Throughout my life, both professional and private, white people who are friends have said to me that race doesn’t matter and that they see me as Charlie, a person just like everybody else. Interestingly though when I am the same age as their daughters or sisters and a friendship begins to develop my blackness came very clearly into the focus.
On one particular occasion when I took my first teaching job, I was at dinner with the Headmaster and his family and the race conversation came up. They assured me that I was seen as a person and as charlie who is a great teacher and has a funny personality. At that point I’d had enough and said “cool, do you mind if I date your daughter” the Headmasters quick reply was “Watch it….you’re treading on dangerous ground”. I’m glad he was finally able to see that I am black as should anybody else who encounters me because it isn’t a hinderance to my identity. It’s a wonderful thing to be a black male.