“They don’t have to worry about race. We do. But we’re better for it, men. Let me tell you something: you don’t let anything – nothing – come between us. Nothing tears us apart.”
– Coach Herman Boone, Remember the Titans
The movie is based on the real-life story of a high school football team, the first one to practice integration instead of segregation in America. Needless to say, there were some high stakes and a lot of pressure. This team needed to win, to prove that blacks and whites could work together and be better for it. So when Coach Boone had to rally his team for their first game of the season, he did so by reminding them that they were better and stronger than the other team, thanks to their new diversity. He brought them together, united in spite of any differences. In fact, it was their differences that made their unity so strong.
I recently came across this video on Facebook. It’s about labels, what we call each other and ourselves, and what damage that does to us. I appreciate the sentiment of the video, trying to tear down the things that divide us, help us see that we are all human. However, I think there is something lost in what they’re saying, or, rather, how they’re saying it. They miss the mark, and take it just a little too far for my tastes.
“Labels” may set us apart, but so do our own names. Yes, we are all the same, to a point, but we are all different. I feel no shame in what makes me different from someone else. And there are many things which make me different: my appearance, my religion, my autism, my experiences, my heritage, my interests, my talents, etc.
When I was watching that video, it felt like they wanted us all to be equal… by being identical. Perhaps that is taking what they mean too far, but any virtue taken too far becomes a vice, so I thought I’d raise a voice of caution against that.
As I see it… black and white do exist. We are all different, but those differences are welcomed. We are different, but we choose to share the same fate. We are different, but we are united. We are different, but that just makes us stronger. That is the wonder and potency of equality, and America.
It’s a shame, no, a travesty, no… it is obscene how some people seem bent on tearing us apart.
Still, we don’t have to be without these “labels” in order to be equals. We don’t have to forget where we came from, to love people who are different. We don’t have to be ashamed of what makes us unique, to be united.
The “unity” of identical conformity is worthless, after all.
But the unity of diversity, now, that is powerful.