Last week David and I watched the movie Rosewood. I'd heard something about Rosewood... if you've been in Florida long enough it is one of those stories you hear the old folks talking about... but I didn't really know all of the details. The movie was riveting ... and at the same time, it made me so uncomfortable, I wished I could turn it off, or change the channel.
For the first time in my life, I was ashamed of the color of my skin. Not that I'd ever flaunted it before... I grew up in a time just before and after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination... in a time when color lines still divided schools, towns, and people. But it was never a line that I saw or that impacted me. I never noticed the difference enough to realize that those lines even existed.
MLK died when I was just six years old, and the year after his death, we moved to Germany for four years with my father's military assignment. Life in a military environment ... for us kids anyway ... didn't have color lines. Schools for military brats didn't separate us by color, only by age and reading skill.
When we returned, we spent a year in Arizona before moving to Florida at the end of the Viet Nam war in 1974. By then, any lines that divided schools weren't just black and white, but now included "yellow" ~ for a large Vietnamese refugee population.
But I still didn't think I was "all that and a bag of chips" because of the color of my skin. If anything, I might have wished I was more like the kids that had dark skin because I was tired of always burning, peeling, and freckling when I went out in the sun.
In retrospect, I realize that I grew up pretty naive.... and ignorant. But I also grew up with the belief that everyone was unique, special, and we were all pretty much the same.
I still believe that about people. Some are just lucky enough to have darker tans.