Shades of Grey: Profanity and Public Discomfort

The Grey Area News reporter in Shades of Grey
The Grey Area News reporter in Shades of Grey

Some situations are viewed in black and white; right and wrong. Yet, many people think situations also have a grey area where solutions are not so easily discerned. This is not just about the choices people make, but the thought process they go through to arrive at their decisions.

Submitted for Your Discussion & Consideration

You stop into a shop for a service appointment. There’s a wait, and you are told to wait around for 20 minutes or more. You busy yourself by browsing items for sale, flipping through a newspaper, or playing on your smart phone.

A young man enters the store and tells one of the employees that he’s there for an appointment. As they talk, you realize that the young man is wearing a t-shirt with a socially-divisive phrase containing a swear word. You’re taken aback by the profanity, whether you agree with his t-shirt or not.

Do you think that you would judge this young man for walking in public with a curse word for all to see, even children?

Do you think that you would say something, either to the young man or the shop owner? Do you think you would become angry in public?  Would you ask that his t-shirt be turned inside out?

Or, would you just finish your own business and say nothing?

Do you think that if the t-shirt felt violent or threatening to you, that you might feel uncomfortable and leave the shop without saying anything?

Would it depend on the type of shop — an auto shop versus a department store? Or a shop with mostly male customers versus mostly female customers?  If children were present, would you be more or less likely to speak up?

About Kay Whatley 1922 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.