Passing


"I am so glad, so glad, to see a Black man in your position," the old man told the bank manager.

"Oh, well thank you," the manager replied.

He thought it odd that a white man would be so happy to see a Black man in a managerial role, but he didn't say anything. In his short career he had learned that people all have their reasons, and questioning them could sometimes lead to unwanted situations. He finished the loan and congratulated the man on his new fence. Offering a peppermint to him as he did all customers. The old man accepted, but didn't budge.

"You know, I don't look it, but I am a Black man," the old man started. "I hid that for a long, long time. You're up here in the midwest, and you're young. Do you know about Jim Crow," he asked.

"Yes sir," the manager replied.

"That's good, you know your history. Well, I was a young man during that time. My mother, pretended to be my Black nanny. See, a white man had raped her, and I was the result. She didn't hate me for it. But she did make me pretend to be white. Kept my head almost bald, even as a kid. I just kept pretending to be white as I aged up. It was just easier for me to move up in the world. Now I look around, and I see so many of you young Black people doing things my friends could not have dreamed of," the old man wiggled the peppermint around his mouth.

"I sat and watched people march with Martin. The Black Panthers, all of it. I didn't feel comfortable being Black, until my son was born, and I knew I had to be there for him. Well, thank you for the loan," the old man quickly rose from his seat.

He didn't allow the manager to escort him out. Just threw up a hand and waved goodbye.

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