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Pinko-Beige, or, Angiosperm Power

"The remark that did him most harm at the club was a silly aside to the effect that the so-called white races are really pinko-grey.”—E. M. Forster, A Passage to India (1924)


If I were brown I might think of myself as “black”;

But I am “white”; I don’t think of me as that.

A century ago Morgan Forster supposed himself “pinko-grey,”*

But I’m rather on the “pinko-beige-ish” side, I’d say.

It matters little now in any case

Since we’re all soon headed for the other place,

And human shades will there be less than classic—

We might as well have bloomed in the Jurassic!



Charles Darwin called the sudden appearance of the Angiospermae, or flowering plants, a 100 million years ago in the Jurassic era  “an abominable mystery” (

“Beige is variously described as a pale sandy fawn color, a grayish tan, a light-grayish yellowish brown, or a pale to grayish yellow. It takes its name from French, where the word originally meant natural wool that has been neither bleached nor dyed” (


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