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A Tale of Two Little Americans

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Back in 1963, (maybe 64) two little American boys were playing marbles in the sand. It was a small patch of sand washed by the rain from a cobblestone street in a little German village. Both boys were about five or six years old and of average size for their age. All of their attention was directed at their game, so they didn’t notice the four older German boys walking up the sidewalk. Now, since the German boys back in those days tended to play rough, what could have happened next may have been a misunderstanding. Whether he meant any harm or not, one of them smacked one of the little American boys on the back of the head and made him cry. As they kept walking by, the other American boy scrambled to his feet and shouted,”WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!” The German boy who did the smacking just threw his hand back as if to dismiss the younger boy’s outrage. Ignoring the fact that they were all a good two feet taller than he, the furious little American took a running jump and landed on the back of the German boy. His teeth immediately clamped on the German boy’s ear, and he did his best to remove said ear. The older boy howled in pain and began to spin and buck like a rodeo bronco. The other German boys tried to help remove the crazy little American, but by then the little guy who had been crying jumped into the ruckus swinging and punching. Then, as the German boy finally threw the American off his back, the landlady ran him and his friends off with a broom.

Now, that crazy little American boy who jumped on the back of that German boy and bit his ear? That was me. And the little American boy who got smacked? That was Benny … Jimenez. Yes, I’m mostly Caucasian and Benny was Hispanic. Now, don’t get me wrong. I also had many German friends, (one of which was the landlady). Yet, I learned at that early age, that I had more in common with Benny than I did with those German boys, (who also had light skin). Benny and I spoke the same language, played the same games, and had the same sense of fair play. The color of our skin was just a minor detail compared to all we had in common. At that young age I learned a lesson which I still reflect on as an adult. It has helped me realize a truth about all humanity.

No matter what our skin color, we really are more alike than different.

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