Thursday, June 14, 2012

Microcosm

Just before I left New England the Boston Globe published its annual listing, with photographs and personal data, of the valedictorians of Boston's high schools. Thirty-nine scholars.

And again, I am struck by this picture of America.

Eighteen of the students were born outside of the United States, including natives of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Columbia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Malaysia, Morocco, Albania, Puerto Rico, and India.

On the evidence of the photographs and names, it would appear that at least another nine of the valedictorians are of a non-Caucasian ethnicity.

Twenty-nine of the 39 students are women.

How different this must be from the situation when I moved to New England nearly 50 years ago.

That page of photographs of brilliant and successful young people of all races and ethnicities is a microcosm of what the world might be if we could only recognize and accept one of the greatest scientific discoveries -- we are all the same under the skin.

The same biology, the same chemistry, the same physics.

Oh, part of our common biology, I suppose, is an innate tendency toward animosity for "the other." The beautiful promise of the page of photographs is that someday we'll recognize that on this small blue planet there is only "we."