In the wake of Ferguson, accompanying riots, racial tensions and discussions, I think this is a book that everyone should read.

White people need to read it because in the past, almost all white people believed themselves to be better than black people. Or at least they didn’t have the courage to stand up to the white people who did believe that way.

We need to learn from our mistakes. All of us.

Black people need to read it, because of Atticus Finch’s approach to race, and that race isn’t what really matters in matters of guilt or innocence; it’s the facts, and whether or not someone has committed a crime.

People, whatever color they are, need to read this book because it tells what it’s like to grow up and suddenly see the world through different eyes. People need to read this book because it teaches that race is not what makes the man. Character, work, how much you value other people, honesty— those are things that make a man worth his salt.

People need to read this book, because it teaches that it’s never okay to harm somebody who’s done nothing wrong, but it is okay to defend yourself against a rabid dog that could easily kill a child.

People need to read this book because it gives some of the best parenting advice I’ve gotten in my entire life (and trust me, I’ve gotten plenty in the last 8 months). It teaches that you should believe that people are good and that they would choose to do good, until the facts have proven that they did not choose good. It teaches that children want to know the truth, and if people hide it from them, then they’ll keep looking. It’s better for a child to hear an ugly truth from their parents than a candy-coated truth from the internet.

People need to read this book because it teaches us how to love people we’ve never met or seen or talked to, just because they’re people. It teaches us to take a step into other people’s shoes and feel what they feel. It teaches us to love other people, even if we’re never going to get anything out of it.

We all need to remember the human dignity that unites us all.

I know I did.

 

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