May Black Men Squint?

8 year old dark-skinned Black boy is tired from swimming. He’s staring into space. It’s sunny, so he’s also squinting. I smile and wave, but he’s so zoned out that I don’t even register to him. It makes me laugh because he looks so serious, but he’s just an 8 year old cutie.

Me: “Look at that little guy. He looks so…”

Her: “He looks so angry.”

Me: “Um no, I was going to say serious. I don’t think he looks angry at all.”

Whoah! What?! Angry? Wow.

Her comment hits me extra hard because I think of her as one of the good ones. She’s in her 20’s. Most of my friends in their 20’s give me hope for the future of our country. And she’s definitely in that category for me. Or she was.

Now I know that when my son squints into the sun, he too will be perceived as angry.

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