Back when I was a kid, growing up on the mean streets of Mahopac, I had a classmate who felt very comfortable using the n-word in reference to African-Americans. He said it, he said it often, he was anything but shy.
Nowadays, on Facebook, I see him with black colleagues, smiling in photos.
It’s possible he’s changed. Maybe, with exposure, he’s learned the error of his past ways. But it’s also possible he’s simply learned to keep his true ideas in check. On the inside, he’s the same guy from yesteryear. On the outside, he loves everyone.
I bring this up because a New Haven woman named Corinne Terrone made the news recently for going of on a racial rant in a supermarket, dropping the n-word multiple times toward blacks in the store. You can read more about it here.
Anyhow, while the story itself didn’t shock me (Newsflash: There are racist assholes!), the reaction of one of Terrone’s longtime neighbors caught my eye. His name wasn’t provided, but he’s African-American and told the newspaper, ““She’s always been the sweetest woman in the world.” He added that he’s never seen Terrone exhibit racist behavior; that his grandkids played with her children.
It just reminded me of Mahopac, and race relations, and how I sorta understand why African-Americans in this country would be skeptical of whites.