On a public stage, an African-American man urged minorities to build solidarity together in preparation for the upcoming elections through a simple method: smile at each other. A smile signals friendship, acceptance, and openness to connection. Hispanics and African-Americans, particularly, can use the smile as gesture of unity between them. This will be crucial, he said, as the empowered white politicos strive to divide minorities.
Hmm. . .my red eyebrows furrowed, white skin brow creased in thought, then these hazel eyes popped open and. . .I smiled. I smiled at the first person I saw, the woman with deep chocolate skin next to me. Then I smiled at the lighter brown kid next to her. Then the half-Asian, half-African man I walked by. Then a white lady. Then a Hispanic family. Then a homeless man. And on and on. I just smiled equally at every person I passed on my walk home. And I have not stopped smiling since.
It is a practice in equality. “We hold these truth to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal.” It’s our American credo, a standard of ideology that we must practice and contemplate each day to meet. If all are equal, all deserve my respect. A smile and a nod as we pass each other on the street sends the message, “I see you. You are welcome here. You are my equal. And I am yours.”
Smilng is not just for minorites. It is for all of us to build unity. It is a practice so simple, so common, that anyone of any gender, age, or race can engage in it. A societal transformational tool that no one can sell or steal, only give. A freedom of expression that lies within your power every day. . .all day.
. . .and a practice that brings you face to face with your own discrimination.
(To be continued.) Rivera Sun Cook