We are not always comfortable with the unfamiliar.

 

When I was very young, I lived in a community of Hispanics.  Everyone looked like me.  The people I loved most looked like me.  In first grade, we moved to a small mining town in Arizona.  My mother left me in the care of my new teacher, who after welcoming me, prudently directed another student to show me the bathroom.  This is how I met Vivian.  

Vivian had long, red hair the color of a shiny, copper penny.  She greeted me with smiling, pale, blue eyes framed by washed-out , spidery lashes. What was most startling, were the rust colored freckles that covered her from head to toe.  When Vivian clasped my hand to show me to the bathroom, I worked at gently extricating my hand from her grasp.  I was afraid her freckles would jump onto my brown skin!

Who would have known I would one day dedicate my life to promoting tolerance, to learning about other people, and to making people THINK about their own personal biases.  

We are all Vivian to someone else.

 

Posted on July 13, 2016 .