“Stop and stare. I think I’m moving but I go nowhere…do you see what I see?”–OneRepublic
More than a decade ago, I started volunteering at the children’s class at church. I would teach the kids songs, do crafts with them, and tell Bible stories. They are all in the 2- and 3-year-old age group.
Vancouver being very multicultural, I always had a good racial mix of children in my class. For a while, I had a beautiful little black girl in my class. Her skin was deeply and richly dark.
One day, the little black girl came in to class and she was sobbing, because she fell and cut her arm in the parking lot. As I tended to her wound, I remember my quiet surprise of seeing her pink flesh underneath the dark skin.
When I caught myself with that thought, I was ashamed of thinking it. Of course her flesh in pink! Have I somehow thought she was different because of her skin color?
I’ve been in Maun for 2 weeks now. Every time I walk down the road, or wander the isles of a grocery store, the local people stare at me as if I have 3 eyes and 2 heads. It’s just a curious stare, so I’ve always just greeted them, and they always smile and say hello back.
As I walked along the river yesterday, everybody stared at me until I walked past him or her. I was in a foul mood, so the staring finally annoyed me yesterday. It made me want to say, “I’m the same color as you underneath too!”
We choose how to interpret what we see with our eyes. Throughout history, we have used that interpretation to impose our wills on each other, or thought of ourselves better or worse than someone else because of it. How often do we stop and question whether our interpretation reflects the truth?