I have discovered a new favorite quote by John O’Leary in his book, On Fire: “Comfort is popular, but courage changes lives.” We live in a time when a person can openly and easily interact with people of different backgrounds than their own. Still, in the 21st century people often choose not to do so. Why, I ask myself? Do people value comfort too much?
I had recently read somewhere that, “Until the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of change, then people will not be inclined to change.” This comfort zone that is overly populated is preventing much needed change from happening in our world. Stereotypes are most often assumed and not actually experienced. Stepping into a zone of “uncomfortability” is where change happens. Getting uncomfortable is where odds are defied, and generalizations are broken down. This is the space where magic happens. It's where hope lies.
Just several decades ago in the 1950s there wasn’t as much “mixing” among people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This was due in part to separate schools, neighborhoods, businesses and even drinking fountains. Keeping everything separate was comfortable and safe.
I tend to be a fan of mostly non-fiction reading, but my friend Sherry Lucille has written a wonderful series on the challenges of race relations in the 1950s. Her very first novel was titled, Love Changes. I think this title portrays a powerful message in and of itself. What can change a person enough to want to step outside their comfort zone and stand up for change? Love changes a person. Love creates an authentic desire to get to know people from different ethnic, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Love will break down walls, and stereotypes and create a force powerful enough to move mountains.
The right thing is to embrace love for others despite differences. The right thing is to stand up for change because before race we are all a human race that should take ownership for the greater good of the world and for justice for all.