In my mostly white community in western Pennsylvania I don’t get to experience a lot of diversity. All I know about black people is what I see on television and some vague memories of my grandparents’ attitudes in rural Georgia. I’ve never had a black friend or been exposed to black culture. I am not at all prejudice for how can you be against something you don’t know anything about? For me blackness is just like being more tan. Color doesn’t matter. I lived through the civil rights movement but felt very isolated from all that was happening in cities.
I think Oprah was the first black woman who had any effect on my life at all. I sucked up her wisdom like lemonade through a straw. She was down to earth and so caring about the people she had on her show that everyday I made it a point to tune into the Oprah show on television. She had a profound influence on the way I thought about black people. (I am sorry not to be politically correct by calling them African Americans but I don’t think of black as an insult but a source of pride.) It was from her that I first encountered Maya Angelo. She was Oprah’s mentor and seemed like the wisest woman I had ever seen. When I read about her and her accomplishments I knew that we need people like that on this Earth.
She could laugh at herself and my favorite quote from her is:
”Do the best until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”