A writer examines issues of racism he witnessed while growing up in Waterloo, Iowa, and running a grocery store with his father:
When I went back for an event for my college fraternity, I introduced myself to one of the new guys, my brother who is the first ‘black guy’ in my fraternity. When I asked him where he was from, he said, ‘From South America originally.’ I laughed and said, ‘No, I meant where from in the US—St. Louis, Kansas City?’ The suburban kid from St. Louis didn’t want to be considered ‘African American.’ For him, being South American was a safer play in a predominately white fraternity.
I’ve wondered whether an African American would have gotten a small business loan like my father did.
In 1989 when the movie came out, a reporter asked Spike Lee a question about what viewers ‘should learn’ from Do The Right Thing. Lee smiled and quipped that maybe black folks should be able to get financing to run their own pizzerias.