Embrace every shade of every color--advice for college studentsDear Kid,

Yesterday my heating element went out. Which is weird because I’m usually too warm. But all of a sudden my circulation stopped working and my fingers and toes were ice cold (not to be concerned—this has happened many times before). Wherefore and hence, therefore and ergo, I went outside for a little bit to sit in the sun and warm up (how ridiculous is that for the end of August?).

As I sat there sunning myself like a happy reptile or the fuzzy boy (yesterday was crazy warm and Booker wanted to go out on the porch. In an act of indulgence Daddy said, “I’m not going to tell you no” and let him out where he flopped in his favorite corner and promptly fell asleep) …as I sat there baking in the sun waiting for feeling to return to my digits, I had the opportunity to reflect on all sorts of things (like I don’t have menus for next week figured out).

Just because I’m that kind of mom, I am going to share an important musing with you (that has nothing to do with menus).

Back in the day, we talked about being color blind—not the can-you-read-the-green-dots-number kind of color-blindness but the not-paying-attention-to-the-color-of-a-person’s-skin kind. It seems to me that the concept of ignoring color is completely out of date and that we are at a time when we should be embracing every color—because most people are many colors all at the same time. And I’m not talking about skin although I think skin color adds beauty to the world.

We should recognize and welcome the things that make us different. Can you imagine if everyone were the same? It might be momentarily fascinating but it wouldn’t take long for it to be just boring.

I love that different people celebrate the New Year on January 1, the first day of Tishri, tenth day of Muharram, or the first day of school. They each bring different colors to the world.

It’s wonderful that someone 6’5” looks at the top shelf very differently than I do. And that our ingenuity is tested very differently to get something off that shelf.

We should embrace people because their circumstances made them who they are as well as people whose choices made them who they are. We should be thrilled that some people study engineering and some study fine arts and still others study accounting or even forensic chemistry. It’s time to be delighted with all those different colors.

I’m not saying you have to love everyone. Just that it’s time for us as a society to get rid of the notion that the only fair way to think about people is remove all color from the equation. So if you’re going to dislike someone–just be sure you’re doing it because you really don’t like them, not because of something superficial like the color of their skin or the style of their hair or the Greek organization they belong to.

Being color blind is passé—it’s time to embrace every shade of every color. Except one or two shades of green that make me look like I am insanely ill. Those I will embrace from afar so no one will rush me off for a vitamin treatment.

Lecture over. There will be a test. It’s called Life.

Love, Mom

August 30, 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first African American to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice a fact I did not discover until after I’d written the blog…