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Willy and the picnic

What was happening in the Black community was a world apart from our white neighborhood. School went on as planned. We went to church on Sunday mornings, a ritual enacted every week the same way. My dad went to work every day before we woke and made ready for school. He came home every night to the excitement of the children. We mobbed him as he came in the door and he always said something to the tune of, “All right. All right. Let me get in the house.”

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Bigots and cowards

The kid in the Javelin was more circumspect than many of the other students I knew that the school. He doubted the existence of a loving God, for instance, and eschewed membership in any of the rigid cliques among the students. I looked up to him, as he seemed so free compared to me and many of my classmates.

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Knives and rednecks

Having been a sensitive, empathetic boy, I was prone to all sorts of daydreams and flights of mind and spirit. At grade school and high school, I was clumsy, half-hearted in athletic pursuit, and didn’t have a great deal of rapport with the other kids in my neighborhood, who could be cruel and vindictive.

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Nigger hunt

As I deliver mail day to day, I think about American active and structural racism. It’s hard not to, given my past in the soup pot. My route runs through a suburban neighborhood activated and motivated by race. Except for one Black American woman and an African immigrant married to a white man, there are no Blacks or Black Americans on my daily rounds.

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