Dr. Maya Angelou

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While so much in the world begs us to fixate on negativity and how different we are from one another, Dr. Angelou says humans are so much more alike than we dare to realize.

"Everybody who wants a job wants a good job, wants to be paid a little more than she's worth—not enough to be embarrassed, but just enough to say, 'I'm making it over.' Everybody in the world who wants children, wants healthy children. Everyone in the world wants safe streets—even those who make the streets unsafe," she says. "In Birmingham, Alabama, or in Birmingham, England; Paris, France, or Paris, Texas...everybody wants somebody to love and to have the unmitigated gall to accept love in return. Everybody."

The desires of the majority of people cut across races, she says. "We are boring mostly," she says. "We live ordinary lives. We want to get the grits on the table or the french fries or fried chicken or the kosher meal. We want to get the food on the table. We want the children to be happy and healthy. Very boring. I mean, it's ordinary. What I mean is, the 'sensationals'—those get the headlines, those get the television cameras on them, but those are not the majority."

If you are able to see your fellow humans as more like you than, Maya says you will reap the rewards. "It will make you happier with yourself," she says. "And you might make some new friends who don't look like you."