Most of my years in the printing business were devoted to putting black ink on white paper. That probably sounds boring. It was anything but boring. The fact is there are 99 shades of grey between black and white and I studied all of them. So much so, that when I thought about publishing my own company newsletter, I chose Grey Matters as the name. It was a play on words with a double meaning. Grey matter is another way to describe the human brain and Grey Matters was my subtle attempt to distinguish myself from the competition. I never found the time to publish anything but now that I’m blogging it seems like a good time to revisit my original idea with a current events twist to the story.
Grey matters today because our society is being torn apart by racism, sexism, ageism and every other ism. I’m convinced it’s not nearly as bad as the media would have us believe. That’s not to deny that prejudice is a real problem but maybe we need to be asking to what degree? I deal with all races, faiths, genders, ages and belief systems every day. My experience tells me that we get back exactly what we give to others. If I am respectful and treat others with kindness and honesty, that’s what I get back from them. That’s about 90 percent of the population, the grey area between total black and absolute white. Have I met people who didn’t like me just because I was white, absolutely. Have I met people who didn’t like some of the black children that were with me, yup, it happens. In both cases, it’s pretty rare that it is that pronounced.
The vast majority of people I encounter don’t want anything to do with media generated labels and politically correct speech. They just want to get on with their lives. I made a new acquaintance today at Mark Twain Elementary School in the inner-city. (How’s that for irony? The most politically incorrect American author of all time gets a predominantly black school named after him?) She was brown and she was wonderfully helpful to me and we had a great conversation about her job as school secretary. I am absolutely certain we could be friends, given our shared love for working with children. We had far more similarities than differences and it would be my pleasure to call her a friend. Later this evening, I dropped off a white foster child at a black foster home. The foster dad and I shared a laugh about how much the little girl likes to talk. (Six hours of uninterrupted chatter. It was a new record.) I thanked him for his service.
Grey matters because that’s where the majority of us live. We’re not black or white, we’re just people trying to get through life with the least amount of worries possible. But that kind of life doesn’t play well with the media. They want confrontation and hatred and if they can’t find it readily available, they will manufacture it to get our attention and drive their ratings for all the advertising dollars they are worth. They’re using us against each other for their own selfish purposes, not to change the world. It is only the most extreme examples of prejudice that get reported, not the 90% who get along fine every day. We’re not newsworthy because it doesn’t fit the narrative. Nobody wants to hear about me making friends with two black people today. Why not? Given all that’s happening wouldn’t that be a nice reaction to the animus on display at the University of Missouri? White man befriends two blacks in Kansas City and lives to tell about it. There’s a headline you will never see.
Grey matters because we have to use our God-given brains to make the world work better for all of us. We need to focus on each person we meet as a unique individual and find a way to share that moment of our mutual existence in a positive way. I really don’t care what shade of humanity God gave you. All I care about is what your heart says about you. Do you care about others? Do you work hard? Do you accept others for who they are? Do you show me respect? If you do these things, then we have a lot in common and where we are on the black to white continuum really doesn’t mean much. I’m not about to judge people based on any amount of media hype and neither should you judge me. Give me a fair chance to prove myself and we can be friends. It’s not complicated but it is difficult to overcome fear and fear is exactly what the media is selling.
But I’m not buying anymore.
Maybe Henry David Thoreau explained it better than I can, “It is never too late to give up your prejudices.”
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.