I know we’ve all heard it said that “You can’t judge a book by its cover” but maybe we need to update the saying for today to “You can’t judge a person by the headline”.

One thing I am convinced of is that there is always a story behind the story. It takes more searching to discover. It probably is not as cut and dry as we first thought. It leaves us with more feelings of empathy. It leads us to a more healthy and helpful response.

However we live in a time when headlines have become sensational, when every story only has two sides, and when we’ve weaponized the share button on our social media accounts.  So, to have an up close view of what it looks like to take a different path is a unique experience.

Directly after the election there was a snapchat photo shared around our community of a white girl in black face with the caption “I’m finally a n*****”.  Well, you can imagine how deeply hurtful this was to people of color in our community. You can imagine what the headlines said about this girl and how people immediately took sides.  You can imagine how people hijacked this story to use to support their predetermined conclusions.

But in the middle of it all was a high school girl who was more than just a headline.

I love that I get to be mentored under a man who sees situations like this as an opportunity to sit down and have a conversation.  The goal is not to dismiss the very hurtful actions or to come to execute the judgement of the community, but it is to find out the story behind the story.

After taking a look at this video you can come to your own conclusions as to whether this girl had treacherous motives or if this is a teachable moment.  Is the only value in this situation to show the world how we punish these actions or maybe we can unpack this story and combines wrong action, remorse, and grace to learn and move forward.

Let me know what you think.