Wow. What a film.

I’m always at least a couple of years behind with movies. Most of the stuff I see at the theater is geared for kids, and it never seems to be a priority to rent anything else at home.

I’d heard about this movie, and it has been sitting in the back of my mind for awhile. Today I finally watched it, and of course my eyes are red and puffy. Good thing I’m sitting here alone with my dog, and no one can make fun of me. (My dad used to sniff dramatically and wipe his eyes whenever one of us would be touched by something on television. Then he’d sit there and smirk.)

This dark film explores human behavior and prejudice in a deep, honest way. I think it should be required viewing for every human being on the planet.

Forming judgments without having facts… thinking people who look alike always act alike… growing up with stereotypes and neglecting to challenge them… walking around in anger and taking it out on the world around us… living from fear instead of love.

I do that.

I grew up in Indiana. My grandparents would joke about “koons” and “boogie heaven,” and thankfully, that never seemed to impact my feelings about black people at all. (I’m not going to worry about being politically correct just to be polite. I’ll say “black” because “African American” sounds stuffy and fake to me.) My best friend here in NJ is a beautiful Nigerian woman, and the color of her skin is like hair color to me – different from mine, no big deal.

My mother came to visit me once when I lived in DC, and we took the metro line for sight-seeing. We sat in front of some women speaking a foreign language, and it nearly drove my mother nuts. She has no tolerance for people who can’t speak English. The joke was on her when I brought home my French-speaking Belgian to attend my sister’s wedding.

But…

I actually turned down a date last week by saying my personality doesn’t really get along well with “New York” types. He was overweight, overbearing, tattooed completely on one leg, probably Italian, with a loud, obnoxious-sounding accent. And he tried way too hard to convince me that he was a “nice guy.” He probably is. I wouldn’t know, because I judged him the first time I saw him, and if you’ve read much of this blog, you know how I feel about the people in this area in general.

I hate that I do that. I don’t know how not to do that. But I suspect it has something to do with loving myself enough first. Loving all the parts of myself… my Hoosier accent, my freckled skin, my loud mouth, my occasional extra pounds from the food binges… my sometimes unsuccessful attempts at fashion and hairstyle…

So that when I finally see “my eyes in your eyes through my eyes,” I am not filled with rage and contempt, but rather, love and acceptance.

This is it, folks. If we can figure out how to love people we think are unlovable, we can say good-bye to terrorism and war.

Let it begin with me.

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