The Hue of Hope
Practical, enduring, uplifting – why 2021 needs to be about feeding the human spirit
Phoebe Harkin | | Opinion
Every year, Pantone – the company known for its standardized color system and eponymous swatches – chooses a Color of the Year. In 2019, Living Coral cheerfully symbolized “our innate desire for playful expression.” Classic Blue came in 2020, “highlighting our need for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era” (foreshadowing). But 2021 was given a gift: not one, but two colors; Illuminating, “a bright and cheerful yellow, sparkling with vivacity” and Ultimate Gray, a “solid and dependable” shade.
“Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted: this is essential to the human spirit,” explained Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute (1).
Though our content is not dependent on the whims of Pantone’s color forecasting team (believe it or not), we fully endorse the message of practical positivity. After a year of relentless challenges – and with more on the horizon – the focus is on doing your best with what you have. Nowhere is this more apparent than Change the Things You Can by Lauren Hock, a practical guide to dealing with patient-initiated verbal harassment – principles that can be applied to any form of identity-based discrimination.
In an ideal world, no ophthalmologist would face discrimination in the workplace but we do not live in an ideal world. A national survey of mostly female ophthalmologists and ophthalmology trainees showed that 59 percent had experienced sexual harassment during their careers, most commonly during training (2). Hock is ultimately hopeful this will change, but she knows it won’t happen overnight; until then, she wants residents to be equipped with the necessary tools to handle discriminatory behavior on their own. Practical positivity.
Ashiyana Nariani, Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at King Edward Memorial Hospital and Seth G.S. Medical College, Mumbai, India shares the same philosophy in this issue's Sitting Down With. Nariani is raising funds to build a refractive surgery suite for India’s poorest, most underserved population. “It is a multimillion-dollar endeavor, so it might not seem realistic, but we can achieve it if we just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’ve started noticing that, when there is a specific, concrete need, people come forward and help” she says.
Perhaps this is how we should all navigate the next few months – by putting one foot in front of the other and hoping that all will come well in the end.
- Pantone, “Color of the Year” (2020). Available at: https://bit.ly/2LJBrcb
- N Fnais et al., “Harassment and discrimination in medical training: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” Acad Med, 89, 817 (2014). PMID: 24667512.