Create Space (2015)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (01/16)
In “The Color of Character” by Glen Shuld, we follow the story of Glen Feigman, who, growing up as a gay, Jewish male in the 70s, was made to feel different from others. When his liberal family decided to send him to a junior high that integrated blacks with whites, he was open to the experience. Though he made some friends of different races, he was also judged for being white, gay, and Jewish. Even though Glen was not openly gay, he still received derisive comments and abuse from black classmates. These issues came to a head after two incidents: his grandfather was murdered by two African Americans, and Glen was abused outside of his locker. The extent of his family’s suffering and his disgust at the school’s overwhelming need to enforce political correctness for only one race caused him hit bottom and lose his temper. His reaction to this experience haunted him for a lifetime, until as an adult he had an opportunity to discuss what happened with his former classmates and make amends with a teacher that he felt he disrespected.
The hypocrisy behind our country’s overwhelming need to be politically correct towards a couple of races or religions extends over to today. It is even hard to write about this in this review because no matter what I say, there are people that will refuse to accept this and in turn call me a racist. When a black entertainer pays $40 million to a pay a boy who accused him of molesting him, you are accused of being a racist if you think he is a pedophile. If you didn’t vote for our current African American president, even if you never voted for anyone from that political party, you are a racist. If you like an African American man that is running for president under a different political party, you are a racist because even though he is black, he acts too white. The list goes on. I was once robbed while working at a famous amusement park. The perpetrators were released after returning my purse, because they threatened to let everyone know that this park was racist for accusing them of robbing me, even though I had witnesses and they had my purse.
Reading “The Color of Character” by Glen Shuld, I could totally relate to the frustrations that the protagonist was experiencing. I do not think he was looking for special treatment; he just wanted everyone to be equally respected. Unfortunately, not a lot has changed today. I do agree that there are people on both sides of our races that contribute negatively to the issues. The author of this coming of age story really does an excellent job of bringing the character to life and allowing us to watch him evolve as he learns to accept himself. I hope that there will be a second book to follow this one, and, instead of being historical fiction, maybe it will be written in the future by a son that was adopted by Glen Feigman, and things will have changed for the better.