Wednesday, October 28, 2015
This is a new project of the faculty and students of the Coastal and Ocean Policy program at UNCW.
We will post things that look at the nitty gritty of science policy and politics. The interesting stuff and the drama- the stuff of politics- is in the details and the nuance. That stuff is hard to get at and even harder to articulate. So, this is a space of practice.
Why Haint Blue?
Well, in part because, one of your bloggers here, Jessica Weinkle, likes the phrase and since moving to Wilmington has become fascinated with the tradition.
But also, because it is apropos:
The tradition as I understand it [and I am finding my information on the internet so it must be true =)], is that the Gullah or Geechee people of the South would paint openings of their homes a watery blue to keep evil spirits at bay. It was believed the malevolent haints (or haunts) could not cross water. Hence, the blue paint tricks them into thinking that the home is surrounded by water thereby protecting the home.
Today, haint blue adorns homes of many types of southern people.
The color and the tradition speaks to the many (many!) efforts, beliefs, and knowledges that people employ to help manage the great "hazards and vicissitudes of life." Some acts are simple such as, painting the front door blue. But, in modern times as expertise has become a cornerstone of contemporary political battles, our efforts to ward off troubles is remarkably complex.
Yet, no matter the color an issue is painted, underneath often lay fear and hope for improved decision making to reduce uncertainty and ensure that the future is by some respect, favorable. Of course, we may disagree about what to fear, what to hope for, and what a favorable future looks like.
The devil lay in the details, as the saying goes, and often the details become wards of technical and scientific expertise. Wadding through the details, identifying conflicts in social value objectives, and clarifying policy alternatives is an overriding goal of the Coastal and Ocean policy program. Haint Blue is a means to that practical and educational end.