Remember the “Brights”?

Oy, that was an ugly misstep. It was foolish to try and label your identity something that makes everyone outside your group feel like you’re calling them dim.

But now some tiny group of people have started a really stupid meme campaign to relabel “white people” as “people of light”. I don’t think you can do that accurately, unless you’re so white you glow in the dark.

Anyway, I’ve put a few of their goofy memes below the fold if you want to laugh at them.

It seems this is actually an anti-marketing campaign by the tribe of trolls at one of the chans. I think the idea is to ridicule the label “people of color” by making up a not-very-equivalent term and inducing people to criticize it, so they can then turn around and likewise criticize minority groups. It’s obvious and not very effective.

But then, you’re not going to find very insightful people chumming the waters at 8chan.


  1. Artor says

    Wow, speaking as someone who is so white I do actually glow, that’s really fucking stoopid.

  2. DonDueed says

    So what is an antonym for “people of color”?

    People of Pale
    People of Washed-Out
    People of Pastel
    People of Monochrome
    People of Minimum Setting On the Chroma Slider

  3. Andrew David says

    If usage can be limited to the folks who brought us the word, “cucks,” I vote for the abbreviation “caucs.”

  4. says

    It’s not for me to say and it ultimately doesn’t matter to me
    and I’ll use the preferred terminology but I don’t understand why people of color was selected. It just feels like a backwards colored people to me.

  5. HappyHead says

    I prefer “person with hereditary chronic melanin deficiency”, as it properly reflects my tendency to burst into flames when exposed to direct sunlight.

  6. says

    @10 Saad: Works for me, though I’m sad to see the name pre-empted (once again): If I ever became a punk rocker, that was going to be my stage name.

  7. raven says

    We are not white.
    We are the people of various shades of pinkish tan.

    We are also the people who sun burn easily and shouldn’t be living too close to the equator.

  8. militantagnostic says

    How about “Light and Delightsome” from the Book of Mormon.
    Also, how swarthy can a person be and still qualify as a person of light? Do southern Italians, Greeks, Armenians etc.qualify? Are they people of filtered light?

  9. leerudolph says

    unless you’re so white you glow in the dark.

    As a layman whose experience with bioluminescence is limited to a very few examples (chiefly fireflies a.k.a. lightning bugs, and some sort or another of tiny marine life occasionally encountered in sea surf or on wet sands near the waterline), I suppose there could be critters that glow white in the dark; but I’d guess tinted light would be cheaper and easier to produce. Any experts in the house?

  10. robro says

    Kip T.W. @ #9 — “Pllights. No that sounds wrong.” Sounds right to me: Plight — a dangerous, difficult, or otherwise unfortunate situation. But then “Bigots of Lights” could be “Blights.”

    Mike Smith @ #7 — “feels like a backwards colored people” Bingo

  11. llyris says

    “We are not ‘white’, we are people of light” beige.
    There, I fixed it.
    On the other hand, I’m not white, I’m translucent, especially in winter.

  12. Robert Serrano says

    And here I thought the reason we came up with People of Color as a term is because, historically, white people have considered being white to be a necessary precondition to being a person. Silly me. But now I have seen the light.

  13. maia160 says

    The folks over at the root came up with the moniker mayosapiens. It’s perfect!

  14. Ragutis says

    Lack of color makes me think “clear” or “transparent”, just like their motives.

    I’d like to think that this could be simply laughed off and dismissed, but today, in Trump’s America, I won’t be at all surprised to see it gain traction.

    I feel that I have to give Trump some credit. If not for his campaign, winning the Presidency, and subsequent actions, I might have continued to dismiss the blatant, proactive racism alive in this country as gnats buzzing around the periphery of our politics.

  15. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    @Mike Smith,

    The problem with using the past participle “colored” for people is that it implies that something was done to add that color to a colorless base; in other words, that white is the default. “People of color” doesn’t carry the same implication (and it’s also used more broadly, not just to refer to people of recent African descent).

    But more to the point, if it’s the term preferred by the people it references, the rest of us should use it.

  16. says

    I think someone should explain, especially since “people of color” is primarily a US term, that the memes are totally wrong about the rationale for “people of color”. “People of color” is not the politically correct replacement for “Black people”. “Black people” is fine, and often necessary (see: “Black lives matter”). “People of color” is a broader term, basically referring to everyone except White, non-Latino, non-mixed people. If you say “people of color” when you’re really just talking about Black people, as an Asian American I will make a sad face.

  17. phlo says

    The overly pale skin, the dead eyes, the identical, creepy smiles…

    These people look like the cast of a teenage vampire movie ten years down the line. “People of Light” would even work as a title.

  18. robro says

    What a Maroon @ #30

    The problem with using the past participle “colored” for people is that it implies that something was done to add that color to a colorless base; in other words, that white is the default.

    As you probably know, many of these people believe that god “colored” these people. They also tend to be lousy a conventional American English. Now I’m fixin’ to call into a meetin’, ya’ll have good time…ye hear.

  19. petesh says

    @11: I like “person with hereditary chronic melanin deficiency” mostly because of the last word.

  20. Zeppelin says

    I’m actually surprised “people of colour” is still around at all. The term seems to me to reinforce the “default” vs. “other” distinction where “white” isn’t a salient skin colour, but anything non-white is. We usually try to avoid that sort of thing nowadays, right? “Non-white” seems more straightforward and descriptive.
    Am I missing something? I’m not familiar with the history of the term.

  21. says

    @quatguy 38: That’s been how we did it for all the centuries that white people owned or looked down on everyone else. We were the default, and if you didn’t specify, then it meant us.

    I think those days are over. If you’re going to specify anybody, then specify everybody. No race, gender, or religion gets to be the assumption.

    “Snowflakes” is now the presumed leader with two votes in addition to the person suggesting it (who may be presumed to be in favor of the name). I hereby declare victory for Saad.

    (As to belligerent/fragile status quo fanciers in comment sections, I have been calling them ‘soapbubbles’ for a little while now anyway.)

  22. says

    BTW I find “Brights” rather cute and it was (IIRR) fashioned after “Gays”, which of course makes everyone out of that group feel like a miserable bastard.

  23. vucodlak says

    I usually identify as a creature of the night, or a denizen of the dark places. I would, however, be fine with being identified as a member of the “people of the fish belly.” In my case, it would be “person of the hairy fish belly.”

  24. Nentuaby says

    Zeppelin: “Non-whites” is deprecated because it’s strongly negatively-framed– it defines the people it names as the absence of the dominant trait, rather than one they posess. Of course PoC is still somewhat implicitly negative in the sense that you point out, but that’s unavoidable at some level– that’s how the social phenomenon being named works.

  25. anbheal says

    @6 Andrew David — that has a variety of permutations that would work. Yes, some of the obvious ones smack of homophobia, but that’s what make them so apt for the alt-right cuck crowd. Their obsession with BBC is, em, revealing.

  26. monad says

    @44: But wasn’t that the point? An average person from Iran isn’t actually any more similar to your average people from Thailand and Kenya than they are to your average person from France. The only reason to talk about them as one group is because they are all treated differently than white people. If you genuinely want positive categories, they are there – Iranian, Thai, Kenyan, and for that matter French.

  27. Gregory Greenwood says

    I like HappyHead’s approach @11 – I have long thought of myself as melanin deficient, especially when I have to hide under a rock whenever the sun comes out lest I immediately begin to burn, and that is in the UK, where we don’t tend to get the highest temperatures or the most intense sunlight most of the time.

  28. rabbitbrush says

    I do like maia160’s contribution @28, “Mayosapiens.” That is so fine! MiracleWhipsapiens, although more appropriate, is just too cumbersome.

  29. rietpluim says

    All right, if you are looking for an antonym of “people of color” then find an antonym of “color”, unless you mean to dehumanize yourselves and find an antonym of “people”.

    Hint: “light” is not an antonym of “color”. These two phenomenons are so intimately entwined I’d almost call them synonyms.

  30. Sili says

    I’ve taken to calling myself and my comcolorics “pig-danes” since it covers both pigmentation and dietary niche.

  31. =8)-DX says

    Ah yes, I seem to remember this chan message board what was it called? White People? WP? So People of Light? … wait. POL?

    Point at the trolls and laugh at their transparent horribleness and open bigotry.

  32. quatguy says

    @41 Kip – The intent of my comment was to convey the idea that everyone should just be called “people”; including “people of colour” etc. We are all just “people” first and foremost.

  33. jacksprocket says

    EM Forster’s protagonist Fielding in A Passage To India blotted his copybook by describing himself as “pinko-grey”.

    I’m neither proud of my colour nor ashamed of it. I didn’t choose it, and as anyone will tell you I’m not noted for aesthetic gumption. But I notice when, in local news reports, the suspect is described as “Asian”, “Black”, or Eastern European” in appearance. Only occasionally is “White” (or “white”) mentioned as a detail, it’s just assumed.

  34. rietpluim says

    Only occasionally is “White” (or “white”) mentioned as a detail, it’s just assumed.

    So it is exceptional when the suspect is a person of color?
    That’s one implication of white privilege no one ever thought about.

  35. says

    quatguy, I don’t know you or your motives, but to me this is uncomfortably close to the reflex “ALL Lives Matter!” when someone has the temerity to suggest that (in the fact of continuing oppression, including unpunished murder) “Black Lives Matter.”

    It might be a valid response if bigotry didn’t exist, but it does exist, and it feels like an attempt to make the debate stop so the privileged won’t be discomfited by it.

  36. Mark Smith says

    I self-identify as a Pasty-American. (Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.)

  37. Zeppelin says

    Nentuaby: Thank you! I can see where they’re coming from.

    Though I’m not sure I find the (grammatically) “negative” labelling particularly problematic — it seems more honest to the way the US racial caste system actually works. These people get lumped together not because they “have colour”, but because they don’t have the one “right” colour. POC really aren’t a group except in a purely negative definitional sense and in the minds of people too ignorant to tell them apart.
    It’s like how I prefer to call people “non-Germans” rather than “foreigners”, even though the former is technically “negative” while the latter is “positive”. “Foreigner”, to me, implies that “being foreign” is an identity.

  38. rq says

    ‘People of light’? Please. They haven’t seen the deep and impenetrable darkness of my heart.
    In the meantime, you’re all welcome to join me in the potato cellar. As requested, cool and dry, no sunlight. And eyes… everywhere, eyes… Watching… Waiting… Growing…

    Sorry, got a little carried away there. Bring a flashlight, in any case.
    Unless, quite conveniently, you are a glowing person of light. In which case it might be best to repair to the nuclear containment facility, but since I don’t have one, the potato cellar it is.

  39. vucodlak says

    @ rq, #58

    In the meantime, you’re all welcome to join me in the potato cellar.

    The potato cellar!?! Yuck! There are bugs down there.

    Tasty, tasty bugs…

  40. says

    There’s a fair point here. “White” skin is less white than pink, as others have pointed out. And chances are a solid majority of those pushing this have a great deal of hyper-fragile toxic masculinity. “Pink people” would target that nicely.

  41. Gregory Greenwood says

    rq @ 58;

    In the meantime, you’re all welcome to join me in the potato cellar. As requested, cool and dry, no sunlight. And eyes… everywhere, eyes… Watching… Waiting… Growing…

    I take it is a ‘come for a place to hide your pallid, melanin depived flesh from the burning orb of torment in the sky sun, stay to be sacrificed to a horrifying, non-Euclidean Outer God’ kind of deal?

    Eh, still less painful than third degree sun burn…

  42. etfb says

    In heraldry, there are five colours — red, black, blue. green and purple — and two metals — yellow and white. We use “tincture” the way normal English uses “colour”, because “colour” specifically means the darker shades and metal means the lighter ones. The metals are so-called because of the romantic conceit that yellow is gold and white is silver, though actually painting your shield with metallic paint is a total rookie mistake.

    Given that it’s generally the white people in the world who have more gold and silver than the People Of Colour, I think they (we) should be called the People Of Metal.

    See? It’s not just the modern sciences that can provide an insight into this crap!

  43. naturalcynic says

    People of metal could be misspelled as “people of mettle” indicating competence and determination – something that should be avoided.
    “People of light” can also have negative connotations, such as lightweight.
    Or we could change light to its adjective so I would call myself “lightly pigmented”, but I’m not really lightly pigmented everywhere – I’m more “mottled”.

  44. Ragutis says

    I’m pretty sure if I tried to put on my old Reign in Blood or Among the Living tour shirts, I’d look like a grossly overstufffed sausage, but I’d still like to get in on this People of Metal thing if possible.

  45. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    We don’t glow. It’s more the colour of fish meat. Shouldn’t we be the “People of Salmon”?

  46. chigau (違う) says

    In the first picture up there,
    the one with the seven-clone in their interning-at-a-law-office duds,
    who is that blurred-out individual on the far left?
    Is that a gun-shot wound to the chest?

  47. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Good question.

    I think it looks a lot like a red light flashing to the beat of Pete Shelley’s HomoSapien.

    Homo Superior
    In my Interior
    But from the skin out
    I’m a Homosapien too.

    That song spawned **so many giggles** at my elementary school.

  48. jack16 says

    The late Harry Golden (The Carolina Israelite) suggested the use of the word colorless. Perhaps:”The cast of the play consisted of both colored and colorless actors. ” . . . Suggestions?


  49. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Come to think of it, “decolored” would be evolutionarily accurate.

  50. rq says

    Gregory @62
    I don’t know what you mean. That’s not an altar, that’s the old engraved stone dining table centrepiece, been in the family for mille… years. Potato?

  51. fledanow says

    I like People of the Blue Tracery, which is kind of pretty until you try to say POTBT.

    Also, “snowflakes” made me grin sardonically and “behold a pale horse’s arse” made me laugh aloud.

  52. says

    lol I actually think that one argument made at the time was “actually” that creationists would logically become the “dims” (something I don’t entirely disagree with), if the movement called itself Brights. I still think it was an idiot decision, but apparently, no one listened to those who looked at the possible involvement with them who argued that it was a bad idea.

  53. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Smells exactly like the “#DropTheB” campaign that 4chan thought up and tried to promote a few weeks ago. Also, “People of Light” = pol, so it’s not exactly subtle.

  54. auntbenjy says

    I’d like to register a vote for “melanin deficient”, as I live under an ozone hole, and have genetically Scottish skintone. More melanin would seem to be eminently sensible.
    As an aside, the mad-scientist husband has a plan to insert chloroplasts into human skin to see if we can photosynthesise. I’d put my hand up for green. Just got to get it past the ethics committee… :P

  55. says

    I sometimes use “person of pallor”. The problem is, people keep hearing “person of power”, no matter how carefully I pronounce the “L”s.

  56. PaulBC says

    I count myself among “people who burn” or perhaps “melanin challenged.” On the bright side, I save lots of money on vitamin D supplements. If I stay in the shadows, I don’t spend all the extra cash on sunblock. (Or I can do the thing with my coat that Spike used to do on Buffy.)
    I first heard “people of color” back in the 80s in college. It’s not my favorite phrase, but it’s really not about me. Isn’t it a little late to be making it into an issue?

  57. cherbear says

    78 @ck I’m afraid to ask about it but, what’s drop the b? I really don’t want to do a search.