Lessons in Race From a 14-Year-Old: Part Two

“They hate us ’cause we used to own ‘em,” he said.

It took a moment for this to sink in, a very long and very puzzling moment. How does one respond to that?

I simply dismissed the kid as a hopelessly ignorant, and the captain and I arranged for his parents to come pick him up.┬áBut after he left, something about his words stuck with me, tickling at the back of my mind for many days to follow. It wasn’t just the casually ignorant racism of his words, but the underlying, almost primal fear they expressed. For this kid, or, more accurately, whomever had planted those thoughts in his head, the worst possible future imaginable was one in which the metaphorical tables had turned, and that all the bad things his ancestors were supposed to have done would be revisited upon himself. Read the rest of this entry »