When the Rodney King verdict was announced and rioting broke out in Los Angeles, I was visiting my parents. The next day, as the rioting escalated, I did some cooking and washed some dishes in the sink. Through the window over the sink I could see the neighbor's driveway and the garage with a basketball hoop hanging over the door. As I listend to the news on the radio, I watched two boys, one white, one black, play basketball, apparently oblivious to the troubles that were unfolding on the other side of the country. How lucky it would be, I thought, to be so innocent again. But were they? Are any of us ever truly that innocent?
My family moved to that town when I was in high school. I can still remember my first day in school, the first moment of the first class, in fact. My previous school had been almost entirely white. There was not one black student there. This new school was half black. Until that day, my interactions with African Americans had been limited. I wasn't especially concerned by that, however. I'd grown up on the Electric Company. Saturday moring cartoons were peppered with public service announcements decrying racism. I knew what I was supposed to do, treat everbody equally. I was supposed to act as I were "color blind", to behave as if, as Stephen Colbert puts it, "I don't see race."
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