"I don't see color."
That phrase bothers me. It makes me so uncomfortable and wary of the person who utters it. In my mind I imagine that the person will paint me grey, rush over my own unique challenges, misappropriate my culture and completely fail to communicate with me.
I adore the differences in the cultures of the World. The security guard in my building is Irish and the stories of his life are so different from my own and so interesting. I believe that because I want to understand and honor his own unique experience of life, he and I will always communicate well.
The young black cashier at my grocery store, born in Canada but with strong ties to her Trinidadian background blesses me when she talks about her desire to pursue a career in Midwifery. She refers to the challenges of her relatives as inspiration to provide proper care to the birthing process.
My college roommate gave me a wonderful collection of Wasabi paper calligraphy. It is a very old poem steeped in the legends and culture of the Japanese.
If just these three were but human beings to me, not Irish, Trinidadian or Japanese, how can I honor their roots? How do I show them that I understand they are different from me, unique in this world and not representative of all of their own people?
I see color. I love it and our differences. Each taken as a pillar to support one another creates a strong building in which we can all dwell.