My church friend and I were only about 7 years old when she leaned over in my ear and whispered, “Sometimes black people are so … scary.”
We were standing in the hallway of the rented central New Jersey auditorium where we had church services. It was a diverse congregation – much more so than my suburban neighborhood – and a bunch of black kids had run by us, laughing and shouting, raucous in play.
It was the start of my first conversation about race. I can still remember the shock of that moment, the twist in my stomach at the word “scary”.