And so, following an intense workshop in which they and their parents shared their biggest fears, and during which the parents read letters they’d written to their children (I wasn’t there, but I was with a few of the parents after who couldn’t hold back tears as they relayed the experience)—off they went, kids and counselors, into Tahoe City for ice cream. It was the 4th of July. What could possibly be more American than children, ice cream and Independence Day?
Well, it could be this: A group of mostly brown, adult-looking kids and their mostly brown adult counselors walking down a sidewalk in Whitesville when a white man says, “It’s the 4th of July, but it might as well be Halloween, seeing as how all the n*****s have come out.” Apparently, he doesn’t read the Boston Globe [a reference to an article in that newspaper claiming we're a post-racial society].
It should be noted that the man didn’t bother to use any asterisks when speaking; that’s my edit. (For those who may have wondered where my line is, now you know.)
And it should be noted that a white sheriff’s deputy subsequently dismissed the possibility that the word—the whole phrase, in fact—had been uttered at all. Surely, he didn’t say that. You must have misheard him, he said to the group, discounting their collective experience, defending the lone perpetrator and living up to their every expectation of police.
A Tough Real-life Lesson in Racism for African-American Pact Campers
An adoptive mom recounts a tough lesson in racism learned by Pact Camp African-American adoptees, when they visited a near-by town (dubbed Whitesville by the author) on the 4th of July: