Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10
The tops of my feet are tan. I’m surprised every time I see them. The outline of my new water shoes is clearly visible as is the white band where the ankle strap runs. I’m usually covered head to toe when I go out in the sun. Big floppy hat, long sleeved shirt, yoga pants, socks and shoes. But, on a recent week long camping trip to Rainbow River, my happy place, my new water shoes were so comfortable I didn’t add socks. Though I put sun screen on my feet in the mornings, hours of water logged fun left my feet unprotected by mid-day. Now, I have brown feet. Though my dermatologist would not approve, I like my brown feet. In the 1800s, white women went to great lengths to keep their skin pale. Pale skin was a sign of wealth. It meant you had someone else to do the outdoor chores, the hoeing and weeding, the laundry, the harvesting. You could sit on the porch, sip lemonade (that someone else prepared) and be cooled by a fan (that someone else waved). Almost two hundred years later, tan skin is a sign of wealth. You have the time to lay by the pool, to go to the beach, to take a vacation. Funny how our attitudes change. Today, I voted for a person of color to be the governor of my state. If he is elected, he would be the first for a state that has been run by the “good old boys” since it was just a territory. Don’t get your panties in a wad; this post is not to knock the good old boys. That would take more than 500 words. Some of the things that the good old boys did were beneficial to our state’s growth. Some, not so much. Particularly for people of other skin colors. As I look at my tan feet, I wonder what it will take to get people comfortable with change. To look beyond skin color to the character inside. Recently, we went to dinner with family members. Our server was of mixed race, and an older member of our family loudly called her a mulatto. The rest of us shushed her, and looked at our plates in embarrassment. The younger crowd had never heard of the word and needed an explanation. I fear that it will take my generation and the one older than me to die before our world can be completely changed. We are the last generation to experience government sponsored segregation. I remember going to the beach when the only people of color were the sun burned ones who slathered themselves with baby oil. Long taught values and culture can be hard to overcome without divine intervention. Can you teach an old dog to love their neighbor no matter their skin tone? Changing attitudes is a choice. It starts in our heart. Don’t wait for the next generation to be the change. Let it start with you.