The first time I realized we had racial problems in the U.S. was way back when I was in elementary school.
If I can share my thoughts here without getting tons of hate poured on my head, I will have more to say. If you think this is somehow related to what we have seen in the news this month, you are absolutely correct. Mine is such a tiny, insignificant voice, yet I must speak.
What little I can offer you is one recollection from childhood, brief news reports while in college, and one news report while on active duty.
Take the stories however seriously you wish. Discount them or ignore them or explain them away if you want. If it is your choice to do so, impute terrible ignorance to me that these feeble stories are what little I have to share. Assume about me whatever you will and paste on me any label you prefer.
So you can put this article into context, please know I am white, male, born into a middle-class family, currently living a middle-class life, and run my own small business. You will shortly be able to estimate my age.
You might want to get a fresh cup of coffee – this will be a long read.
Sir, can you call a cab for me?
We lived in a suburb of Wichita, Kansas when I was in elementary school. Don’t recall when this particular event happened, but think it was back in 2nd or 3rd or 4th grade, which would have been the early or mid-’60s. Yes, I know that means you can now calculate my age within a few years. Reason to estimate the timing is so you can put the incident into some sort of context. Think the 1960s.
My family was leaving a grocery store when a woman approached my dad. I remember her as being older (at least to the eyes of a youngster), rotund, black, and with inflection in her voice so thick that any three consecutive words she spoke would have immediately identified her race.