My local library, as part of the Nation Endowment for the Arts The Big Read program, is handing out free copies of To Kill a Mockingbird in an effort to get the whole community to read this book together. As part of this effort the library is hosting a large number of fabulous events to get us excited and get us reading. I attended one such event last night--even the kick off event. Dr. Rex Ellis, a fabulous storyteller, historian, and scholar, was the keynote speaker at the event and while the entire program was wonderful one particular comment Dr. Ellis made really hit me hard and gave me something to think about the rest of the night. So now you get to read about and then think about it yourselves. He commented, and I am doing some major paraphrasing here, the he doesn't believe people when they say that they don't see color (we are talking about race relations here). We all see color but the key is not to put a value on the color we see. I think (and this is me thinking now not Dr. Ellis) that too often we spend so much time falling all over ourselves trying to claim that we are colorblind that we end up missing out on opportunities to make real progress toward better so-called race relations (obviously there is no such thing as race beyond the racist stereotypes that have been drilled into our tiny little minds hence the so-called in this sentence). But what Dr. Ellis is saying is that we are different and it is okay (even good) to notice that difference as long as we do not make value judgments based on those differences.
So go out and celebrate, enjoy, find beautiful and awe inspiring our differences and do it without making those value judgments that too many who have come before us and too many currently around us are making (or else I'll come and beat you up--and remember I lived in Northern Ireland for awhile so I know things like how to carry out a kneecapping). Love you all.