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Faith  Ringgold
Story Time

How the People Became Color Blind
A new story for you to rewrite, illustrate, comment on, question and enjoy.
Once upon a time the world was a small place and all the people lived together and were very happy. No one noticed that everybody looked the same and was the same color. Until one day the world grew, and the people multiplied and wandered off to far away places. In time the earth and the people became separated by vast bodies of water. But then the people crossed the seas to explore these far away places, and discovered that there were now people of different colors in the world. And they began to compare the color of one people with another. And some people disliked those people who were a different color from them.

Despite this some people of different colors mated and their children were now a mixture of their colors. The world was even bigger now and a shortage of food and other necessities of life plagued the people. So the people began to use the different colors to separate the people who could eat and live well, from those who could not. And so there were many wars over land and other possessions. And many of the world's people lost their land, suffered and died due to the wars. And so one day the people prayed to the Angel of Color for a world where all the people could live in peace and forget about color.

And so the Angel of Color listened and made everything and everyone in the world black. All the rivers and seas and all the flowers and trees and all the animals and people and all the houses and churches and steeples were made black-- as black as night. Even the sun and the moon were black. And there was no day only night. So everyone was silent and very sad because no one could see anyone or anything. There was no light only darkness. And so all the people in the jet black world, and all the animals in the jet black forest, and all the birds in the jet black sky, and all the fish in the black-black sea prayed that they could have another color because there was too much blackness in the world.

And so the Angel of Color listened and made everything and everyone in the world white. All the rivers and seas and all the flowers and trees and all the animals and people and all the houses and churches and steeples were made white-- as white as snow. Even the sun and the moon were white. And there was no night only day. So everyone was silent and very sad because no one could see anyone or anything. There was no contrast only light. And so all the people in the snow white world, and all the animals in the snow white forest, and all the birds in the snow white sky, and all the fish in the white-white sea prayed that they could have another color because there was too much whiteness in the world.

And so the Angel of Color listened and made everything and everyone in the world gray. All the rivers and seas and all the flowers and trees and all the animals and people and all the houses and churches and steeples were made gray-- as gray as dust. Even the sun and the moon were gray. And there was no day or night only dusk. So everyone was silent and very sad because there was no beautiful color in the world only gray-gloom. And so all the people in the gloomy-gray world, and all the animals in the gloomy-gray forest, and all the birds in the gloomy-gray sky, and all the fish in the gray-gray sea prayed that they could have at least two colors because there was just too much grayness in the world.

But the Angel of Color thought about the people fighting when there was color in the world and decided to leave things as they were. So everyone was very silent and very sad until one day a school of gray fish swimming in the gray sea looked up at the gray sky and saw a gray bird flying by and they turned green with envy. And the gray bird seeing the bright green fish fell on to the gray beach and broke his wings. The gray bird was so embarrassed that the beautiful green fish saw that he could no longer fly, that he turned red with shame. A flock of gray birds seeing the beautiful red bird with broken wings laying on the gray beach flew down out of the gray sky and plucked out his red feathers. Then the gray birds turned red too and they flew away to show off their beautiful colors in the sky.

The gray sky now happily dotted with bright red birds became blue when it looked down at the gray mountains below. But the gray mountains loved the beautiful blue sky and so the gray mountains turned brown and purple with respect. And the giant gray trees looked at the beautiful brown and purple mountains, and like the fish, they turned green with envy. And the flowers and plants were so happy to see the brown and purple mountains and the green trees that they turned all kinds of colors and everything in nature was happy because they were now all beautifully colored.

But the people remained gray, silent and very sad. They remembered how awful it was when everyone and everything was all black and how it was just as awful when everything and everyone was all white. And now that all the people everywhere were gray no one could compare one people's color with another. Everything in nature had color and was beautiful but not the people. The people were still gray and looked ugly, gloomy and sad-- And that was that!

"Now we have only the inner beauty of our good deeds, to distinguish us not our color," said the people. "And though we are not so good looking, as we were, when we were many colors, we can no longer use color to separate one people from another."

And that, my friends, is the true-story of How the People Became Color Blind.

The End
This story is about being color blind, or free of color prejudice-- one of the most difficult things to achieve in our society. How do you deal with this problem in your life? Could you write a story? Could you draw a picture? What do you think of How the People Became Color Blind? Please send your comments and questions to me by using the Send a message page.

An illustrated version of How the People Became Color Blind is available on CD Rom in both color and black and white. Use it as a coloring book for your class. Order it from the Requests page for $25.00.





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