Color, Grayscale, and the March

A few weeks ago we told Eliza I would be turning 50 later this year.  “Wow,” she said, “15!”

My 3 year old doesn’t understand fifty except that it sounds like fifteen.

I don’t know if I understand 50 or not, but it feels pretty close.

Especially today; the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

50 years ago today MLK delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech.

For most of my life, 50 years seemed like a long time.  Not so much any more.

I think of the early 1960s mostly in black and white. I don’t mean racially, but that most of the film and photos I’ve seen from those years are in black and white.

The March on Washington took place because things were too black and white.  We don’t seen things in black and white anymore, unless we choose to use that filter on Instagram for effect. (interesting: Chrome’s dictionary wanted to correct instagram with Instamatic. Chrome must be almost 50 to know the word Instamatic!)

Depending on whom you ask, things have changed a lot since the March in ’63.  Most significant, though, African-Americans are far less likely to believe things have changed much for the better than anyone else.  To me, this means things haven’t changed enough.

Perhaps technology can help.  We now (usually) refer to what used to be called black and white as grayscale.  Dealing with shading on computers, black and white refers to two and exactly two shades: black, and white.

Grayscale means black and white and all the shades in between.  in the typical black and white picture, there is actually very little absolute black and very little absolute white.  Almost everything is some shade in between.

The world may be a little less black-and-white than it was on August 28, 1963.  We all see colors all around us – and our video and still images confirm the colors of our world.



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