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Changing to the flesh colour was done at the same time as introducing that style of figure, so they were not going back on anything they had done previously. Whereas if they had changed yellow skin minifigures to fleshies, then figures are less compatible. I cannot remember the first time I saw the explanation about yellow being a neutral colour for skin - I wonder if the original decision was just that it was either that or white, as that was all they had available at the time and the neutral story came later.
What was strange was that even though Duplo figures were done in fleshie tones, later Primo figures were done in yellow.
Don't get me wrong - I would be very sad to see the yellow minifigs go, because it's such an iconic design, and a classic minifig with a basic smiley face is the best visual shorthand I can imagine for my childhood. But I've been thinking about that Jamie Berard interview where he mentioned that kids see those traditional minifigs as "zombie dudes" and don't really connect with their simple design, and realising that kids now are growing up in a different world than I did, and don't have all the same inherited assumptions.
I'm also very struck by @Aanchir's point about how, since yellow stands in for caucasian, the average Lego set (without minifigs representing real actors or athletes) ends up being way less racially diverse than reality, and some kids won't see a character like them in there. I know there's more than one way to identify with a character (I'm not a scientist or a superhero, after all, but I enjoy those figures a lot), but I also know that as a disabled woman I was really pleased when I noticed how much the gender balance within multi-minifig sets has improved, and I found it especially cool when wheelchair-using minifigs started turning up.
I guess you could argue that the fewer specific characteristics a minifigure has, the more different people can identify with that character, but if you unpick that thinking it tends to involve the assumption that there's a default, and that the default is white, male, etc. I mean, it's not terribly surprising that a company that began many decades ago in a little town in Denmark would treat white as the default without thinking about it, but I do wonder what this means for the future in a more globalised world, for a brand that is trying to appeal to many different people and cultures...
Of course if LEGO switches to racially diverse minifigures they'll have to constantly be on the lookout for problems like stereotyping, though they seem to have taken on that challenge with the Friends line, and they have botched that challenge with the "mafioso" names of the new City bad guys. shrug