New England College The Color of Water Discussion and Community Need Project

Discussion Assignment And Peer responses

Describe James and Ruth’s communities. How did they make a difference in  the lives of others? How did their identities and values play a role in  their efforts?

Discussion Assignment Words Limit: 300 Words
Peer Response word limit: 200 words for each Student

I Attached the pdf book “The Color Of Water”  down below you can complete the discussion. Read chapters 19-25

Community need Final Project

This Community Need Project explains how  you will hypothetically make a difference in your community. Reminder to  incorporate the feedback you received on your Week 5 Community Need  Project draft, and expand your final paper following the guidelines of  the Community Need Project Template below and the rubrics. The Community  Need template below details what should be included.   The final Community Need Project papers  need to be 5-7 pages long and must be in APA format. PowerPoints need to  be 30-50 slides with narration. Feel free to be creative and add  photographs, graphs, quotes, tables, etc

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For Ruth, her community consisted of her family and her church. Since she was a child, she was always with and involved in family. When she was a child, even when her father would betray her and take advantage of her, she would still participate in family events and lie to her mother about her father. No matter how terrible it hurt her, she was still loyal to her family. She would work at the family store, participate, and overall, just be present. As she got older, she still stayed loyal to her family no matter how difficult it was. Being a “single mother” because her husband only made appearances on the weekends, she still made sure to work as hard as she could and provide for her kids. She was a leader in her own way. When it came to her kids, she made sure they went to school, got good grades, and went to Church on Sundays. In her everyday life, she did not bother engaging with those commented on her race or stared at her odd when she would ride her bike without a care in the world. Ruth made a different in the world for others through her loyalty, dedication, and respect. Even if she did not know it, her presence especially in the church, made a difference for others. She also made a difference for her kids because it showed them that hard work does matter.

As for James, his communities consisted of his family as well, and unfortunately those who participated in crimes and drugs. After James’ stepfather passed away, he partook in petty crimes, drugs, and alcohol. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for that to happen as it is a way to cope with the grief. Throughout his life, James stayed loyal to his family. Ruth’s rules were to mind your business, do not tell anyone else your business and do good in school. James did just that in his childhood and made sure to “fly under the radar” with all his siblings and house rules. As James got older, he felt like he was pulled in many directions and just did what he felt was right at the time. He did not have a set “identity” and was just trying to figure everything out as he went.

Both Ruth and James take pride and identity in their families. We know this to be true for Ruth since the start, but we start to see it flourish with James as he matures. Both of them exude the qualities of loyalty to their families and respect for others.


Ruth’s communities were her family and her church, especially after her husbands died. Once she was truly alone with her family, she let the love for her family drive her and focused solely on her faith and providing for her children. In terms of making a difference in the lives of others, she pushed her children to be the absolute best versions of themselves, despite their struggles and the views of the outside world, and got them all through college. I also believe that she made a difference in the lives of every person that turned their nose at her for simply the color of her skin. She made waves in New York during the time she lived there just by living the life she had and being who she was. Her identity as a white woman of black children, living in the projects, doing what she had to do for her family, and her dedication to God and living away from her dark past, were the main roles in her efforts towards her community. She never strayed focus on her efforts to provide. Her value of privacy allowed her to be the pillar of the family, the unit of power. I enjoyed James’s wife’s story at the end of the book. He writes,

“… when someone shouted over the din, ‘Let’s go to the movies!’ Instantly the room sprang into overdrive.

‘Good idea!’

‘Yeah… let’s go. I’ll drive.’

From another room: ‘Wait for me!’

‘Hurry up! Where’s my shoes?’

Mommy was sitting on the living room couch while all this was happening, her feet resting on the coffee table. She yawned and said softly, ‘I want to eat.’

The movie was instantly forgotten.

‘Yeah! Let’s eat!’

‘I sure am hungry!’

‘Let’s order out!

From another room: ‘I been waiting to eat all day…!’

Now that’s what you call power.” (McBride, pg 278, 1996)

Ruth was a woman who left a life that made her unhappy and ran toward a life that brought her love, independence, an accepting faith, and real family. She was a woman who demanded respect (towards herself and her children), and demanded independence, like riding her bike in the city, doing her yoga, and taking every step towards her future at her own pace.

When it comes to James, he was a follower. I do not mean that in a negative way. But it was not until his adulthood that he found himself and took real control of his life. Not knowing who he was growing up and having so many different influences and voices in his ear about who he was supposed to be, caused James to flock to whatever felt good and right during the time. He made a difference in other’s lives by pursuing who he really was and where he came from. I think this story is so beautiful and how he was able to reconnect his mother to people from her past. And he was able to show those people that his mother leaving was a good thing, and it sounded like deep down, they already knew that and they understood what she ran from. His identity, or lack thereof, is what guided his effort to turn to his music and eventually bring his mother’s life full-circle. As he wrote, “Mommy has created her own nation, a rainbow coalition that descends on her house every Christmas and Thanksgiving and sleeps everywhere – on the floor, on rugs, in shifts; sleeping double, triple to a bed, ‘two up, three down,’ just like old times.” (McBride, pg 277, 1996). Their identities are their families, for both James and Ruth. Their families ooze dedication, ambition, and love, all sewn together by the roots that Ruth and her husbands planted. 

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