Kittens White and Black

When I was a child and perhaps 4 years old, I really don’t remember except I don’t remember being in school at that time, I went with my southern born family and visited a set of houses. I don’t know why we were there, but I met another young boy and he showed me kittens and we each held one. Pictures I saw later reminded me that we were having a very good time and were quick friends. Children before social instructions see things so honestly and realistically and are able to make friends easily in my opinion.

One of the kittens was a white kitten and the one I held was a black kitten. I was a White child and he was a Black child. Actually I only remember knowing that like the kittens he was darker and I was lighter.

Now much later when my parents showed a slide show in Michigan a picture popped up with my friend and I smiling and holding the kittens. Suddenly it occurred to me an interesting detail. I said, “Hey look, the kittens are like us!”
Immediately I was shushed as if I had said something bad. I didn’t know why but it made me feel bad. The poison fangs of prejudice had not entered me, but the snake was in my home.

Whenever I see people now who are different than myself in whatever way, I can hear that hissing snake, but all I have to do is think of those kittens and how neither the little boy nor I, playing together with kittens, saw any significant difference between the kittens or ourselves, and I just smile.

What if the world would stop passing poison to its children? Would we seek to enslave each other? Would we tell workers, the smallest of businesses, that they should not have the right to organize like any other business? Would we allow the largest companies to use the smaller ones like slaves? Would we pay our teachers of children less than we pay those who teach the college kids? Would we conceive of a society only driven by greed? Would war be a major source of income?

I think not.

Rev. David Mitchel Stow

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