I don’t like the term face value. Judging a book by its cover is wrong because those who do forget there is an entire story behind that cover. Judging by appearances leads to stereotypes. That leads to seeing the world in black and white. Good and bad. Hot and cold. Our world isn’t like that. It has a full spectrum of stories and viewpoints. It’s more than shadow and light. That type of mentality is incorrect. It is what is causing tension between countries. Islamic extremists see George W. Bush when they see America and we see Osama Bin Laden when we see the Middle East. One nation cannot be summed up by one person. One person cannot be summed up by one word. If people changed their way of thinking, the world would be a better place. Far away, a satellite sees the earth as a blob of blue, green and white. But as you zoom in details appear. Mountains become clear, then forests, then trees, then a person. We all matter and should see the earth person-by-person, not as a planet. I understand that the earth is too big to see every aspect; that’s where stereotypes come from. But if people tried a little harder, looked a little closer, we would understand. I don’t understand race. For some reason it divides us. It should bring us together through our differences, not despite of them. In the age of Obama, people are excited about our nation’s first black president. During the primaries I was contemplating whom to support: A black candidate or a woman candidate? But slowly these notions disappeared. I saw the people for who they were. I cast off the ideas impressed on me by society. As I watched on TV as the Bradley Effect died (election night) I realized race wasn’t a factor. One of my friends lamented and wished we could move past seeing race. I realized we are far from that. But we can make our first steps. We can help by seeing race, accepting it, and embracing it. Differences don’t define us and they never will. I think we are at a crossroads in America. Recently the first Muslim congressman went to the Mecca, yet several Muslim passengers were kicked off an airplane for commenting on the plane. Barack Obama was elected, and Prop 8 was passed, defining marriage as between a man and a woman. We need to make a choice. Maybe one day we will move past race, and I’m doing my best to help us do that. You can’t judge a book by its cover. You have to read the book page-by-page, word-by-word. That’s what I believe.