We lived in the same town, but we lived in two worlds.

A high school classmate* recently posted on his Facebook page an experience he had as a young teen in our home town. A Lexington police officer cornered my friend with his (the cop’s) cruiser in the high school parking lot and told my friend, “Nigger boys like you go missing all the time. You should never go near my daughter.”

I had no idea that a police officer in my town would ever use that kind of language.  I had not idea that a police officer would be so contemptuous toward one of my classmates. When I reacted to my friend’s post with horror and surprise, my friend shook it off—of course cops in Lexington, Massachusetts, in the 1970s would say something like this.

Let’s be clear: This cop threaten the life of the kid, a 14-year-old, and my friend is practically casual about it.

We lived in the same town, but we lived in two worlds. I think we still do.

*Just in case it’s not clear to you, my classmate is African-American.

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