by Robin ONeill

I remember as a child I could never afford wrapping paper. I used newspaper and always told my family they deserved the very best and used Sunday’s paper because it had color. Usually I used the comics. I remember going to other children’s birthday parties and was amazed at these ornate gifts. They were color coordinated, with bows, ribbons, and all kinds of decorations. I really hated to have the guest of honor open gifts because it destroyed these works of art.

What I learned is that the wrapping paper really had no correlation to how good the gift was going to be. My maternal grandparents were well-to-do. They drove a Cadillac, bought new every two years and paid for with cash. My grandmother also wrapped a beautiful gift. She did all the bows and colors and curly ribbons. She was proud of her display.

Inside was a pair of flannel pajamas. Not a night gown but the pants and shirt resembling a man’s nightwear. They were distinguished by the print which was usually a floral print not seen on anything else you wore.

The wrapping really told me nothing about the contents. My gifts wrapped in newspaper were often well-chosen and purchased with all kinds of love. The pajamas, while very thoughtful, were not that exciting to a kid.

The wrapping was no clue to the contents.

People are the same way. The wrapping tells you nothing about the contents.

I used to ask my students what they could tell me about a person by the color of their shirt. Then I would say the color of their skin is the same way.

If you think about skin as clothes, just think your peer just chose to wear a different color from you.