All these people on earth, all from different places and communities and educations and experiences, all in our own unique grey area.
Social media encourages a lot of knee-jerk reactions to any number of things, which in and of itself is dangerous because ideas and opinions, like everything else, change over time.
But what I think is even worse, is the knee-jerk reaction to someone else’s knee-jerk reaction. And then the knee-jerk argument that ensues. I’m thinking of the recent events in Paris at Notre Dame, many people’s initial reaction towards it, and then any number of critiques as to why that that reaction is lacking, or self-serving, or not woke enough.
The fact is, no one is correct. You’re not correct and neither am I. We are all just reacting to what happens in the world through our own prism, our life’s story, the series of personal events that have taught us how to understand and process the world.
My truth is different than yours. We can discuss our individual truths in a respectful way so that all of our truths begin to expand--shading in the grey--or we can discount other’s truths and shut the conversation down entirely.
This is why I like photography. Pictures are broad, they sit in the grey areas of life that are left up for each of us to view and interpret based on our own eyes--our background and experiences. No one understands any issue or event the same way, because we all understand the world differently. So by posting a picture I don't tell you what to see, you see it for yourself.
Yet conversations on places like Facebook and Twitter push us to ignore all that. There is no acknowledgement that the tribalistic “for us or against us” mindset is a human construct we use to simplify the world, or oversimplify, because the complex reality takes too much time to process. And so we forget that it's not all black or white, we ignore the 7.5 billion shades of grey all around us.
There is definitely right and wrong--I’m talking about racism, sexism, homophobia, eurocentrism, and anything society teaches us to segregate and take advantage. That is ingrained in all of us, no matter how woke. I can see eurocentrism is and has been violent and cruel, I also see the ways in which I benefit from it as a white man, and then I can see the ways in which that same historically heteronormative culture has bludgeoned my community as well, and on ALL fronts I work to educate myself and change my mindset. That process isn’t black and white for me or anyone else, it’s part of the grey, and it only gets clearer when we blend our individual backgrounds of pain and prejudice with dialog and love.
All 7.5 billion people on earth, all from different places and communities and educations and experiences, all in our own unique grey area. When we spend time honestly talking and, most importantly, listening to each other, instead of leaving all communication up to quick-take reactions, that's when all those differences disappear.
I have many opinions on the issues of the day, but I typically spend a lot of time thinking through them (and yours) before I say anything about them. None of them are black and white, they're always grey.