The internet exploded over these two pictures of the Alma Mater this weekend. Friends, colleagues, classmates, professors – everyone – is debating over the true color of the statue. Half the people are saying bronze, half are saying green. Color science majors, statue experts, and members of the color guard at the university are coming forth to voice their opinions. Everyone is in a frenzy.
The debate was sparked by one man’s Facebook post with the two pictures above and the question: “Wait, is the Alma bronze or green?” Hundreds of thousands of comments later, Facebook was divided into factions. A hashtag campaign dubbed #Almagate started on Twitter between the two groups: #BronzeAlma and #GreenAlma. A third faction popped up that claimed to not see a difference between the two pictures. “The pictures look identical,” tweeted Aaron Miller, president of the Illinois Society of the Colorblind.
Millions more Facebook posts and tweets are being posted every minute, some not about Alma Mater at all. The #Almagate craze seems to be limited to the surrounding area. Many people are visibly upset. How can science explain this? The Black Sheep set out to find the answer.
The answer is rather shocking. According to renowned color specialist, Robert Rainbow, the picture of green Alma Mater is actually from the past. “The picture that some people see as ‘Green Alma’ is from five years ago, before Alma was restored,” he said. “The picture of ‘Bronze Alma’ is the newly-restored statue. But that’s just my hypothesis, there are some other theories too.” A few people are aware that the Alma Mater was sent for restoration in 2012. With every passing year, fewer students are around to remember her absence, causing doubt as to her true colors and allegiances.
Another theorist, David Hornsby, an urban planning major with a minor in color science at the University of Illinois, disagrees. “Simply put, the lighting in the left picture is different than in the right picture,” said Hornsby. “In a certain light, anyone could look bronze or green. For example, the Statue of Liberty is, in fact, bronze, but looks green because of the angle at which the sun hits it. Another example is the rapper Iggy Azalea, who may look white in a certain light, but is probably black judging by the intonation of her voice.”
So is the Alma Mater green or bronze? “It’s not good to categorize the color of something. People prefer to choose their own color-pronouns,” he said. Alma is not able to indicate her their preferred color pronouns, just like animals and babies. Therefore, please refrain from calling your children or pets by gender-specific pronouns until they are old enough to decide for themselves.