Friday, September 26, 2008

Band Aids

I saw a guy with a band aid on his head, yesterday. He was Black and with a large group of homeless men of color. At first I saw the band aid on his head and thought he had cut himself and the raw skin was showing through- but then I realized it was one of this big H-shaped band aids you put on bigger cuts. It stuck out on his head- it was very obvious.
In a split second I came the conclusion that band aids were made for White people and that doesn't seem right. I cut the thought off thinking that was a little stupid and probably borne out of my tendency as a Sociology student to see race and class disparity in everything... but the logic of my conclusion stuck. I tried to explain it to Matt, just now, and here is what I came up with:
Band Aids are generally made to be "flesh colored" and it makes economic sense that the actual flesh-color chosen is that of more Caucasian tone, because Caucasians are the majority. Thus, Band Aids ARE made for white people. But is that wrong? I considered the reasoning for the flesh-color dye as opposed to a bleached white surface. I think that they are made to flesh-colored so that they blend in. But is this necessary? Only if there is an advantage to hiding your wounds- perhaps obvious injury is unsightly or offensive in some way; perhaps because it could mean you made a mistake and, thus, hurt yourself; maybe because you run the risk of being assessed as physically inadequate for... well, something. There is a social advantage to hiding, or at least avoiding unwanted attention to, an injury. At the very least we can say that this is true in the "white culture" because it is marketed that way.
But the fact that the majority of Band Aids are made this way still doesn't make a whole lot of sense because I think there is an argument to be made for the demographic that injuries actually occur to. Injuries happen when we face hazards, and, I speculate, the the majority of minority men work in semi-hazardous environments as opposed to the majority of White men. Now, it makes sense that the White men in hazardous jobs outnumber the men of color in hazardous jobs, but I don't think that's true... in fact, I'll do some research to verify that but I'm pretty sure that it was presented in a class I had last year that they are nearly even (if only white men versus all other men of color).

So... I'm just gonna end this post here, because it's been sitting in my draft section for a while. But it was an interesting observation I thought worth noting.

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