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Monday, May 02, 2011

The Color of Water

God is the color of water, as explained by James McBride’s mother in The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother (1996). Ruth McBride, a white woman born Jewish (and named Rachel), married to a black man, is not interested in color. She’s interested in keeping the wolf from the door while seeing that her 12 children grow up to be educated, contributing adults. She’s also not interested in talking about her childhood or her family to her children. While Ruth is busy shepherding her children, they are trying to grow up in New York City, just as Black Power is becoming a forceful movement across the U.S. 

For those people in the movie making business, this book could easily follow "The Help." Ruth's personality shines as she rides her bicycle as her teenagers think it's ridiculous. What else?  I can't imagine putting kids to bed by alternating their heads and feet. But Ruth knew mathematically, we do have bigger heads than feet.  

When I finished this book we were headed to Atlanta where the 7th sister of the family of 12 resides. She was next to James (#8). I really  wanted to meet her and give her a hug!  I'm imagining that some of the faith and perseverance Ruth experienced blessed each child, and her struggles taught them as well. In a story like "The Color of Water" it's good that the message remains hopeful, as there were a lot of wounds to heal, misunderstandings, and absence of quality time, but I believe that when seeking first the kingdom of God & His righteousness took priority, love filled in the gaps.  

My thanks to James McBride for writing this tribute.  

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