Do You See People as People?
LEILA LESSONS — COLOR BLIND?
Through What Colored Glasses Do You See People?
Leila has no prejudices. We never taught her that, and she didn’t pick any up from anyone.
Do you recall the song from the musical South Pacific “ You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” sung by John Kerr (in the 1958 movie) as Lieutenant Joseph Cable, USMC? He sang it to an island French plantation owner Emile de Becque, played by Rossano Brazzi (Whoo-hoo! -I don’t know how to describe a wolf whistle in print).
Anyway, the occasion for the song was just after the Thanksgiving Day revue called the Thanksgiving Follies put on by the GIs and led by nurse Ensign Nellie Forbush from Little Rock, Arkansas, who had had a rather sheltered upbringing. She decided not to marry Emile, with whom she had fallen in love, after learning that he had been married to a Polynesian woman who bore him 2 adorable children. She couldn’t get over her prejudice. She said that she couldn’t help it, that it was born in her.
Emile complained to Lt. Cable that he cannot believe that these feelings of prejudice are born in “us”. Cable said that they’re not, and sang the song.
Well, we never exposed my daughter Leila who happens to have Down syndrome to prejudice. My children and I observed cruelty and deliberate teasing to hurt us overtly and subtly about her. But she never felt it. So she never had negative feelings about anyone, unless they deliberately hurt her to her face, which was rare.
That’s why I say she is color blind. To her people are people, no matter the skin tone, physical attribute, speaking ability, etc. She doesn’t analyze this, is not aware that she does this. To her it just “is”. And we don’t need to define the definition of what “is” is.
Without all the mental junk that crowds the minds of those of us who are less simple in thought and judgment, she and people like her are an example for the world.
Why can’t we all be more like that?
Fewer bad examples from the news, family, friends would be a tremendous help, especially in these times.
I’m not saying that Leila cannot be manipulative to some extent, but never to hurt someone. That’s another story.
What’s your story? Are you or are you trying to be color blind?
If not, why not?