“The girl with the brown skin. . .”

That’s how I described my third-grade best friend to my mom – before I knew about racism, before I knew about slavery.  To me it was as simple as describing someone’s hair color.  I loved my best friend, and I didn’t see her any different from myself.  We played together every day at recess, and I even shared with her the secret of my crush from second grade.

You might say this is the way it should be: children playing together, treating each others as equals, completely unaware of the laws that separated their families only decades prior.

Unfortunately, America has taken a step back.

I can’t imagine the pain of those who have lost loved ones unnecessarily.  Who could have known that America – the land of the free – would turn against itself because of matters settled last century.

Racism.  I cringe at the thought.

People forget that we live in America, a land known for its diversity and opportunity – a land formed because of differences.

The truth is, you can find people from just about every origin in America.  Every color of skin has a place here in the melting pot of humanity and culture.  No one should feel left out or misplaced.

I remember when I took my first trip out of the country.  I was sixteen and on my way to Uganda, Africa.  Talk about feeling out of place.  I went with three others, and we spent two and a half weeks traveling and teaching English phonetics to school teachers.

In two and a half weeks, we saw only one three others with light skin.

The children would call out “Mzungu!” (meaning “white person”) when we approached.  Some of the younger children wouldn’t approach us because they were afraid.  The culture was so different and unique with some of the most loving people I’ve ever met.

I only laughed at the reactions when people saw us.  After growing up in a diverse country, I was shocked at how rare it was for a light-skinned person to walk through town.  Despite our differences, I was never threatened.  Even being a minority in a third-world country, I was treated with great hospitality.

Likewise, we didn’t threaten them.  The whole purpose of the trip was to help these people to learn and teach English so that they might benefit.

What’s hard for me to understand is how America, a great country, is dividing itself because of skin color.

Why do we point fingers and blame?  The time of blaming others is over.  I’m personally sick of all hashtags.

Everywhere I look its #blacklivesmatter or #alllivesmatter.  Guys, People Matter.

When will we stop trying to prove who matters and start showing love to everyone?  Because, seriously, who is going to come out and say someone doesn’t matter?  Hopefully no one.  Those who do are living in the past and should be shown even more love because of it.

The past is hard to overcome, and no amount of arguing in the world is going to help forgive.  Only love can do that.

So let’s leave the negative comments behind and work on loving people – all people.  Whomever we come into contact with, because the only way we can change America and move past this is for us to unite against this hatred and move onto a loving environment.  Let’s prove that America is still welcoming of diversity.

Love your neighbor, whomever he/she may be.  Don’t let your evaluation of a person be merely skin deep because it will only reflect how shallow you are.

Come on, America. #Spreadthelove.


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