Many years ago I was working in Washington, DC, and one of my roommates fixed me up with a blind date. The young man had attended St. Paul’s School and graduated from Harvard. He was tall and handsome, with a serious face and hazel eyes. And he was bi-racial. In fact, his skin was scarcely darker than mine.
We climbed into his sports car, and pulled away into Georgetown traffic. We talked while he drove. I don’t remember what we talked about. Neither do I remember where we were going. All I recall of the evening was that at one point we drove past the White House. It was blazing with light and I blurted out: “It certainly is white, isn’t it?”
This admittedly stupid remark made him very angry.
I’ve thought of this young man often as I watched Barack Obama over the past two years. He would be in his sixties, now, and I hope—and expect—that he has been successful. But it gives me great satisfaction to know that no young man or woman will ever again have to look at our beautiful White House and think that the color of its paint says something important about them and their future in our society.