The phrase “Black is Beautiful” that swept the nation in the 1960s was heard frequently in my mother’s classroom.  Her students were surprised one day to walk in and see written boldly on the chalkboard, “Black is Not Beautiful.”

When the students, all of whom were black, began to object, she pointed out that black has come to symbolize unpleasant aspects of life.  She didn’t have the brain science to prove it, but she suggested that this may go back […]