I am deeply troubled and disturbed about the collapse of civility on conversations of race and social justice in our country, but I am not confused. The continued spate of police shootings of unarmed African-American men and the tragic shooting deaths of five Dallas policemen leave us wondering whether Black and White America can ever relate to each other in a civil, empathic manner.
I am not confused, but I used to be. Growing up in South Memphis, Tennessee in the 1960s, I developed a friendship with Shirley, the daughter of Chinese-American immigrants who operated a food market in my neighborhood. Shirley and I had a bond; we were both socially awkward children with big glasses and a fondness for math.
Our lives were irrevocably altered after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis. After Dr. King’s death, the word on the street was that black radicals were planning to bomb non-black businesses in the African-American community. True enough; within days, my community was in flames.
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