Brown, brown, BROWN…

If  a picture is worth 1000 words, this is going to be a very long post. On Friday, my daughter’s school had diversity night.  I’ve seen other such events in the past, and most of them are pretty contrived. However, this particular evening was one I won’t forget. Some of the pictures come from the school’s website. The other pictures were taken on my phone, so the quality isn’t as high as I would like. My apologies for that.

This is the school’s Step Team, which opened the festival in the cafeteria.

Here, two boys from Ghana are eating papusas from Honduras.

Israel was across the hall from Lebanon and down the hall from Bulgaria. Across from Israel is a woman showing a child where her country is on a globe.  Another hall had Pakistan right next to Afghanistan. Although there are no Afghani students in the school, there are children of soldiers. One soldier brought food, pictures and artifacts from Afghanistan. He spoke highly of the Afghan people, and his experiences during his tour were surprisingly positive. He was a fine ambassador for the army to young people.

The end of the night brought a world fashion show, followed by these children from Ballet Folklorico. They were followed by a group from Asia, who were getting ready outside:

That’s the great thing about America. Maybe the greatest thing. I’m always proud and excited to see the U.S. Olympic team at the opening ceremonies. Not because of the enormous number of medals we have won over the years, but because of the color brown.

Nobody is really black or white or red or yellow. We’re all a different shade of the color brown. When, say, Ireland marches through, it’s all the same brown. Same with Kenya. Same with Japan.

The U.S. arrives with a hundred different shades of brown. Celebrating under the flag. Happy to be representing the United States of America. It’s not some sort of quiet pride. It’s more like a pure joy. My belief is that the joy comes from the idea that we are bound together by ideas and ideals, not skin color and heritage.

I had the good fortune to see a great many of those shades of brown interacting with each other Friday night. Each interested in the others’ stories (and food). Seeing each other as some see the cover of an interesting novel.

Truly a blessing to be here.

About Paul T. Henley, Ph. D.
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