Brown by Any Other Name

After sifting through more than 250,000 names suggested by the public, the Crayola crayon people have renamed their Indian Red (its reddish-brown crayon) to Chestnut, in order to avoid misunderstandings over the color’s origin. Indian red, which dated back to 1958 and which Crayola said was based on a reddish-brown pigment commonly found near India, was dropped because teachers complained students thought it described the skin color of American Indians. The new name will appear on 15 million crayons each year beginning in September. It is only the third time in the company’s 96-year history that a color has been changed.

  • In 1958 Crayola renamed Prussian blue to midnight blue because children could no longer relate to Prussian history, according to teachers. In 1962 flesh was renamed peach to recognize that not everyone’s skin is the same shade.
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