Buckwheat: (n) an Asian plant milled into flour
The first black person I ever saw was on a television screen, watching “The Little Rascals.”
His name was Buckwheat.
No–that was the goal. The purpose was to establish that even though this crazy group of kids had invited in a snooty rich girl–Darla–and a black bug-eyed little boy named Buckwheat, that it was completely normal because these were all children of the neighborhood.
From that experience, I learned the power of imperfection.
While some people may scream about injustice in the world, there are those who quietly and perhaps awkwardly introduce ingenious concepts into our lives, and by doing so, gradually contribute to the common good.
Even though Buckwheat was a very stereotypical “tar-baby” type of character, the mere fact that he was in the gang and included with all the white kids, rich kids, Italian kids and kids with cowlicks, caused me to deal with the possibility that the races might just possibly be comfortable mixing together.
Without that, I don’t know how long it would have been before I ever saw what we then referred to as a “Negro.” And by that time I would not have been six years old and pliable to the notion of accepting another race.
Even when ideas are not perfect, if within their imperfection they are moving toward social justice, we should certainly support them.