A picture on Facebook caught my eye this week. There was a picture of two young boys. They are best friends. And they decided to get the same hair cut, a very short buzz cut. They figured that that way, the teacher would not be able to tell them apart. Both had bright eyes. Both had large grins sporting a few gaps where baby teeth had fallen out and were awaiting permanent teeth to replace them. Both had similar t-shirts on. Yes by all accounts it would be impossible for the teacher to tell the two boys apart. Except for one thing. To any other observer of the photograph, they would see that one of the boys was black and one was caucasian. It just is so obvious to us that the two boys are not twins, but to the two boys there was no difference.
Now what are we to say about this? The boys are colourblind? The boys had missed the obvious? Oh sure we could say that- they had missed an obvious difference. But I think the two boys are teaching us much more. They were telling us that despite one having decidedly more melanin in their skin, the two boys were essentially the same. They were both 7 year old boys, with toothy grins, similar hair cuts, the same clothes, who were in the same class, and who were friends. They were the same in their minds, despite the fact that they had different skin colours.
Now I know that we are taught to link up with those that are similar to us. Take for example when we are travelling in a foreign land. We are more likely to feel better when we find someone who speaks the same language that we do. At school, I felt closer to those who were in the drama club with me, rather than the volleyball team which I had nothing to do with. I am also more at home in a familiar neighbourhood then one thousands of miles away. Our ancestors relied on protection from their local tribe in order to survive.
Things have changed now. We do not need to be so separate from those that are different. The two boys in the picture have expanded their definition of what their tribe is all about- for them racial definitions don't matter. They had expanded their vision by removing those filters that make us "us" and "them". In this age of erecting walls, isn't it refreshing to know we can tear them down. The two boys teach us, that we can all be different and unique yet we can all be one.