In 2000 I moved to the West African country of Togo for a few years, and it helped me figure some stuff out. While I lived there, I noticed that I, a white guy, was rarely feeling the sort of caution and anxiety during conversations with black people that I'd grown used to in America, particularly during my childhood in the highly segregated city of Washington, DC. To be more precise, I noticed consciously, not for the first time but certainly in a much clearer fashion, that I'd had this anxiety, now that I suddenly wasn't feeling it. It's not a huge anxiety. It sits in the background. It is impossible to pinpoint it. If you are an American, certainly an American of roughly my age, and you don't think you have this anxiety, it is very, very likely (though not impossible) that you are kidding yourself. There is a reason why they call it the "subconscious".
The reason...Continue reading