Friends Of A Different Color


Frozen in my 1963 first grade school class picture is the innocence of kids who see each other only as classmates. A time when we were friends of different colors and backgrounds. My best friend at the time was Marvin. He was black and I was white. But all I recall is that I didn’t think of him as anything other than a cool kid who at one time took the rap for me when I did something wrong in class. I don’t recall why he did so, or why I let him do so. Or what I did wrong. What I do remember is that I liked him and to this day I have fond feelings when I look at this photo.

Two years later, another elementary school was build close to my home to which I was transferred, and I lost track of Marvin. I hope he is still alive and doing well. Over my lifetime I have had friends from various background of religion, culture, and ethnicity. And in the end I have always found that I liked them according to their standards, personalities and moral character, not the color of their skin or the God they worshipped! Perhaps I am naive, but I think I am not unusual in my feelings. I love learning about other cultures and enjoy associating with those who can educate and teach me different ways of life. I always come away from those relationships a better human for developing those friendships. I may not always understand and share the views of others, but I always come away wiser and more tolerant of others.

Sometimes I think the intolerance for each other’s differences is magnified by some who are profiteers of hate, and we are left thinking, as I often am; “I don’t feel that way,” when the brush is broad and the paint is wide! It is a big world and there is plenty of room for friends of a different color and diversity of backgrounds. We can co-exit without being the same! We can share this world without it being laced with enmity. And friends of a different color can rejoice in the good that each of us brings to the circle of life. (Marvin and I are next to each other at the end of the middle row)

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