Friday, September 30, 2011

"256 Shades of Gray"

First off, no, I am not talking about my hair, which currently is a lovely shade of salt and pepper.

Yesterday, I was discussing, with a very great friend of mine, my moms "theory" on the 256 shades of grey. but, let me start at the beginning of our conversation. We were discussing the two main types of homophobia, which are listed as "those trying to repress a part of themselves, and a background of abuse when younger". The conversation then turned to my mom, as she was a very wise and lovely woman, who like me, felt that everyone you meet is a potential friend. Of course she could get pissed off at lot quicker than I ever could, but I digress. Anyway, I was telling my friend that when I came out, my mom was like a community mom while I was living in Tucson and Phoenix. She would go to the gay bars with me, she would talk with all the people there, she even tried hooking me up with a few of the guys. But mainly, she was there for some of the guys when even their parents would not have anything to do with them. As a side note, my friend wondered why we don't see or hear more about community moms, and I think it might be because over the past 20 years, parents have started to become more accepting, but again, I digress. So I eventually ask my friend if he had ever seen me post about my moms theory of 256 shades of grey. He said he did not, so I gave him the story I am about to write here. My mom was a true angel, and this is but ONE of the many stories I can tell about how she worked to make a difference in her own part of the world.

"256 Shades of Grey" a theory by Saundra Sue McKeown, as remembered by Edward G. McKeown.

"Most people look at the people in the world and they see things in absolutes. To them, everything is either 'black' or 'white', and there are no compromises. What they tend to miss, or not see in larger picture, is that their really are not absolutes. Their are no 'absolute black' or absolute white', there are only the 256 shades of grey between those two defining points. For the comfort or enjoyment of another persons company, the absolute on one end would be a person that has absolutely no contact with the same sex, while the other absolute would be a person that has absolutely no contact with the opposite sex. Since these two options are relatively impossible, unless stranded alone on a deserted island or the choice to live as a hermit, these absolutes cannot be defined. Men communicate with other men, they go to bars together, they watch sports together, the have some point of contact with the same sex on a daily basis; while for ladies, the same is also true, ladies tend to do things in groups, go to ladies night out, go to bathrooms in groups, etc. And yet, we have no problem with these daily interactions, because it is assumed that ALL of the people involved are strictly 'heterosexual'. The same is true for the other end of the spectrum, where gays and lesbians interact with people of the opposite sex, yet we assume that at least one or more of the people are homosexual, when in fact, it is almost impossible to tell who is homosexual versus who is heterosexual. So this is where the theory of 256 shades of grey comes into light. Everyone, falls somewhere within that scale, and it doesn't really matter where you fall on the scale, just that their are no absolutes. Once you start looking at people in this way, will you truly understand the meaning of tolerance and acceptance."

1 comment:

  1. I have used a similar analogy - except I would say their are 256 definitive colors on a .gif color palette - but in life there is even more infinite variety.

    My mom and your mom were two very different people. My mom is very black and white about things. I have aunts and uncles on both sides that are gay. My mom's sister is gay and my dad had a brother (who has passed) and a sister that are gay. My mother and aunt didn't speak for years because my mom would not let my aunt's girlfriend in the house. She didn't understand why my aunt wouldn't comer over for holiday dinners either. My dad's siblings lived pretty far away, so I was never around them as often. However, is sister would always come up for holidays, leaving her girlfriend behind. My mom would expect her own sister to do the same.

    It actually caused an argument between us when I asked her "Would you go to someone's house if they refused to let Daddy come in?" She told me that was different. I told her that, regardless of her morality, it was NO different. My aunt loved her partner very much. They were together for 15 years before they broke up. Unfortunately, my aunt is now a severe schizophrenic. She developed it late in life and it caused their break-up. Of course, my parents blame it on "life without God", but that doesn't explain the millions of homosexuals out there that NEVER develop it.

    Imagine trying to slam a drawer shut, but it is stuck because something in the drawer doesn't fit. That object will break if you keep trying to force it. People are the same way. They are frequently shattered when we try to force them into a box they don't fit into.

    I do believe in God, but I believe he created life in infinite variety. One day, we will hopefully all understand his wisdom, but for now, we must Coexist. If we keep eliminating those that are different than we are, eventually, we will have a population of one.