Clash of Concepts

November 10 – Black-and-white

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony…

I didn’t have the privilege of growing up in a diverse environment. All of my classmates from kindergarten through high school were as white as the Blizzard of 1978. The only black people I saw were on television. I was drawn to performers like Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder and DeBarge because they looked different than me and all the faces I saw on a daily basis. My worldview reached beyond the holler. I craved uniqueness and diversity. I wanted to know new and different people. I wanted to be a friendly, accepting face in our prejudiced and cruel society.

We all know that people are the same wherever you go
There is good and bad in ev’ryone

My parents told me everyone was equal—that I was no better than the next person and I should never believe myself to be superior to another. They also told me I was as good as everyone else. I wouldn’t realize until years later how I would lack opportunities because I have a uterus. Just based on that limited experience, I can’t imagine the magnitude of discrimination, prejudice and danger that a person of color experiences on a daily basis.

We learn to live, when we learn to give
Each other what we need to survive, together alive

When our nation elected a black president, I thought that the divide between races would finally meld, and we, as a country, would become stronger. But eight years saw just as much turmoil as progression, and then, on one fateful day, our country’s divide split wide open and the dark, bigoted underbelly of the nation became apparent. I suppose it had always been there, but I thought we had grown beyond the civil rights era. We have not.

Side by side on my piano keyboard…

I have to believe all is not lost. I still hope we will unite as a nation someday and see no color, no gender, no sexual orientation, no religion, no difference.

…oh, Lord, why don’t we?

(Lyrics: Ebony and Ivory, written by Paul McCartney; sung by McCartney and Stevie Wonder)

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