8

Andorian skin color was Blue, but humans weren't the first encounter with the totally different skin color. They already knew Vulcans who possessed same pink-ish skin color.

Why did Shran really call Archer "Pink Skin"?

13

Originally, "Pink Skin" was an Andorian insult for humans, since what humans looked like was just about all they knew about us. I believe Shran coined it in The Andorian Incident, at the P'Jem Sanctuary - they were highly suspicious of us, since they were trying to uncover a listening post at the same time we happened to bring a Vulcan to the sanctuary.

However, at P'Jem, Archer uncovered the listening post and did not side with the Vulcans, as Shran expected. Because Archer was always fair in his encounters with Shran, and not simply siding with their then-enemies, the Vulcans, Shran became an ally.

Calling Archer "pinkskin" very quickly stopped being an insult or even necessarily a dig at his skin color: It's a sign of friendship, similar to us calling our close friends "shorty" or "fatty" in a joking manner, and can persist long after they've outgrown the reason for nickname.

EDIT: Here's the first occurrence in The Andorian Incident:

Shran: "Why didn't you tell us one of your people was aboard?"
Vulcan monk: "It's an Earth vessel, I didn't know."
Other Andorian: "What does that mean? 'Earth', what is that?"
Archer: "It's where we're from. It's our homeworld."
Shran: "Why did you come here? Answer me, pink skin!"

No reason was explicitly given, but this exchange happened moments after Archer and Trip had wrestled down one of the Andorians. They were a bit red in the face from the exertion...

  • But, when we say "Shorty" or "fatty", we generally pick a attribute which makes him/her unique in surrounding. My question says: pink-skin wasn't a unique attribute. So, Why did he pick skin color. You've dropped that part.. – I Love You 3000 Jun 25 '12 at 12:17
  • @SachinShekhar Pulled out the episode to update the answer, looks like there was an actual reason – Izkata Jun 25 '12 at 12:37
13

Shran called Archer "pink-skin" because humans who have fair complexions like Archer appear to have pinkish-colored skin, especially when compared to the blue-tinged skin of the Andorians. The pinkish color of the skin is due to the redness of our blood.

Skin color ranges from almost black to white with a pinkish tinge due to blood vessels underneath.

This is in contrast to Vulcans, who don't have red blood: they have green blood when oxygenated, causing Vulcans with fair complexions to have green-tinged skin. The only apparent pinkishness of their skin that the audience sees is simply due to human actors playing them. Vulcans—like most alien species in Star Trek—aren't given heavy makeup treatments, and their skin isn't recolored like Andorians are.

Shran purposefully exaggerates one of Archer's features to denigrate him: Archer's skin isn't blatantly pink, just like Vulcan skin isn't blatantly green. By highlighting a superficial difference like Archer's skin color, Shran reinforces that humans are not like the "superior" Andorians, much like calling a Vulcan "pointy ears".

On the other hand, calling a Vulcan "pink skin" would've made as much sense as calling a human "pointy ears" because in universe, they don't have pink skin just like humans don't have pointy ears.

  • Your last paragraph doesn't make sense.. Andorian roles are also played by human actors. – I Love You 3000 Jun 25 '12 at 5:53
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    @SachinShekhar Your question pre-supposes Vulcans have pinkish skin color because you see humans actors playing them: in-universe, they don't, because they don't have red blood. You're confusing makeup choices with in-universe explanations: actors playing Andorians are given a makeup regiment that actors playing Vulcans don't; Vulcans generally just get pointy ears and eyebrows. – user366 Jun 25 '12 at 6:06
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    Do you have any citation about Vulcan skin color? Just blood color doesn't decide skin color. e.g.- You can also find Pale/Yellow, White, Brown/Black human skin color despite the fact that all have red blood... – I Love You 3000 Jun 25 '12 at 6:11
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    @SachinShekhar It's linked in my answer. You're over-thinking this: it's not that complicated. – user366 Jun 25 '12 at 6:12
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    @SachinShekhar I can say the didn't have pink-ish skin color because the pink tinge of skin is due to blood being red. Vulcan blood isn't red. Melanin—or whatever the Vulcan equivalent of melanin is—is what makes human and Vulcan skin not completely pink or green because it's closer to the surface of the skin. – user366 Jun 25 '12 at 6:34
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Andorians have bold skin tones, and so references to skin colour may be an Andorian tradition. In "The Aenar", J'hamel (an Aenar, who all seem to have white skin) refers to the first time she saw a "Blue Skin". The daughter of Shran and J'hamel ("These Are The Voyages...") has green skin, although this may be due to her unusual parentage.

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