Monday, August 29, 2016

Gray Matter Matters!

Only matter that truly
matters is gray matter.

Recent slogans strike me as rather unsettling.  Banners scream “Black lives matter!”, while some shout in retort “All lives matter!” or “Blue lives matter!”

What's the matter, you ask? All this color-coded rhetoric makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable, although I do understand and even see value in both points of view. Let’s start with the trendsetters, BLM:

I surely concur that black lives matter, but not for the same reason that some of the violent activists claim they matter.

"Black" lives matter because they are lives. Life doesn't have a color, or rather, one may say that life embraces all colors. "Black" lives matter just as much as all other lives do, irrespective of degree of pigment on their outer layer of one's epidermis.

In fact, the very notion that some lives are "black" and others are "white" is an insult to life itself.

First of all, is a so-called "white" man an albino? Sounds frightening. Nor is a so-called "black" man truly black. Healthy humans are all kind of brown to varying degrees.

Secondly, it is insulting to call some humans "people of color" in exclusion to others. Is a human of Caucasian complexion any less colorful? Aren't we all colors of a beautiful rainbow that is humanity? Why are some humans considered devoid of color?

Thirdly, it is equally insulting to stigmatize some as "dark" and some as "light." Every human being is a bright light, a candle of G-d, as it were. Darkness figuratively denotes absence of light or virtue, implies gloom and doom, à la Darth Vader. A room is dark if it is poorly lit, and a society is metaphorically dark if it is unenlightened or ignorant. To characterize a human as dark because of his pigmentation is like saying that a five-foot-tall man is less of a man than a six-foot-tall man, or a two-hundred-pound human is more of a human than a one-hundred-pound human. Physical qualities are subjective and relative, and not definitive or descriptive of one's humanity or life. One may have a personal preference for one shade of pigment or another, but that is purely subjective to one's superficial tastes.

Even more dangerous is when stigmatize a segment of the population as black or brown or white. It is as absurd as dividing the population into blond, red and brunette. It reeks of eugenics. Aren't we past this already in the twenty-first century? It echoes back to the Dark Ages (pun intended).

Haven't we learned by now that human life is sacred irrespective of the petty and superficial differences that make us look or sound different?

So herein lies the inherent danger of slogans like "Black Lives Matter." I assume that most of the individuals chanting that slogan are well-intentioned and are merely demanding fair and equitable treatment for all citizens, regardless of one's complexion or ethnicity. That is laudatory and something we all ought to support. However, the moment we see violent and murderous attacks on other human beings of the "privileged" pigment, something has gone terribly wrong. By committing or overlooking or condoning acts of murder or violence under the pretext of social justice, black lives don't matter anymore. Because, as I stated above, black lives only matter because all lives matter. When "white" lives don't matter or "blue" lives don't matter, then life doesn't matter at all. It's racism to declare otherwise, just as it's racist to claim that "black" lives don't matter. Bottom line: if a single innocent life doesn't matter, then no lives matter.

So, if crimes against innocent lives are committed under the banner of "Black Lives Matter," then "Black Lives Matter" sadly doesn't matter.

Same is true of all forms of racism and hatred. If extremist Islamic or Palestinian dogma claims that Jewish lives don't matter, then life doesn't matter at all. No wonder many members of that depraved society are ready to slaughter their own, or use their own children as human shields. Why not? Life doesn't matter...

If you are an anti-Semite, then by definition, you are also anti-Hamite and anti-Japhethite. You are anti the entire human race, including and most primarily, YOURSELF. Yours is the life that doesn't matter, by your very own admission.

In reality, all lives matter. All lives, that is, except for lives of those who seek to murder other innocent lives. Ideologies that call for murder simply don't matter, and we hope and pray that sooner than later, they will all be eliminated, retired to the cobwebs of posterity like all other things that never really mattered.

And that’s why it’s incorrect to state “All lives matter” in response. All lives matter, except those who think and demonstrate that some lives don’t, simply because of skin pigmentation.

In addition, there’s another reason that I find “All Lives Matter” response somewhat repugnant. “All lives” implies a tacit acknowledgment that some lives are black and some lives are white, but that they all matter anyway. “All” means that there are indeed different shades of lives. But in truth, there aren’t. There are only human lives. There is no black life or white life. Blue life is the most absurd, as if one’s uniform or vocation has any bearing on his inherent value as a human life.

So what really matters? Or, since everyone is so color-conscious these days, which color really matters?

Well, for starters, red blood matters.

The Talmud states that one may not commit an act of murder in attempt to save his own. (Say, for example, a Mafioso orders him to murder so-and-so or the Mafia will murder him.) Says the Talmud (Yoma 82b): "Is your blood any redder than his? Maybe his is redder than yours!"

Do you regard one life with less respect because of something that has no bearing on the redness of his or her blood, i.e. skin pigmentation or ethnicity? If so, then you ignored the redness of his blood, demonstrating that yours is perhaps less red!

On further thought, that color-coded slogan still falls short. Not all red blood was created equal. Animals have red blood too, yet their lives are not sacred to the degree of humans, who were created in G-d's image. I was deeply saddened to learn of the early demise of Harambe the Gorilla and the inhumane mistreatment of Shamu the Orka. But it's a different sort of sadness. Human blood is inherently redder, I believe.

So what's the ultimate slogan we can all feel comfortable with? What truly matters? It's not black or white. It's gray! Yes, GRAY MATTER MATTERS.

The indomitable human mind and spirit that are enshrined in your gray matter... THAT is the matter that matters most! 

That's why you and I truly matter. And that's why all humans matter, all endowed with a Divine potential to rise to their awesome calling, of living in the image of our Divine Creator.

It doesn't matter if you've used your gray matter much or not. You have it, and the potential is there. A human born into adverse circumstances has the same gray matter as you and me. Privilege, class or status have no bearing on the grayness of one’s gray matter.

My lighter or darker complexion doesn't make my blood any redder or my gray matter any grayer. And if ignorant bias fools me into believing otherwise, then I am neglecting to use my own gray matter by failing to perceive the infinite value of my fellow human being.

That's it. Enough with the black and white.

Go Gray!

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