“I see the same stars through my window that you see through yours, but we’re worlds apart, worlds apart. And I see the same skies through brown eyes that you see through blue, but we’re worlds apart, worlds apart..”
“In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I don’t understand racism. Truly I don’t. Nowhere in my mind can I fathom the idea that any color of skin is superior to another. This would be surprising to most, considering the history of such thought in my family, in my upbringing. To this day snide comments and bad behavior are apparent around the dinner table, and it saddens me.
To that degree, I don’t understand organized religion either, and why it is so often used as a weapon to beat others down, and again give some a sense of superiority. Your God or Goddess is not any better or worse than mine, if I chose to believe in one. But I won’t be coerced into believing in a certain faith simply based on my Western culture and geography.
Faith to me is a very simple thing. It consists of one belief which has been translated into thousands of religions: Do the right thing, do no harm to others. Balance. Am I perfect? Is anyone? Of course not. But my karma is hopefully balanced. Atonement goes a long way. And gods are colorblind.
The color of my skin is about as white as can be. Many would think this has given me an advantage in my life. To those who naively think so, I invite to walk in my shoes. I know poverty, and hardship. I know despair, joy, anger and triumph. I know mistakes, and how to live with and learn from them. Pierce my skin and I promise that the same red blood flows through my veins as does anyone else’s. There have been glances from those who presume to be better than I in appearance, income or education.
Most importantly, I know the feeling of having personal freedoms stripped away, which seems to be the undercurrent of racism and the lack of civil liberties that Dr. King spoke of. To not be able to leave my home out of fear, and for the same reason not to feel safe in it. Knowing that others have wanted to corner me, cage me and own me. Being beaten, hated for no reason other than being alive, this has all been a familiar way of life.
My neighborhoods were primarily white throughout my childhood. It wasn’t until high school when I’d moved to the other side of town, where students were bussed in from the neighboring cities that I faced culture shock. Never had I seen such diversity, and promptly came home on the first day to declare my mutiny upon being the minority for the first time in my young life.
By the time I graduated, there was an understanding of the value of such diverse backgrounds and races. To this day it’s what ended up being the most important part of my education.
Now, I’m not saying I don’t laugh at the jokes about other races, including my own. Laughter is a common bond and if we can laugh at ourselves it goes a long way toward understanding. I’ve told some off-color jokes, but never with the intent of malice.
We’ve had lots of issues lately in our country regarding immigrancy. My personal take is that I don’t care who comes here to work and live and dream, as long as they are legal and not just here to drop a baby for their own citizenship. See, equality to me is not based on skin color, it’s based on paying the same taxes as everyone else. That’s all I ask. Give up forty percent of your paycheck like the rest of us.
No matter how it’s looked at, we’re all from the same cloth. If created by God, if evolutionized from the ocean, or reincarnated out of the same spiritual sands, we have all arrived here and need to coexist somehow. Especially as our colors are melting together more as each generation comes.
Is it so horrible to take the hand of your neighbor, be it black, white, brown or red? Is it going to burn to the touch? Of course not. Why would you judge on the color of skin, and not of hair or eyes? Why judge upon gender when one cannot exist without the other? It all comes down to looking beyond the outside and into the eyes of another. Look into my eyes to see my character, my soul, not that I’m a ginger, or a cracker, or a gimp because I walk funny. Look without fear to see who I am on the inside. The world would be a dreary place without color.
Dr. King isn’t the only one who had a dream. I long for not so much a Eutopian world, but one in which conflict is over ideas of the mind, not of the race. Imagine a world in which future generations have been able to find what we have not – unity. A united front to the hatred and the anger that has been a part of our country for so long.
It’s not something that will happen in my lifetime, but I can create a stepping stone for others simply by laying down my judgments based on the surface of who stands before me, and looking inward to who they are beneath their colors.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight…and all flesh shall see it together.”
“Just like the earth, just like the sun, two worlds together are better than one. I see the friendship in your eyes that you see in mine, but we’re worlds apart, worlds apart…”
~ Kymberlie Ingalls, January 25, 2010
Lyrics: Worlds Apart/Roger Miller
Quotes: I Have A Dream/Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.