Same Color—Inside

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“People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” —1 Samuel 16:7, NIV

Melissa and I emerged from the elevator into a spacious lobby.

“Good morning,” I said to the receptionist.

“My name is Arlene Taylor, and this is Melissa.” Four pairs of dark eyes looked at us while a fifth pair glanced at the pages of registrants.

“Are you sure you are in the right place?” The fifth pair of eyes now stared at me closely. “You are not on the list.” “Probably because I am the keynote speaker,” I replied, smiling. Five pairs of eyes watched me. Retrieving a note from my computer case, I said, “This is the Leadership Convention for Women of Color, right?” Five heads nodded.

Ten eyes looked uncertain. Finally, one brave registrar said, “You’re not a woman of color.” “Guess that depends on your definition of color,” I replied, smiling.

“My very impractical skin is covered with freckles of every hue imaginable.” Melissa giggled. One pair of eyes left the registration table and gestured to a well-dressed woman near the entrance door. “The keynote speaker is here,” we heard her whisper.

“But she is, uh, not a woman of color. She is, uh, Caucasian. Did you know that?” The well-dressed woman came over and welcomed us warmly.

Melissa said, “Our hearts are all the same color, you know.” On stage, the woman whispered, “You might want to make a comment about color. You know, address the elephant in the room.” I nodded. We both smiled. Stepping to the podium, I said to the ten-thousand-plus eyes staring at me, “I am aware that my dearth of melanin is glaringly obvious.” There were a few chuckles. “Please make your right hand into a fist. Imagine it is covered by a dark pink glove. That represents the size and color of your heart. Regardless of skin tones, our hearts are the same color. As a matter of fact, so are our brains.” Amid a good deal of applause, I began my presentation on brain function. Lord, help me to focus on the inside—where we are all the same color.

Arlene R. Taylor

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