Tara's Thoughts

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Posted on: January 12, 2011

There is a whole lot of the pot calling the kettle black going on these days. Now, before you react to that statement read on.

 For those of you in what we call the “younger generations” who may not be familiar with it, that phrase has nothing to do with skin color. In my grandparents generation most frying pans were made out of iron. Which is a black metal. Most tea kettles – which sat on the stove opposite the frying pan – were silver. Probably made out of aluminum. So the pot calling the kettle black is a reference to those statements where you project your own choices, deficits or actions onto others. Generally others who might have the power to point out to you your own hypocrisy. Here’s one of my favorite Jewish teaching sayings meant to encourage you to look at yourself through other’s eyes before you decide what your reality may or may not be:

“If one person calls you a horse ignore them. If two people call you a horse think about it. If three people call you a horse buy a saddle.”

I’ll end this with one of the wisest statements I’ve ever heard anyone say. “Don’t believe everything you think.”   Dr. Wayne Dyer

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2 Responses to "The Pot Calling the Kettle Black"

Tara, I agree with your sentiment wholeheartedly, but your explanation of the saying is a bit off the mark. In them olden days, both the pot and the kettle were iron and blackened with use. In other words, they’re both black. The expression comes into play when, for example, person A is criticizing person B for an attribute or behavior shared by person A.

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Thanks for the explanation. I’m remembering my grandmother’s kitchen but I’m glad to have the wider view of the origin of this saying. The intent still holds and your person A & person B example is right on the mark!

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As a member of the Americana-Folk/Rock band, John Zipperer & Friends, Tara performs in around Los Angeles, CA (with an occasional out-of-town appearance). Come see for yourself why John Zipperer's CD "Full Circle" has been on the top 25 of the Roots Music Report Album Chart for over a year!

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