I told her about people being afraid of what they don't understand and of things that are different, and talked about people still being people and everyone deserving the same kindness, even if they are different.

It's more complicated than that, and the whole conversation belongs in the present, but in the moment that's what I could offer her.

This isn't the first time this issue has been raised, and it won't be the last. She goes to a very diverse school and as the kids get older, they're going to realize that they're treated differently in the wider world. And they're going to struggle with the why. I know this, and I hope I'm helping my kid find her courage, so that she can tackle this and see people for who they are, because this question lining up with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has his I Have A Dream speech circling in my head.

So I've spent some time thinking about this, and trying to figure out what it means, on a deeper level, for me in my life. Not because I think I've got this down - far from it - but because this strikes me as very much the tip of the iceberg.

My liberal tendencies want me to push to broaden this, to rephrase it and make it more inclusive. The result is always awkward, making up in ungainliness what it lacks in purpose. And I think maybe that's why Dr. King phrased this the way he did. It's simple and straightforward and poetic. It is memorable and clear and gives us a concrete goal.

To embrace the beauty of our diversity and to value all people for what they can uniquely bring to the table.

Dr. King is known for his work on Civil Rights. But he was also a tireless advocate for the working class, for social equity, and for the peaceful resolution of conflicts. I think his speech was about more than color. The beauty and brilliance of it is that in order to really and truly address issues of color, you have no choice but to really dig into and fix these other issues as well. Because none of them stand alone.

When you take care of the most disenfranchised people in a society, you necessarily take care of everyone. It's the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. There's always more when you share.

More time, more money, more food, more space, more love.

More everything.

It's a beautiful dream, and I look forward to seeing how far the next decades bring us toward that goal. Like Dr. King, I hope that by the time my child and the kids I teach are grown, "they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."