February 18, 2018

The Colorful World – By Huda Kazmi (Age 12)

A wonderful story about the negative effects of racism and the importance of equality by Huda Kazmi!


Let's Talk About Race - The Colorful World by Huda Kazmi

Let’s Talk About Race

‘Attention, little kittens,’ said Ms. Tibbs, rapping her desk with a pencil.

‘We’re attention-ing, Ms. Tibbs,’ groaned chubby Dumpling, stroking his whiskers to see if there was any more strawberry pie left on them.’

Ms. Tibbs got up and, with a swish of her long skirts, she walked to the blackboard.

‘Today,’ she said, writing with a blue chalk, ‘we will talk about race.’ She turned to the class. ‘Can anybody please tell me the meaning of the word race?’

‘Race!’ cried little Timothy, springing out of his chair. ‘I love races! My brother has won . . .’

My brother won a race! - The Colorful World by Huda Kazmi

My brother won a race!

‘No, no, Timothy,’ chuckled Ms. Tibbs. ‘I’m talking about a different type of race.’

‘Race means like . . .’ said clever Rosemary. ‘Like a type of cat, maybe?’

‘Very good, Rosemary,’ said Ms. Tibbs, nodding. ‘Can some of you please tell me the races of cats?’

‘There are tabbies,’ said Tabby who had an admirable gray striped coat.

‘There are Siamese cats,’ said Sapphire, proudly stroking her long, slender brown tail and fluttering her blue eyes.

‘There are Egyptian Mau cats,’ said May, who was an Egyptian Mau with beautiful green eyes lined with black.

‘Very good,’ said Ms. Tibbs. ‘Now we’ll talk about racism.’

‘What’s racism, Ms. Tibbs?’ asked Timothy.

‘Racism means to have prejudices against other races or to think yourself superior over them,’ said Ms. Tibbs solemnly.

‘There are those awful Sphynx cats,’ remarked Marmalade with a shudder. ‘Ghastly! They look so spooky without fur; I’m glad we don’t have any of them in school.’

‘What about those ridiculous Manx cats?’ scoffed Marmaduke – Marmalade’s twin sister. ‘They look so dumb without tails; I’m glad we don’t have any of them in our school.’ Ms. Tibbs was silent for a moment or so.

Racism! - The Colorful World by Huda Kazmi


‘See?’ she said finally. ‘That’s racism – thinking yourself better than other races. You two could have seriously hurt someone’s feelings by those remarks.’ Marmalade and Marmaduke blushed.

‘And we should learn to appreciate them and love them,’ continued Ms. Tibbs. Then Ms. Tibbs said, ‘Now, I want you all to write something about race; it could be a story, a poem – anything. There’s the bell – you may go.’

Once the rest of the students had gone, May came up to Ms. Tibbs. ‘By the way,’ she said, ‘can I please ask you a question, Ms. Tibbs?’

‘Of course,’ said Ms. Tibbs, wiping the blackboard.

‘Well I was wondering,’ May said shyly, ‘what type of a cat you were.’

‘If you want to know,’ said Ms. Tibbs, ‘I’m a Manx cat.’

‘Really?’ said May, shocked. ‘I thought we didn’t have any in our school.’

‘I’m an exception,’ said Ms. Tibbs with a small smile.

‘So, did Marmaduke’s remarks hurt your feelings?’ she asked, hoping she didn’t sound nosy.

‘Yes, they did,’ said Ms. Tibbs sadly.

‘But you didn’t say anything.’

‘I’ve learnt,’ said Ms. Tibbs wisely, ‘that if someone hurts your feelings, you shouldn’t show that you’re hurt; rather, you should keep silent or give a gentle piece of advice – and that’s what I did.’


‘But I don’t look very strange, do I, May?’ Ms. Tibbs asked with a wry smile.

‘No,’ said May; she took a closer look. ‘Not at all; in fact, I can barely see the difference between us – except for our patterns.’ Ms. Tibbs smiled a broad smile.

‘Thank you, May,’ she said. She picked up her handbag and they both left the room. And May had a bright idea when she got home.

The next day, Ms. Tibbs made the kittens read their projects aloud in front of the class. Finally it was May’s turn.

‘Umm . . .’ she said nervously. ‘I wrote a poem called The Colorful World.’ And she began to read:

The Colorful World

The Colorful World (Poem) by Huda Kazmi

Gray, orange, black and white,
Some are dark and some are light.

Brown, peach and golden yellow,
Kindness and loyalty make a good fellow.

But who cares if I’m tailless or hairless?
I’m okay so long as I’m not careless.

And what a beautiful world we live in,
Where cats can live as friend and kin.

And if we’re colorful and kind and we lend a hand,
Wouldn’t we live in a wonderful land?

 The End

Stories by Huda, Stories by Muslim Kids , , , , , , , ,
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