Still thinking about those water fountains.

What was it like, day after day, to be confronted with this, one smallish symbol of the great injustice and inequality of your society? If you were Black, thirsty, right handed, and a bit stiff, how did it feel, on a hot summer’s day in the South, to see that a White person could get a nice cool drink, but you could not? If you were White, did you pay any attention to that other water fountain right next to yours? If you noticed it, did you think, with self-deluding smugness, of your obvious superiority? Did it ever make you uncomfortable to see that you had this simple pleasure, but others did not — though it was clearly feasible? If you were aware enough to feel uncomfortable, did you explain it away to yourself, so that you wouldn’t have to think about it, and maybe get yourself in trouble with those friends and neighbours who thought the whole system was all in“God’s plan”?

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