I cried the first time I read the novel Black Like Me and continue to be moved by it today. Growing up in rural Wisconsin, I was isolated from most racial issues and never realized how polarized our culture was. Black Like Me made those issues impossible to ignore.
I was raised to believe that God loves all people and that we should treat each other the same. I'd like to think that my treatment of another would not change because of his skin color. This book forced me to question whether that was true. This character's clothing, intelligence, material wealth and behavior were consistent, but the treatment he received from others was not. When he appeared white, he was accepted as a valued citizen, while when he appeared black, he was subjected to horrible abuse and cruelty.
Besides making me sad, this forced me to look at the way I evaluate others when I first meet them.
I was disheartened to realize how much my perception was affected by externals. I am more determined than ever to promote equality in our society for all people in their pursuit of all opportunities. I can't change the world, but I can change my own attitude and behavior. I think that acceptance, unity and change come one person at a time, one interaction at a time. I am committed to doing my part because of Black Like Me.