November 7, 2009

Black Ink on White Paper

Photo: Notice all the banners, flags, and signs. They are all red with either white or yellow letters.

I would have never thought of this and could have gotten myself into a lot of trouble, but I am now culturally informed.

Our teammates told us a story of a Norwegian on their former campus. The Norwegian was part of a school club in Norway that took pictures wherever their members went holding a banner, much like Texas Tech alum taking pictures holding a huge double T flag. The Norwegian gathered a group of students together, unfurled the banner (white with black ink), and snapped the picture.

Later that night the students turned themselves in to campus authorities thinking they had unknowingly taken part in a protest. The authorities were quick to react and interview the Norwegian, almost sending him out of China.

I’ve now come to learn that white banners with black ink are only used for funerals and protests. That explains why all the banners around our campus are red with white letters. I just thought China loved red.

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