Red light green light – children’s game to school-wide debate

Riverside students decide: what color are our different subjects, and why?

By Tate Gasch

When babies are born, they cannot immediately see color. Heathline, a medical information website, writes that it actually takes about 3-4 months for a baby to identify different shades and vibrancy. In other words, as we grow, we learn their names and develop relationships with the rainbow. 

Everyone has a favorite and least favorite color. How do people decide to like some more than others? Why do we associate different colors with different parts of our life. And which ones do students associate with school? 

Last week, the Pirates Hook surveyed over 100 Riverside students about what color they associate their different classes with. 

There has been an ongoing debate between students on social media over whether math is red or blue. After many strongly-willed responses to the question, Riverside’s results came back conclusive: math is red.

The overwhelming majority said that they chose red because it reminds them of anger. Red is commonly associated with danger and frustration. This is most likely because when we get angry, our faces flush with color and we turn…well, red. 

Flushing of the face is caused by the blood cells expanding. These cells are very close to the surface of your skin, which is what gives your face a pink undertone.

As for history, students seemed to be only a little less frustrated. The majority vote was yellow, with orange and red as close seconds. Four separate responses listed this reasoning as “old papers turn yellow, and the color reminds me of a vintage tint”.

“[History is yellow because] I wish I could pee on my history textbooks,” another student wrote. 

The color of textbooks and binders play a role in how students view certain subjects, too.  Color association is not always just how the colors make us feel, but what colors we see in those classes. 

One student listed that every history textbook had red on it and historical tales are often filled with spilling blood. Therefore, history had to be red.

Another student said they hated the color yellow and also hated history, so they automatically grouped them together. 

Riverside students voted science green, winning by a landslide. 

“It’s just common sense,” said one responder. “There is just no other option.”

The biggest reason listed for this is that living things are often green. From a young age, people associate trees and grass with green. Babies like brighter colors more because they are easier to see with their low visual acuity, according to the Ottawa School of Psychology. 

Assignment of colors begins even before we are born. We are all conditioned to know that if the center of a cake is blue, expectant parents are having a boy. It actually was not until the 1940s that the clothing industry decided to make girls clothing pink and boys clothing blue. Since then,  American society has used pink to  represent femininity and blue to represent masculinity. This assignment of colors happened simply by chance and has been the same ever since. 

At Riverside, this means that the subjects students like, and succeed in, will receive colors that make us positive and happy. Subjects most students despise, like math, will probably continue to be tossed aside. 

So really, is it a color, or is it possibly more than that? 

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