The Washington Post running the photograph of the little black youngster feeling President Obama’s hair to see if it was like his was probably lost on some people. What it must have meant for that little boy in the process of finding his identity and his manhood. And however it might be emblematic of other things, it represents also the time and point in which America always finds itself. The kid could have been a white boy that age, or a HispanicLatino kid. Upon seeing the image, my mind travelled back to another moment decades ago.
I remember shepherding a class of about 20 seventh-grade black kids to Monterrey, Mexico, on a field trip from Houston, a trip of about 500 miles. It might have been a trip to the moon – for the kids and hosts alike, not to mention the teacher-chaperones. Upon our arrival at the hotel, some of the hotel’s staff actually touched the hair of my students, and some of the clerks kissed their foreheads. My students giggled. I was embarrassed and touched at the same time – and confused.