When my son, Brian, was about four, he was extremely inquisitive. As a matter of fact, he still is.
We were in line at a supermarket checkout, and Brian was sitting in the shopping cart basket. A uniformed African-American mailman was in line in front of us.
Brian looked at the man and then turned back toward me. In that loud voice that’s so typical of four year-old boys, he asked, “Hey Dad, what kind of a man is that?”
The mailman looked back at me. We made eye contact.
I hesitated for a moment. In my most liberal, politically correct voice, I responded, “Oh, he’s a regular man.”
The postman watched with amusement.
But Brian insisted. “No Dad, what kind of a man.”
“Oh, he’s just an ordinary man,” I answered.
I was just starting my some-people-have different-colored-skins-but-we’re-all alike-inside speech when Brian interrupted me. “But what kid of a man. Is he a policeman or a fireman?’
“He’s a mailman,” I replied.
The postman smiled wryly and emptied his basket on the counter. He didn’t look back as he paid for his groceries and walked out of the store.
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