Theme: “A Mukie of a Different Color” examines a situation of racial minority and the attitudes that develop in the minds of both parties involved. It shows how biases can inhibit impartial judgments. Biases create prejudices or preconceived and unreasonable attitudes. Prejudices may be found in a wide variety of circumstances such as age, religion, gender, nationalities, occupations, and race.
This story examines racial bias before it becomes a prejudice in a very basic and specific situation—a single young purple Mukie among a large peer group of brown Mukies. The purple colored Mukie’s identity was first one of curiosity, then distrust, and finally indifference.
Ignoring someone and demonstrating a non-caring attitude is more painful than verbal abuse or name-calling. In the minds of the discriminated ones, self-esteem diminishes and the awareness that one has little or no influence upon others or the situation becomes an obsession.
This story points out the importance of caring associations — friends. In this story, a single event changes the mental perspectives of those involved. However, there are “fences to be mended” before mutual acceptance, respect, and friendships can develop.
A Mukie of a Different Color
Manchester was born with purple hair body covering. As you know, Mukies are “naturally” brown with black tipped hair covering and dark brown eyes. But Manchester Mukie had purple body hair and pink eyes like his father’s hair and eyes. Manchester’s mother was a “natural” Mukie color. Manchester and his father were the only purple Mukies in the community. Manchester’s facial features and stature were much the same as the other Mukies, and his mind was as keen and his heart as caring as other Mukies.
Do you know someone with skin a different color from yours?
Early in life Manchester realized that he looked different from the other Mukies of the community, but he was satisfied that he looked like his father. He would say to himself, “Sure I am different, but it’s ok.” He never asked, “Why me?” but instead said “Why not me? I can handle it.” After all, Manchester was an optimistic Mukie: too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
However, as Manchester grew older, socialization with the other Mukies and their friendship became essential to him. The views of others his age became very, very important. His contentment with only looking like his father grew less. He became unhappy and disappointed with his lot in life.
How important are friends in your life?
At first Manchester noticed the other Mukies looked at him curiously. Then he thought their looks indicated their distrust of him. Later, he detected the look of fear when they looked at him. And finally he saw the look of indifference or a non-caring attitude on the part of the other Mukies. They ignored him. They moved away when he came near. Sometimes they would even avoid looking at him or speaking to him.
Have you ever had the feeling that someone didn’t care anything about you? How did you feel?
Manchester felt isolated and alone without anyone but his parents to care for him. He became an unhappy pessimist. His cheerful countenance and peace of mind turned into frowns of despair, anxiety, and frustration. How much of the other Mukies’ non-caring attitudes were created in Manchester’s mind and how much were real, we do not know. But Manchester would isolate himself and watch the other Mukies play from a distance, hoping perhaps someone would ask him to join them.
Do you know anyone who acts like Manchester? Do you know anyone who acts like the other Mukies?
Now the Mukies had only one natural predator or enemy; that was the yellow-bellied, two-headed boa constrictor snake. It was a huge, long creature, yellow-red in color, and could devour two entire Mukies at a time. Although the Mukies were usually too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble, these creatures terrified them. Even hearing about them made their legs shake and their ears ring. Who knows what would happen if they ever saw one!
Do you fear any creatures?
One day Manchester was walking by an area where a large group of other Mukies his own age was playing a game. Manchester was standing at a distance watching the Mukies and probably wishing they would invite him to play. As he stood there he heard a rustling in the grass some distance away. He looked up and saw the two heads of a boa constrictor slithering through the grass toward the Mukies who were playing.
What do you think he should do?
Manchester ran toward the group as fast as his short stocky legs would carry him. In this time of trouble, he forgot the hurt caused by the indifference of others. He yelled as loud as he could, “Run for your lives!” Recall that the group usually ignored Manchester. This time, too, the group continued to play, until they saw the two heads sticking above the grass coming their way.
There was yelling, panic, and chaos among the group as they scattered and ran in all directions. As the others ran, Manchester stood in the path of the oncoming snake.
When the snake saw Manchester, it stopped, turned, and retreated. What neither Manchester nor the other Mukies knew was that the snake feared the color purple. You see, the snake’s worst enemy and predator was the purple hawk. It feared any creature that resembled the dreaded purple hawk. And to the snake, Manchester’s purple coloring was like that of its own worst enemy.
Manchester became an immediate hero in the community. He had saved the children from a terrible fate.
1. Discuss Manchester’s change in attitude and behavior as he grew older and the need for friends to listen to him became more important.
2. What are some of the problems of judging other people by the color of their skin?
3. What are common prejudices and how are they developed?
4. What is meant by “indifference?” Give an example.
5. Discuss how being negative toward someone or toward what he/she does is sometimes better than being indifferent or not caring.
6. Discuss cliques and how being intentionally excluded from a group can make a person feel.
7. What do you think Manchester’s parents told him about the color of his skin when he was a little child and questioning them about it?
8. Discuss what Manchester and the group of Mukies must have thought and said when the snake turned and retreated.
9. Do you think Manchester will now be included in other children’s games? Why or why not?
1. Role play a conversation between Manchester and his parents when they talked about rejection from the other Mukies.
2. Role play a situation in which one or two of the group thanked Manchester for his brave behavior.
3. Find quotes about friendships. Share with others.
4. Being a good friend means being a good listener. List 5 good listening suggestions.
5. Role play Manchester and a friend who listens effectively to Manchester’s expressed concerns about his acceptance.
6. Instead of anger, hatred, and violence, which sometime accompany prejudices, how would you like to see differences handled in the real world? Share with the group.
7. Each add a conclusion to how you think Manchester will now be treated.