"Why should I be Grey?"
“Why should I be Grey?”, “Isn’t it just a boring colour?”, and “How should I relate this colour to our society?”
At Dare to be Grey, we’re often confronted with these questions, and rightfully so. While simple and straightforward at first, our concept actually entails quite the amount of considerations once you start digging deeper. Therefore, we thought it would be a good idea to explain our interpretation of the ‘Grey’ concept from start to finish.
So, let’s begin at the start then:
Our healthy obsession with the term ‘Grey’ is directly derived from our mission to stand up against polarisation: the increasing division of our society. Whenever individuals or groups polarise, they start thinking in terms of ‘black-and-white’, good and evil, and us versus them. This is a serious problem that, short term, can lead to alienation and, in the long run, can result in large social conflicts. The contemporary divisions in the United States and the United Kingdom are prime examples of this.
It is crucial that we break this cycle. In Europe, but also across the rest of the world. To do that, Dare to be Grey challenges its audience to be Grey. Grey, situated between the extremes of black and white, is not just a colour to us; it is a social concept and a symbol of unity.
So, how does this colour actually translate to a social concept? What can we consider to be ‘Grey’, and what not?
To answer that question, we have formulated five core values: diversity, debat, empathy, nuance and doubt. Together, they make the identity of the Grey Middle Ground that stands up to extreme black-and-white thinkers of our society.
First and foremost, the Grey society is a diverse society. It is a colourful society.
Here, there’s equal room for everyone, regardless of their background, heritage, religion, sexual orientation, identity etc. This is not just a matter of tolerance, it is a matter of realising that this diversity is a pillar our society and that it makes us all stronger.
Whether you are situated on the left side of the Grey spectrum or on the right, whether you are brightly coloured Grey or situated perfectly in the middle; there is a fundamental understanding that everyone in the Grey spectrum shares their society with everyone else — and that despite the many differences, there are even more similarities to share.
Following the observation of this diverse society, you can’t escape the fact that in such a society, opinions and political visions are bound to clash. There are multiple ways one can respond to such a clash. One can decide to ignore it. To remain silent. Or, one can decide to engage with those opinions through debate! To lay bare the differences that might hide underneath the surface.
Peace isn’t a utopia where everyone is happily and euphorically singing together around the campfire. Peace is, above all else, dealing with conflicts and clashes in a respectful and non-violent manner.
The collusion of opinions and beliefs isn’t something negative. It is one of the basic principles of an open society. By engaging in a debate, problems can be brought to light, people are encouraged to be critical and creative, and new suggestions can be found to improve our society.
As long as this debate remains open, with respect for everyone’s opinion, and at the end of the day people remain willing to shake each other’s hands — perhaps even enjoy a glass of beer or a cup of tea afterwards — then you know that we, as a society, are capable of dealing with conflicts in a peaceful manner.
Even when people aren’t able to meet each other halfway, it is still possible to listen to the other person, to place yourself in their situation — to show empathy. When that happens, the differences won’t disappear, but you will understand where people are coming from.
Mutual understanding and empathy prevent alienation and also give us the opportunity to emphasise those aspects we do have in common. In the end, almost every individual is striving for the same things in life, despite the many different ways one might express it.
The concept of nuance has already been looming in the background for a while. Issues always have multiple angles to approach them by. And although Dare to be Grey doesn’t argue that the truth always lies perfectly in the middle between two extremes, we do argue that, at the very least, it’s even less plausible to reduce it to a black-and-white opposition.
By staying away from black-and-white fallacies, and by allowing nuance to enter your personal convictions, the possibility to build bridges will always be available. No matter how wide the gap between you and the other individual appears to be at first glance.
Having doubts about a certain subject or debate isn’t necessarily the most applauded activity one can engage in nowadays. However, we would argue that it actually is one of the most important components of a conversation.
Those who doubt are the ones who can tip a debate in the right direction. Whenever two parties argue, those who doubt have already taken the arguments of both sides of the aisle into consideration. These people are the ones who are capable of looking at the issue from multiple perspectives and understand where the arguments, and the people promoting them, originate from.
When the doubter decides to take the stage, and to engage themselves in the debate, it is the moment when both parties gain a new and serious opportunity to find a solution and finally move on.
When it comes to nuance, doubt, empathy —being Grey —, we are still facing a certain stigma of boringness or cowardice. As if being Grey would be something you’d only do if you wouldn’t dare to stand up and defend your ground.
It’s Dare to be Grey’s mission to break that stigma.
In times like these — when the pitfalls of polarisation are everywhere and social media encourages the extremes to come forward — it is essential to mobilise the Grey Middle Ground. It is time to tell everyone that we are the solution to this global problem.
Join us, and Dare to be Grey!