This is largely what I meant above when I was referring to the cultural influence on us both as artists and audiences. It's very likely that people have a world of different associations with B&W images than they do with color. B&W is a very iconic look for art galleries, newspapers photos, old time movies, the unspoiled west, New York and Chicago in the early 20th century, WWII, etc. And these associations probably influence which subjects people choose to shoot in B&W.
Originally Posted by JBrunner
Color is a changing landscape, because there are definitely colors we associate with the 50s and 60s, the more saturated colors of recent decades, and the stylistic color washes of the last few years (think of the greenish cast in The Matrix and the desaturated wash of Saving Private Ryan). Color is used abstractly in a lot of ways, as those two movie examples indicate (but elsewhere as well -- the bright primary colors in schools and pediatricians' offices versus the omnipresent mauve in OB/GYN offices).