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# Why are 'black' and 'white' not regarded as colours?

Question #25658. Asked by Russ5. (Dec 28 02 10:53 PM)

Guru???

I was always led to believe that white was the combination of all colours, i.e. white light being split into the colours of the spectrum when passed through a prism and black was the absence of colour (or your torch batteries were dead)

 Dec 28 02, 10:59 PM
student

because in the light spectrum, white is the convination of all colors (colours... are you from australia?) and black is not a color because it has no colors...
*even i got confused, and i said it!*

 Dec 28 02, 10:59 PM
student

what he said

 Dec 28 02, 11:00 PM

White is the absence of color, black is all colors. On a rainy day, food drops of food coloring in clear cups is a great smaller kids learning activity. All you need are the primary colors!

 Dec 28 02, 11:06 PM
student

yeah... in food coloring it is. but in light (which is what we see) it is the other way arround

 Dec 28 02, 11:10 PM
sequoianoir

The colour of an object as determined by the human eye, interpreted by the brain and then labelled as red or green etc, is down to the light that the said object has reflected.
If when illuminated by pure white light an object appears to be red, it is because it has absorbed the blue and green parts of the white light but reflected the red component.
If it appears white, then it absorbs nothing and reflects everything.
If it appears black, then it absorbs everything and reflects nothing.
Thus black and white are not true colours .
Perhaps an easier way to perceive this is to consider looking at an object that is illuminated by light of a specific colour.

An object that is regarded as white - will be seen as red under red illumination. Green in green light and blue in blue light.
This is because a 'white' object reflects all light.
A 'black' object will be black no matter what colour light it is illuminated by, since it absorbs all light that falls on it.
Any object that is a combination of the primary colours (such as yellow, orange, purple etc) will reflect a varying amount of each of the red or blue or green component.

 Dec 28 02, 11:35 PM

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