I say, "blacks should focus on whatever increases black self-respect and pride. That is the answer." He--old friend, old comrade--leans across the table, voice angry, eyes flame throwing. I should not have said "should."

"Listen," he starts, meaning, Listen, Whitey. "After everything that has happened, no white man has the right to tell blacks what they should be doing--about anything!"

I have a temper too. I stifle an impulse to fire back what W.C. Fields called "an evasive answer." Instead I pause and let the adrenaline subside; I roll my eyes to the ceiling and raise my open palms, priestlike: Peace.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!