Listening to NPR this afternoon I found out that today was the 50th anniversary of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.
This was a year before I was born and it was a really, really big deal. Really.
We sometimes take for granted where we are and how far we have come.
Here are the words from The Snowy Day site:
In this Caldecott Award-winning book, a small boy named Peter experiences the joy of a snowy day. First published in 1962, this now-classic book broke the color barrier in mainstream children’s publishing. The vivid and ageless illustrations and text, beloved by several generations of readers, have earned a place in the pantheon of great American children’s literature.
Broke the color barrier. Let that sink in.
On NPR they talked about children who started using brown crayons when they drew themselves.
For. The. First. Time.
This book allowed them to see a protagonist that looked like they did. And do.
No longer would they color themselves with pink crayon.
I’m reading “Ice” today. It’s Ice-T’s memoir.
Ice-T experienced what it was to “pass” for white when he was small.
That was before he understood that people were treating darker people differently than him.
His mom told him “Honey, people are stupid.”
Unfortunately, today we are far from perfect in our treatment of race.
Many people are still stupid.
Today is a great day to stop that. We can all start a new discipline.
No matter where we land on the continuum from angel to devil in this area, we can do this.
If. We. Choose.
What if we all started truly paying attention to how we treat people who appear outwardly different?
What if we decided to notice this as much as we possibly can every day?
If we want to make a muscle stronger, we exercise it.
Let’s exercise our intentional, our “paying attention” muscle and make it stronger.
Ezra Jack Keats has a great place for us to start.