Colours are wonderful. They are powerful forces that creates feelings, stirs emotions, brings back memories, can cause epileptic seizures, and can evoke all kinds of sensory things. White can mean many things: Purity, peace, serenity, surrender, mourning, happiness, holiness, the list goes on and on. The power of white is a vast entity, just as any color. White can bring on as many things to a person as black, or blue, or purple, green, red or any other color. They all bring different things, or even similar things.
There are many times during ones life, if not every day that you stop and stare at an object, or listen to something, or smell something and it takes you back into the past to a good time, a bad time, or just a plain normal memory. These things that trigger past events can also trigger olfactory, gustatory, somaticsensory, auditory memories (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_system#V1_.28vision.29). Colors and shades too, can trigger such memories. But not only does colors remind people of memories, but also objects, or phrases, or even emotions.
So you wish me to discuss the shade of white? White is usually symbolic for things that are positive in America. Since this is where I am from, I am not going to delve into things I do not know, like what white symbolizes in the eastern hemispheres of the world, but instead, will demonstrate that through my own thoughts and some of people I randomly asked. My reasonings for including other peoples thoughts into this? Simple: Because quantity can mean quality when discussing such matters. The power of a color, to each their own I should say, and every person is different, the color has a separate meaning to them then from you, or me.
I will first give you my retrospect on the color. At one point in time it was just a color. Not a very useful color - it was white. It went on walls, it was plain and boring. For what purpose would I have to think deeply on it? And then, some years ago, I became interested in art. I learned many things about colors and shades - white included. So here I was - How had I been so oblivious to the power that this shade, along with all the other colors contained? It made colors lighter, it gives the illusion of reflections, it can be used to show and give a piece of art a certain feeling, or meaning. A white wedding dress means the bride is chaste, a white ribbon stands for the strength of a group fighting against disease. Everywhere I looked, colours had meaning - and white was of the first shades to help me colour in my gray, dull life with art, altering my paints to the perfect shade.
To me, white is a powerful weapon used in art. But to my friend, whom we will call A, says something much different, but just as meaningful. And I quote her: "White reminds me of snow, cause where I live there's a lot of that. It can be pretty but also dangerous sometimes. It also reminds me of God and Jesus because us Christians use the metaphor of- Christ's blood washes us white as snow- which basicaly means that because Jesus died and took away our sins, to stains of our wrong doing is completely gone and we don't have to worry about it anymore. So it also reminds me of forgiveness."
I'm going to quote only one more of my friends. He gave me quite a detailed answer to my question I asked him, which was simple: "What do you think about the power of white as a color?" I quote his response: "The first word that comes to mind is pureness, then followed with honesty justice righteousness and good. I think on it deeper and wonder about contrast and such things as the KKK and it makes me think of how other people can use the color white to be deceptive. We have been taught to think certain colors evoke certain meanings. Some people try to make black Negative, while i think its more mysterious.
You go deeper into it and you think how my tan body is called white and how African Americans were called Black and it makes you wonder when their skin is brown. Or in some cases extremely brown. But never actually black. This was pointed out as it was an idea taught to Malcom X and he used it in his movement of equal rights. However i still stand that white is a symbol of pureness and honesty. I dont think white and black apply to race at all. Each person as different as the colors on a Hue Scale."
In conclusion my answer is this: that it isn't just one color that has power, but all colors. They all invoke different senses, memories, thoughts in each person for their own reasons, their own deductions and own basis. White for most represents purity, and to others like me, its a powerful force that can shift art to a different scale. White, just like all colors- are a limited and yet unlimited power, whether it be for negative or positive.