I wrote this to a friend earlier in the day, and thought I’d share it here as well:
Today, and so many times during the election and transition process, I’ve found myself remembering something that happened when I was in seventh grade. I attended a city public school that was the first thing built in the long-vacant footprint of Pruitt-Igoe, the greatest disaster in the history of American public housing. Most of my classmates were black. One day in social studies class, Mrs. Wells asked us if any of us wanted to be president when they grew up. No one raised their hand–not a single kid. We all just kind of looked at each other.
Shortly after the inauguration, I saw a black man who I think was in his 30s interviewed briefly on TV. He said something to the effect of, “When we were in school, they told us we could be anything we wanted. We believed them, but we knew there were limitations. Now, things are different.”