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How can we see each other as UNIQUE and get past Different?

Diversity Images

Watching the news over the past few weeks, I could not help but notice that racial issues are still plaguing our nation today.

There is a disconnect going on with racial profiling and we need a deeper dialogue to understand what is going on.

You may have to think back a few years, to 2010 when the Broadway best musical "Memphis" hit the stage with a foot tapping barrage of singing, dancing, and thinking. It takes place in the 1950's when racial equality was still a seed just planted and yet to sprout. Blacks were "different" than white folks and there was nothing to question, merely accept.


When one white disc jockey began playing a "different" kind of music, music that touched a place inside that could not be translated into words in those days. It was an overtly "simpler" time, a time not to question, not to discuss, not to challenge.


Underneath there was a pulsating beat that something was wrong in our country, seriously wrong. In the ‘50's we were enjoying the fruits of winning that ugly war, that one where Hitler and his thugs were defeated and there was prosperity in the land.


We had not learned the lessons of prejudice, of meaningless and wasteful polarization. Our country was front and center to help liberate the Jews, now it was time to get on with our lives.


Some brave souls began to question why it was unfair to have separate drinking fountains, why, after all the fighting for a better world; it was still a society of discrimination and polarization. Most talk was under the surface in the 1950's, people were politer than they are today. There were no "shock jocks" on the radio, any finger pointing and blaming as there is today. Nasty things were said in whispers and behind closed doors.


Everyone knew the injustice was there and at the end of act one of this juicy show, there is a song about "change is coming."


Have we really learned? There were blacks and whites sitting together in the audience, respectfully sharing a slice of life from the past. There was a beautiful woman sitting next to me visiting Manhattan for the first time in twenty years. We talked before the play, hoping it would meet our expectations; after all it won that Tony for Best Musical of 2010. And when it was over we turned to each other and spontaneously hugged, brown arms blending with white. It mattered to each of us in our own ways.


Polarization is at an all-time high and chaos has escalated. We are alienated from each other and fear sells better than ever. And yet, just like the courageous folks who said no to discrimination and disrespect in the 50's there are plenty who are breaking boundaries of hate and prejudice now. It's time for more of us to take the lead, to once again say "change is coming" and get on the "change plane" to find a better way of relating.

Except......No! There is no except!!!!!

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