As a primary grade school student in the early 60s, I walked home from school like just about everyone did. One day walking home I was approached by a black man, and, being young, it was hard for me to judge his age, likely high school age or older. He told me he didn’t like little white girls and particularly fat girls. I recall a feeling of being frozen in place. An older friend raced ahead and found a man painting a house to intervene. I don’t remember anything else happening. I did share the event with my parents. I wasn’t prevented from discussing it, nor was I pressed for information, making a big deal about it. I believe the way my parents handled the situation allowed me to move on from this. Generalizing that all black men were to be feared could have grown from overreaction. Instead it was another day, and we all moved on.
I shared this story not to brag about my parents. It is shared to say that more situations could be addressed similarly to keep from inflaming emotions.
Margaret Godwin Bergmark, Lebanon
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