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Utopia Will Be Brown

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I shall align myself with the heart and values of what the world will need to survive together.

Utopia will be brown, of this I am sure. I tell my husband this as we sit in a bar in upstate PA, populated mostly by white people, us, and our four-month-old daughter. I suppose we also look white, though our daughter is black, so I feel like I am brown. My skin color does not have the boundaries it did, especially since my daughter, Marea, is always attached to me. I carry her wherever I go; we are a unit now. I am her and she is me. We are we.

We live in Brooklyn, which is brown. The mixture of ethnicities, race, colors of skin, blend into the world I love. This is why I most love Brooklyn, and why I would be heartbroken to leave. Yet, I know we must leave soon. It has gotten noisy, tough to take all the time. And my husband is tired of it.  I, too, would like milder weather, perhaps the sea, definitely the sky. But I do wonder, where might I find the Brown of Brooklyn?

I know that hoping for black and white to make the world completely brown will unnerve extremes on both ends. White puritans, racists and blacks who want no part in mixing will think I am something unmentionable, I am sure. I do understand that the loss of the black civilization is a great historical shame, and that it might seem I am condoning this farther.

I am not.

I just want everyone to live together, peacefully, with no shame in their skin color and no hiding of their souls. I want people to see beneath, and as long as we remain "separate but equal" I believe our vision will be altered.

Utopia will be brown. And we will all live in homes or apartments with food in our refrigerators. We will all have enough, and medicine will be available and affordable.

Oh, yes, a Capitalist?

I am not.

I shall align myself with the heart and values of what the world will need to survive together.

War will end.

Hunger will be abolished.

No child will go unclothed, unfed, or uncared for.

No man or woman will roam the street.

The mentally ill will be incorporated into our society rather than alienated from it. 

The old will be tapped for their wisdom rather than set aside for their physical weakness.

Utopia will be no boundaries between the good and the actions of society. Every thing and every one has always been part of the other. 

We spend a couple days, upstate, in the country. Things are more simple, and the wood-burning fire is heaven. We sit, my husband, Marea and I, and it is nothing less than a perfect moment in life. There is quiet. Peace. Joy. The crackle of an old log's textured bark. Outside the sky is vast and the ground is dusted with snow. The trees reach up to the sky, and the animals hide from the twenty degree cold. The world looks restful, though we know it is not.  

We are.

The days pass too quickly, and we return to Brooklyn. It is both comforting and disconcerting as we drive across the once named Tri-borough -newly renamed RFK- bridge, down the BQE with Manhattan to our left and New Jersey to our right. As I look out on this massive world in the cold of night, crowded into an odd and unnatural sense of order that looks like it will soon explode, I am always amazed that there is any harmony in such a plotted chaos.  

It looks like Gotham city, except Gotham was fairly white. Matter of fact, so was Batman, Robin, and Superman now that I think of it. So was my Santa Clause.

But not anymore.  

Santa will now be black.

Even Jesus was given to me as white, though we know Jesus really was brown. He was middle eastern.

When we arrive in Brooklyn, I take Marea inside and my husband unloads the car. It is wet and rainy, and has been a terrible drive. Fog like I only remember once or twice in my life. I feel a great sense of relief to be safe. Marea, whom I expect to wake hungry and crying in angst after being asleep and not eating for four hours, wakes as I am taking her out of the car seat and carrying her inside. But, instead of crying, she opens her eyes and looks up at me, from her forty five degree angle as I try to shield her from the cool air, and she just smiles...watching me...she just smiles.

We enter the house and she is so happy to be home. She keeps her eyes on me, smiling, as if she wants to tell me she is so happy to be home. When we enter our over-crowded, typically New York apartment, it does feel warm. It feels peaceful. I look around, while Marea continues to look at me, her head slightly reclined, smiling, and it does feel like Utopia. There are paintings and photographs, there is Buddha and Che, there is pottery and art. There are colors and textiles from around the world, there is a baby's crib and, in fact, a small piece of the world here, in our somewhat run-down, very loved, home.

After I get Marea comfortable, I hold her in my arms and order the bags as my husband brings them in, and as I pick up my book bag, full of "The Brothers Karamazov," "Raising Elijah," "Martin Luther King's Speeches and Writings," checkbooks and my book of hand-written notes I have been trying to keep for Marea when I cannot get to my computer, it is then I see my daughter's toys next to the checkbook and "Brothers Karamazov," and I think about how absolutely perfect this life is. This mixture of an artist's angst, bills to pay, and a child's joys.  

Innocence makes us all return.

And I look at Marea, still smiling, not even crying to eat yet, and I am thinking that the odd irony of the joy I feel looking at her toys in my bag. I am thinking of Utopia. I am thinking of love.

The love I feel for this person in my arms, this person who was born to another, this person clinging onto my t-shirt with her small brown hands, watching me with her big brown eyes...still smiling...is a miracle.

And I know that Utopia exists in very small corners and in a child's toys in my bag, and I also know that in the future I hope, with all my heart, that Santa and Jesus, and Batman and Superman will be brown.

"I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." - Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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