not draw anything? Is the paper blank? White reflects in all light and absorbs none, so is the paper blank because it is free of absorbed color?

Or would you color the paper in pitch black? Black reflects no color and absorbs it all,making your eyes see no color. So would the paper be visually blank?

What does blank mean?

  1. (of a surface or background) unrelieved by decorative or other features; bare, empty, or plain.
    “the blank skyline”
    We see the descriptions bare, empty and plain in the definition of the word. Do any of these descriptions help us decide which color, black or white, is really blank?
    We could use some help in deciding what color is blank, and we do get it. All we need as a second opinion are the opinions of the English Language makers.
    It seems like the developers of our language gave the title of the “Blank” color to the color Black. And evidence of their opinions is clear, if you look at the words themselves. Black sounds very much like the word blank, and so the former may have derived from the meaning of the latter.
    Further proof of this connection, and another, different opinion on this matter, is found in the Spanish and Portuguese languages. Negro and Preto are the Spanish and Portuguese words for black respectively. But we can found a derivative of Blank in the words Blanco and Branco, the words, not for black, but for white, in Spanish and Portuguese respectively.
    So who is right, the creators of the Spanish and Portuguese language, who find blankness in white, or English language creators, who found black as the color expressing blankness?

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