Evidence, please? "threatening" - LOL. That damn 'stark' black against white... The colour of text has no effect whatsoever on people with 'dyslexia', since there is no such thing as 'dyslexia' in the first place. I take it you've read the book 'Why children can't read' by Dianne McGuinness, and know what you're talking about here?
On the other hand, I do completely agree that too many sites go for what they perceive as a trendy route, with the greys far too pale to be read easily.
Anything other than #000000 is too pale.
Part of the problem is the different people see a page in different contexts. The age and quality of your monitor plays a role. The ambient lighting around you plays a role. Whether you have any form of anti-aliasing or sub-pixel hinting plays a role. And that's before you even get down to the question of an individual's eyesight, which can create huge problems for some people reading text that has insufficient contrast.
Which is why they should all be using #000000.
If designers are used to seeing text render crisply and cleanly on a high quality screen in perfect light conditions, and have 20:20 vision themselves, it needs quite a lot of empathy to come to terms with the need to use dark text.
Exactly - they lack empathy. They couldn't care less about what their readers feel.
Why do designers dislike dark text so much? Because a lot of them see text as simply another design element to be manipulated in search of improved aesthetics. Black or very dark text can dominate a page's appearance at the expense of the design features that they have put most of their effort into, so they try to soften it so that the graphics come to the fore.
Rubbish. They just blindly copy each other, trying to 'one up' each other by making their text lighter and lighter. I see text at #808080 all the time nowadays, ridiculously light. Look at this very website - ridiculously light border lines which only irritate you because you have to look harder to see what you're actually supposed to be looking at -is it a border? Is it the border of this box, or another border around it, etc.etc.
All of this just proves how ridiculous most people are - they will copy ANYTHING, no matter how stupid it is.
I'm not saying that all designers are like that – not by a long way. Just that there is a significant minority who have a tendency to put aesthetics ahead of practicality.
They aren't even making their sites aesthetically pleasing - if I was allowed to, I would link to the work of that excellent web designer I found yesterday - his sites are all beautiful, colourful, no grey text anywhere, everything clear and high contrast.
Please stop propagating this myth that 'good designs' are something to do with it, they aren't - it's pathetic copying, plain and simple, a total lack of imagination on the part of the designers, and total arrogance too. Not one of them has a good reason for doing it. We always get the old 'dyslexia' nonsense as a 'reason' too. If you want, I can direct you to the first few pages in Dianne McGuinness's book where she proves there is no such thing as dyslexia (i.e. a neurological disorder, i.e. a 'malfunction' of the brain), and shows that poor readers become that way because of the way they are taught, and the way they are trying to read. But I doubt you'll be interested, because those who have the audacity to blame the victims - i.e. to claim that children who can't read well have something wrong with their brains, rather than that they have simply learnt to read the wrong way, will do anything to defend their belief system.
Rather like the grey text crowd...