Maya Angelou's Poetic Take on Equality


In high school I thought that, perhaps, I'd be the next Maya Angelou. I studied her poems before bed. I read them aloud into a tape recorder, and then I'd listen to myself...multiple times. (I did the same thing with Mariah Carey's Butterfly CD; "Breakdown"--track #6--it was my boy problems anthem. Google it.)

Alas, I am not the next Maya (or Mariah, for that matter). But Angelou's poems resonate with me now more than ever before. One in particular--"Human Family"--I've carried with me through college, first jobs, marriage, and motherhood. In it, Maya teaches us that we are all people, and far more alike than meets the eye. There are a bajillion women named Linda, for example, but they are each uniquely made by God.

"We seek success in Finland, are born and die in Maine. In minor ways we differ, in major we're the same," writes Maya.

The premise is simple, yet so profound. And, I can't help but wonder how better off the world would be if we just lived these basic truths.

Human Family By: Maya Angelou I note the obvious differences in the human family. Some of us are serious, some thrive on comedy. Some declare their lives are lived as true profundity, and others claim they really live the real reality. The variety of our skin tones can confuse, bemuse, delight, brown and pink and beige and purple, tan and blue and white. I've sailed upon the seven seas and stopped in every land, I've seen the wonders of the world not yet one common man. I know ten thousand women called Jane and Mary Jane, but I've not seen any two who really were the same. Mirror twins are different although their features jibe, and lovers think quite different thoughts while lying side by side. We love and lose in China, we weep on England's moors, and laugh and moan in Guinea, and thrive on Spanish shores. We seek success in Finland, are born and die in Maine. In minor ways we differ, in major we're the same. I note the obvious differences between each sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.

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