The man with blue skin

by guest contributor Joanna Eng

Not to further sensationalize a kind of silly morning news story, but did anyone else see the NBC special yesterday morning about Paul Karason, the man with permanently blue skin?

At first I thought it was meant to be a joke, or some sort of racial experiment or parody. But no, Karason actually has had a bluish-purple face for about a decade, due to a colloidal silver concoction he’s been taking as a home treatment for a skin condition he had.

The most interesting part of this story, for me, was the way Karason and his girlfriend discuss his feelings about showing his blue skin in public. What they said on TV this morning, and in this earlier Fox News article, was reminiscent of the way some people of color feel about being minorities in very predominantly white towns:

Karason, who recently moved from Oregon to Madera, Calif., said it hasn’t been easy living with blue skin.

“I do tend to avoid public places as much as I can,” he said.

Karason made the move in hopes of fitting in a little better.

“I hope that they just accept me,” he said, “And I think that will happen here. Where I was, I rather doubt it would have. This is different kind of community here.”

Karason’s girlfriend, Jackie Northrup, said she doesn’t even notice his skin color any more.

“The only time now I really think about it or notice it is if we’re out in public and people start staring,” she said.
It’s obviously an extreme example, but does anyone else see the parallels to real life race relations?

I also couldn’t help but laugh when I thought of this previous Racialicious entry: “I don’t care if they’re black, white, green or purple.”

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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