Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Black and White
Why the black and white look?
It's clean, it's simple. It reminds me of the newspapers I have worked with over the years.
Mostly, though, it's my personality.
I see the world as black or white with only a few shades of grey.
This isn't something I'm necessarily proud of but after 50 years on the planet I'm pretty sure I know myself and know how I think.
To me, the answer to everything is clear - it's either right or it's wrong; it's good or it's bad; it's fair or it's unfair. Full stop.
I am far from perfect. Far, far from it. This black and white thinking is hard for a lot of people to take. My blood boils fast.
I'm also judgemental. Over the years I have made many mistakes, but I have learned from all of them. This crystallization, this boiling down of the bad things in my character has made me who I am now. Some may disagree, and they are entitled to their opinion, of course, but I am a good person. I see myself as a white knight, defender of the common man, upholder of good in the battle against evil. (Doesn't THAT sound crazy?) I admire Sally Fields' character in Norma Rae – imperfect strength in the face of adversity; grubbiness with a shining heart.
I will always take the side of the underdog. I will always have sympathy for the downtrodden.
There is fair and there is unfair and there is nothing in between.
I got angry with a friend yesterday because she didn't see the unfairness in this situation: another friend had worked a long time with a company and had accrued a third week of vacation time. The company went bankrupt and the friend was rehired by a temp agency. He immediately lost that third week. All of the plant employees, some who had been with the company all their working lives and had accrued up to five weeks of vacation, went back to two weeks. I said, this wasn't fair. That they had earned it and then lost it. My friend said it was perfectly fair - they were lucky to have their jobs.
Yes, they're lucky to still have their jobs.
But that doesn't mean what happened to them is fair.
To me, fairness is like karma. If you have done your share, if you've been a good person, if you've worked hard to earn things like vacation time, the universe ought to repay you in kind. When that doesn't happen; when you lose your vacation, when you get cancer, when your husband leaves you, when you get downsized, whatever – it just isn't fair.
I know. Life sucks that way. The universe doesn't mete out fairness. The real world just "is."
Still, a lot of these sucky things are delivered at the hands of human beings, not the universe. It was people who decided to cut our friend's vacation time. People who downsize companies and ruin people's lives. People cheat on their spouses and destroy families.
People are the reason I believe in fairness.
If everyone decided to treat their fellow human beings fairly, the world would be a fairer place.
Fairness is what I strive for.
Fairness is what we all should strive for.
Screw real world thinking – this is the excuse we use to hurt one another.