When dad Michael Jensen shared a photo of his son Mikey on Facebook, he had no idea he’d be opening a discussion on racism that would touch the lives of thousands.
It was “Twin Day” at Mikey’s elementary school, a day when students get to choose the person they think is most like them and wear matching outfits. For Mikey, the choice of who would be his twin was clear: he and his best friend Nehemiah are like two peas in a pod. Mikey and Nehemiah were so excited to wear their shirts and show off how alike they are!
“It’s twin day at Mikey’s school today. This is him and his best friend, Nehemiah,” Michael wrote. “He was asked what makes them different, and Mikey said ‘Nothing, he’s just bigger.'”
The photograph is striking because obviously these kids are different races, yet at the heart of the matter they’re exactly alike, aren’t they? They’re both the same age, go to the same school, wear the same clothes, like the same sports, and share the same silly sense of humor. To other kids there is no difference — they’re twins.
Michael’s post soon went viral and others began sharing their own stories of kids being totally color-blind. Suddenly this simple photo was highlighting the fact that no one is born racist. Racism and the hatred of those who look different is taught, not inherent. With this in mind, it’s also clear that racism can and should be wiped out from our society with more love, acceptance, and education. Friendships like Mikey and Nehemiah’s are a great start towards that effort!
Soon other Facebook users began sharing pictures and anecdotes about their own kids and their “twins,” and each story left us more hopeful for a future where ethnic bias does not exist. “Our son had twin day with his best buddy here in Woodstock, GA too,” said Pamela Ann.
“Reminds me of the day my daughter came home from school and they’d just started African American history month,” wrote Maryalice Surdovel Moroz. “She was so excited to tell me one of the girls in her class was African American. I replied that I’d known, and, with such a serious face, she asked, ‘How could you tell?'”
“My niece and my daughter ‘twinning,'” wrote Phillip Hoffman.
Being “color-blind” isn’t just for kids, either. Some adults were quick to point out that they themselves have learned to see past a person’s appearance and focus solely on who they are inside.
“Two of my grandsons are from Ethiopia,” stated Randy-Lori Wigent. “One is a wrestler. I was sharing his wrestling picture with a friend. (One wrestler was white, my grandson is black.) I stated: he is the one in red. That’s when I realized I didn’t see color, and I’m 58. It’s a matter of the heart.”
It certainly is “a matter of heart!” More than 11,000 people commented on Michael’s post so clearly this is a topic that deserves our attention as a nation. The more we foster friendships that span cultures, ethnicity, socio-economic status and other hurdles, the more united we will be in these United States. It’s worth fighting for, so teach your children well!
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