While trying to make a point today about how the expectations a reader brings to a work structure his or her experience of it, I brought up this image from the black and white Scott Pilgrim comic as an example:
SEK: This isn't a 'What's in my back pocket?' question. I just want to know what color you think she is.
SEK: (archly) ...?
CLASS: (demurely) Chinese?
It took them a little while to figure out where they'd lost the rails, but eventually they realized that the dots and lines above only looks "Chinese" because O'Malley told the reader that Knives Chau is Chinese. If he had said she were South American, the reader would have brought a whole different set of cultural baggage. In fact, if he had said the above was a boy from Los Angeles County, the reader would have believed that too.