How did I not notice before that Can Dusen paints everyone with the same skin color, same highlights and shadows? Everyone, including Mercy Watson, the pig. Different hair, facial features, head shapes, clothes, but the exact same skin (old people are all highlights and shadows for the wrinkles, but the same colors). And unlike The Simpsons, it's not one color for all the White people, but different colors for people of color. It's an interesting choice.
I didn't notice before because I just assumed that the unnatural peachy-pink meant White, because that's how we roll: default = White. No one is really that color, but society has agreed to pretend, just to make it easier.
I've been thinking about this for hours now. I still don't know how I feel about it. Is it good to ignore actual melanin across the board to avoid dividing people into White or Other? Would I be comfortable with it if he'd chosen a default that wasn't already understood to be White? If everyone was green or grey, some color which doesn't have racial coding, the deliberate neutrality would have been obvious. As it is, Mercy seems to live in an idealized mid-century sundown town. I like the setting in general, with the sidewalks and big-time cars, I enjoy the same Imagineared quality in the art of William Joyce and Mark Teague. But now I can't stop thinking how middle-class suburban White it is, and getting creeped out.
Race isn't real, but racism is so horrifyingly visible right now, that a town of pink people isn't neutral, it's threatening.
Guess I finally figured out what I feel. I am not in the pink.