The Color of Friendship

The name of this post is also the name of a Disney Channel Original Movie released in 2000. In this particular movie, Disney does its best at tackling a clash of cultures and apartheid.
The story centers around two young girls: Mahree, a young white South African, and Piper, the black daughter of a U.S. Congressman. When Mahree arrives in D.C. as part of an exchange program, she is surprised to find her host family is black. Piper isn’t too happy to have Mahree around either. And this all happens right after the arrest of activist Steven Biko (to put this in historical perspective).

(“The Color of Friendship” starring Lindsay Haun and Shadia Simmons/Wikipedia Commons)

As with any movie that tackles such a sensitive subject, Piper and Mahree learn from each other and become friends. Apartheid still remained and events in the United States went on. But that’s not the point of the story. The point is to show what can happen when children put aside the hate they have learned from adults and learn to love again.
While the world mourns the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, I can only say that upon his release from prison and election as President, I was too young to truly grasp the world-changing importance. As I became a student of history and eventually earning my BS in History, I began to understand, with a global perspective, how these events, and the history which brought us to this point.
No culture, empire, or person in the history of the world, save Jesus Christ, is perfect. The world and I will miss Nelson Mandela. I can only hope and pray that we can all gleam something from his life that will help us make the world a better place for all people. Can we do that? Can we bring some social justice back in the world? Can we learn to work together?
I called this post “The Color of Friendship,” because, sometimes, we have to be like children. Jesus said that, remember? We can take something like this Disney movie and use it as a jumping off point to teach ourselves and our children how to love again.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.