It was a day like many others; I was out, running errands. Last stop, T. J. Maxx. Once shopping was complete I joined what seemed an unusually long line for this time of day on a weekday. As I began the slow journey to cashier number 5 my eyes caught the scene in front of me. An incredibly diverse group of people who entered the line as individuals were suddenly transformed into clusters here and there, having happy conversations, laughing and sharing stories. No one was face down in their cell phones. Rather they were eye-to-eye enjoying the presence of those with whom they were paused together in time.
It was a sight that felt so uplifting that an image of mini-United Nations popped into my head. Imagine that. In that little space, shoppers queued up and manifested diversity, unity, and acceptance without giving it a thought. In that space, these individuals weren’t Black and White. They were more than their appearances of African American, European, Latin, Middle Eastern, Asian and all the categories by which we are divided. No one cared whether or not one was tatted, strait-laced, bisexual, gay. In that space, one was not more racially superior than the other. They were just shoppers, equally. They were participants in a conversation, equally. They were united by their common interests and pursuit to shop and their skin and race did not influence that one bit.
This experience serves as a reminder of the potential for humankind on a grander scale and in other instances; where we share the same space and rather than seeing the color of the person’s skin, we see the person. This is the potential when one moves from the heart and not the history, the way that children do.
When children are young, they tend to be drawn to other children. This magnetism isn’t influenced by skin color, attraction, etc. but the fact that there’s another little person in their presence regardless of what they look like, who they are or what they do. If adults were to embody this magnetism, mirrored by the way the T.J. Maxx shoppers engaged each other, it would pave a way to a deeper understanding of what it means to be human, what it means to be a community. If children can relish in a state of blissful unawareness of color or little regard for it, then adults are capable of doing the same. Our opinions, perceptions, and ideologies have been colored and tainted due to societal and generational influence. However, the demonstration by our children and that of these spontaneous mini-United Nations, we have the potential to not only put an end to this phenomenon of separation but to forge a path to a more open and united community of people. We may share different skin, but every human eats and breathes, needs food shelter and clothing just like everyone else. We bleed like everyone else and want the best for ourselves and those we care about like everyone else. We share the same spaces, we are capable of sharing the same perspective, as well; one of openness, acceptance, and understanding.