The Color of Water

by: James McBride

Chapters 4–6

Ruth's statement that "God is the color of water" succinctly captures Ruth's attitudes toward race and religion. Ruth believes that race occupies a secondary role to goodness and achievement. She believes that no matter one's race, hard work determines worth. She believes that God loves all races equally, and that goodness and devotion, not a certain race or class, make people worthy of God's grace. When Ruth says she thinks of God as "the color of water," she means that God is not black or white, he is not of one race or another, but of all races and none. While Ruth embraces both black and white people, she knows that prejudice is widespread and intense. God's spirit, on the other hand, welcomes people of all races, sexes, and backgrounds.