Losing the Beauty

“Father Time Overcome by Love, Hope, and Beauty” by Simon Vouet. I’m no art expert, but it seems we can still appreciate the push for love, hope, and beauty, though I’d have thought that Time might have given in by now.

Last week, I talked about how sad it was that my students had a stubborn bigoted view of the world. This week, I want to discuss the effects of such views. Not only had they completely lost the meaning of two fantastic essays, but lousy attitudes such as theirs continue to put a black eye on a beautiful region of our country that they supposedly love.

Some of the attitudes in America’s southern states have always been a sort of anomaly to me. On one hand, they are famous for their hospitality and respectful manner (I love the habits of addressing people with “sir” or “ma’am”). And who doesn’t like their terms of affection for complete strangers (shoog, darlin’, hun, etc.)? 🙂

I think we all know the other side to the South that is like it’s evil twin.

Now, I’m certainly not indicating that all Southerners with these habits have bigoted views, but some do. I remember one of the kids who didn’t “get” the Canada essay because of being considered a “Yankee” by the author. Otherwise, he was actually a very respectful kid. He was always dressed like a ranch hand and while he wasn’t an exceptional student, he completed his work, was never rude to me, or caused a disruption in class.

Last week, I saw this charming Cheerios commercial and heard about the controversy over it. I wonder how that student would have viewed it?

Would he not have even considered the premise of the scene – that is, a little girl who loves her daddy so much that she want’s to make sure that his heart is healthy? Given that he failed to see the humor in the Canada essay, I’m disheartened to say that he probably would not.

If there is love in a family, why should the color of the skin matter? People have all sorts of views on this commercial, for what I would think to be strange reasons. And that’s okay. Anyone is entitled to their opinions.

But when the beauty of love is overlooked because people are offended… that really doesn’t sit right with me.

I know I have views that some people would find offensive. I may find other’s views offensive. I must admit that my gut reaction to people who disliked the commercial for racial reasons was, “They must bleed a different color…ugly.” But then, to forget completely that we are all human and have our own beauties about us, I certainly hope I never fall into that trap. If I ever am, I beg of you, using an open mind, call me out on it. I will listen.

What did you think of the commercial? Can you see it’s charm, or do you see skin color? Are you appalled that some of us are still stuck in the 50’s?