The Dress, Society, And Anarchy


This week has been the last of Black History Month, and unfortunately it bore yet another glaring example of social human regression. If you are unfamiliar, the dress below has sparked some of the most intense, anger-fueled and heavily participated in discourse of the year so far.

The picture of this dress resulted in an explosion of social media arguing whether the dress was black and blue, or white and gold, with the general population seeming to be evenly split between the two. By this, the clear civilized solution would be to deem it an optical illusion and move on. Instead, there was an intensely adamant debate that resulted in very angry and aggressive arguments. The debate extended so far that different forms of thought started to emerge. From the scientific debaters who regarded it as a genetic perception of light (tied to the retina) to the conspirators who argued it was an action of the government or Illuminati to distract us or as some part of a secret agenda.

Twazanga Mugala @ASvPDuke

what if the Illuminati is trying to distract us from something they’re doing rn with #TheDress

5:06 PM – 26 Feb 2015

to those who just stood so adamantly in their argument that they were willing to use violence as their only evidence

Krister Johnson @KristerJohnson

Anyone who disagrees, I’m at 37th and Madison, come fight me. #TheDress

5:40 PM – 26 Feb 2015

The stark division of our society’s general population serves as a microcosm for our social dynamics in response to stimuli. The fact that this dress caused an anarchic chaos resulting in such primal responses (including unapologetic violence) reveals how absurd it is that people contend that our society has advanced beyond racism, sexism, American exceptionalism, etc.

Moreover, this also highlights the internal agendas of the common citizen, in which there are hierarchies that apparently value trivial matters such as optical illusions more than they do power dynamics in social identities. Just imagine if people were able to pour such energy, passion and effort into proving that institutionalized racism and the likes are real instead of proving that a dress is any given color. Just imagine if people cared as much about equality amongst people as they did about the color of this dress. Imagine if people were able to risk their comfort and well being in order to support marginalized peoples instead of supporting those siding with whatever color the dress is. This is a disgusting display of social efforts. Such primitive actions set us back hundreds of years, and serves as a caution to all that we are still susceptible to anarchy, even as a first world and “advanced” society.

I urge you all to recount your actions from recent controversial topics. What actions have you taken? What have you spoken out about? Have the celebrities you support acted or spoken? Have the businesses you support acted or spoken? If you find that you, or those you support, have spoken out adamantly about things such as this dress, but have chosen to stay silent in response to events such as the Mike Brown and Eric Garner decisions, then it is clear that you value trivial matters more than you do the human life. And I encourage you to reevaluate and reestablish your values, such that we can actually reach the advancement and status of the society that we delude ourselves into believing we are already in.

Be Bold,


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