A SHADE OF DIFFERENCE – RICH PASCHALL

What are your colors? by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog


Everyone has favorite colors. You can probably tell which ones by the walls of their homes.  The wall coverings were likely chosen not just by color, but also by shade of color. Big home improvement stores will mix and match colors for you so you have just the right shade. They stock color palates and have little colored papers you can take with you while you stare at the walls and envision how they will look. Some will even give you a little sample so you can stare at a brush stroke you put on the wall and dream of a whole room in that color.

Blue is a nice color to me, but I would never paint the walls a dark blue, only pastels. As a matter of fact, there would be no dark colors in my home decorating, if you can call it that. Purples and dark greens certainly are too harsh anyway, but maybe they would appear on your walls. That’s fine for you. Who am I to judge you by your color selection?skin-colors-cropped

I like Hunter Green in kitchen accessories, but not on the walls. Does that seem strange to you? For a number of years I found it the color of choice in Tupperware and kitchen utensils, but I would never paint with it. Never. Does that sound a little biased? If I found the sea green of your bathroom just a little too garish, would you hold it against me?

At a past place of employment, I had a manager who wanted to paint his office a nice shade of lavender. If it was good enough for his bedroom, soothing and relaxing, then perhaps it would be good for his office. After all, the company said he could have any color he wanted. Unfortunately, there were those who did not like lavender, especially on office walls. He was derided for his choice of color. Some snickered behind his back, while others openly pointed out the folly of associating with such colors, and at work no less! The color of choice around the building was rather bland. You know the one, an off white that looks about the same no matter how long it is on the wall. The shade of lavender was…well, rather gay according to some people.  What does that say about a new manager? He was judged, but he was certainly straight (or as certain as I can be). Anyway, it was a nice shade.

This prejudice against color is not limited to the walls at home or the office. It goes well beyond the choice of furniture and carpet. It is not just the accessories in your house or your life. It has to do with all your color choices. “Are my friends really judging me by the colors I choose?  If I chose white am I boring? If I choose black am I too Gothic? If I choose lavender am I too gay?” Perhaps this sounds a bit ridiculous.

Yet, people choose their friends this way. They make instant judgments of people they do not know by their shade of color. Some can look across a crowded street and when they spot a person of another color, they formulate an instant opinion. Perhaps an “olive shade” looks like a gangster, and you should avoid crossing the street. Then there are those who are a certain shade of white that is different from my shade. Many people will quickly decide they are crooks, or they are greedy or they are shiftless.

This is not just an issue between races, but also within a race. White people judge other white people and black people do the same. You do not think so? Ask around. Many have color palates for race that are far more discriminating than their choices of wall color.  Recently I was watching the FOX Sports 1 show MLB Whiparound and immediately noticed that baseball analyst Frank Thomas was a distinctly different shade than the other analyst, Dontrelle Willis.  I am not sure what Thomas said, but I instantly decided I liked his opinions better!  Crazy, no?

When the turbulent civil rights era of the 1960’s appeared to tear down color barriers, society was pleased with the progress. While some laws now prohibit color choices, the fact is that color choices are as pervasive as ever. These prejudices are perpetuated by social media and Fake News reports that are meant to push people to the left, right, middle and anywhere else that can separate one from another. “Progressive” radio, “Patriot” radio, “Conservative” radio, “Liberal” radio all highlight the difference between us and “them.” If you don’t think “them” frequently means another color, listen more closely. If you think that many of these talk and Fake News shows hated the last President of the United States because he is black, you may be on the right track.

The proliferation of these judgments by everyone from politicians and so-called newsmen to the average person on-line demonstrates that the color scheme of society today is more divided than ever. We may no longer be segregated by law, but we are now segregated by personal choice. Many can not find it in their hearts to celebrate the different shades of life. They only want certain colors to be approved for the walls they put up in their own existence. Perhaps this sounds just a bit ridiculous, because it is.

So we’re different colours
And we’re different creeds
And different people have different needs.
It’s obvious you hate me
Though I’ve done nothing wrong
I’ve never even met you so what could I have done?

For 10 Song About Racism That Don’t Suck, check out all the videos on flavorwire.com  You won’t see some of the hip-hop songs of today that deal with race, but you may recognize some of the rock songs of other eras.  The 10th song on the list is the harsh vision of the old South by Billie Holiday performing Strange Fruit.

14 thoughts on “A SHADE OF DIFFERENCE – RICH PASCHALL

  1. Nicely done, Rich. I like the way you worked your way from decor to race.

    Marilyn and I watched “Hidden Figures” last night. I appreciated the story etched from both sides of view.

    When I was a kid, I recall folks telling me “Jackie Robinson is my favorite player” and “Nat Cole articulates lyrics very well” with a very earnest looks on their faces.

    Now, I’m humming “Lavender Blue” as I read.

    Rich, I’m putting this up on my Facebook page for all my Bull Connors fans to enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just having laws to say that we are not allowed to discriminate is not enough. It still happens but it may be more subtle. In the job market for example, you can’t say that someone is the wrong colour or too old or too ugly or the wrong sex but you can say they are “overqualified”. “not quite what we are looking for.”,”we were looking for someone who can come in at short notice.”or just “another applicant has a skill set that matches our needs better.” You can’t argue, have they said anything wrong?.
    I like the way you moved from decor to race too. It rang a bell with me because I’m currently redecorating but as I will be selling my house in the near future I have to decorate in the boring bland colours so as not to put off potential buyers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was an excellent post! I, too, love how you began with decor colors. I tend to enjoy monochromatic pallets with bursts of bright accent colors. I love grays with teal or peridot, or even a burst of tangerine or sunny yellow. Funny, I grew up in a rather monochromatic, small town, but now live in a wonderful neighborhood that has lovely bursts of colors and cultures. How dull the world would be without them!

    Liked by 1 person

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