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Celebrating Diversity

I want to celebrate color because as a child I was taught differently.

I was taught to obey a white God who wore white garments and resided in a white heaven with white angels. I was taught that upon my first "holy communion," I would wear a white dress and white veil -and share in the "white" bread, the body and life of Christ (white son of God).

Elders told me that those who did not believe in the words of the white God or who were not Christians - would burn in a fiery place called "hell" with a red chimera (half-animal, half-man) wearing black hair and known as "the Devil."

Somewhere in the puzzled but genuine recesses of my young mind, I could not believe in "the Devil," the fiery place called "hell," or that indigenous peoples living in remote areas of the world and participating in different cultures and religions - were bad.

As a child, I was also made aware that clothing with multiple colors was unattractive. Because I grew up in a town with a substantial Puerto Rican (culturally rich in color) community - anyone wearing multiple colors was disparagingly referred to as wearing "Puerto Rican colors." Wearing colorful or multi-colored clothing was unacceptable.

picture from ColorQ Gallery

When I grew up, the de-colorization of my life continued. The wedding dress envied by every young bride was purely white. Even my birth certificate said I was white (I am full Mexican)!

I grew up some more and after much education and willingness to understand, I began to see myself and colors in a different perspective. I saw that the art and culture of my ancestors was rich in multiple colors - and I saw for the first time that multiple colors and people of color were indeed beautiful - very beautiful!


Susan Carreon