A black man was murdered for no apparent reason, and the officer and those complicit must be punished severely. And law enforcement agencies across the country that permit/allow/encourage such actions must be dismantled, reworked, retrained.
I realize this is only one person's story and it dates to the 1940s, but when I was 3 or 4 the black man who washed the windows at my grandmother's home bought me a cut-out book. I was thrilled. At that same age, I followed around the black woman who worked now and then for my mother, pestering her with questions about her little boy, George. What did George do? Did he go to school? What games did he like to play? I hoped one day to meet George.
We had one black girl at our junior high, only one, and everyone befriended her. She came to my house once, but never again because HER mother refused to let her, not mine. She ran against me in the Best Girl Student Athlete competition, and she won. Everyone voted for her because she was a top athlete, her color did not enter into it. This was Bensonhurst, 1952.
Also, about that time, Jackie Robinson visited our school. Since I held student office, I took him around to show off our school. What a thrill it was to this Dodger fan. Jackie Robinson cut a fine figure in his light gray wool suit. He spoke so beautifully to we kids in assembly. He was a UCLA grad. It was an important experience.
A few years later, I worked in an office with two young black men. Oliver and I were both 17. He was small and thin, a dedicated church member and robed singer in the choir. I knew the same hymns from listening to the country stations, so we'd sing together. We had the same lunch hour every day, and we'd sit together and giggle. The other fellow was a little older, a serious-minded student at NYU. He has since led an impressive life as a renowned and respected educator at prestigious universities. Centers are named for him, and I am proud to say I know him.
Today, my favorite hosts on TV are black. I watch Tamron Hall, Gayle King, Wendy Williams. I loved Oprah when she was on TV. Steve Harvey's a kick, but a little over the top. We watch Alfonso Ribeiro, and Mike loves Don Lemon.
Perhaps California is not representative of the rest of the country. We are very diversified, there is a lot of inter-marriage. Some of my white friends have bi-racial grandchildren.
Working in education I saw years of affirmative action. Strides were made. How can anyone not look around and see that?
To be continued.
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