Some people view the world as black or white, while others look at it in shades of gray. Many people I am quite close to are the former, whereas I pertain to the latter. When I was younger, I let this really bother me, and come between me and those I love. I couldn’t and didn’t want to relate to those “evil, black or white” people. The more I searched like-minded people to cohort with, the harder time I had finding them.
In recent years, I thought I had become less obsessed with this. I never really thought about it much anymore. Just because of my lifestyle, I have coincidentally become surrounded by fellow shades-of-gray people; the places I work, go, shop, etc. Some of the above mentioned important people have become more “gray” in recent years.
So in a relatively recent conversation with a black-or-whiter, it surprised me to hear that I am a judgmental “gray”. Not having thought about it for so long, I was quick to defend myself, and ended up in a semi-altercation (it wasn’t huge). However, this conversation got me ruminating about things, and it made me realize that in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter. It is what it is, and it is exactly these kinds of variations that make us unique human individuals. It’s not just in having different points of view, but more about how and why we have them. Which glasses or prisms are we looking through, and at what angle? I mean, I don’t think ANYBODY would say that it’s a crime to not be a Democrat OR Republican, for example. Issues such as racism, sexism and the countless other -isms come in varying degrees and levels and should be looked at on a case-by-case basis, each opinion depending on the context and situation.
I suppose that the previous paragraph is the ultimate illustration of shades-of-gray thinking. For the most part, I see most things that way. However few, there are instances that I can be very black-and-white. For example, either it’s benign or cancerous. There’s really no middle ground. Killing is killing, no matter who is doing it or who is the victim. When [anybody] says no, they mean no… don’t push it. If he’s not John Lennon, he’s not a genius, and if everybody agrees that it’s a cat, it can’t possibly be a lemur. (Reality based on collective perception; see the movie Blow Up for an amazing realization of this concept applied.) In a nutshell, I would be a hypocrite if I were to continue challenging black-and-white people since I have the ability myself.
So to fellow shades-of-gray readers of this blog, hello, and glad to be one with you! To all black-and-whiteys out there, hello, and nice to meet people just a little like me.
After all, the last definition of a shades-of-grayer is that we are not the polar opposite of black-and-whiters as you black-and-whiters may believe. Let’s all celebrate the whole color (and non-color) spectrum together!!