My father and I don’t talk. Haven’t since the summer of 2001. (Except at my grandmother’s funeral last year, when I cut off his attempted embrace by shaking his hand.) But I don’t need to speak with him to know he’s celebrating this week, as Brown v. Board of Ed. heads for the chopping block.
So insanely opposed to integration is my father that, when a relative gave my sister, then 3, a nursery rhyme book picturing both brown and white children, he covered over all non-Caucasians with nail polish. “Birds of a feather flock together,” he told us. “My children won’t play with Negroes.”
He forgot to let the paint dry before closing the book, so the pages stuck together forever.
In recent years, though, he’s mastered the slippery, faux-equitable rhetoric of “compassionate conservatives” like our current president, not to mention the empaths Bush has placed on the Supreme Court to team up with Scalia and Thomas, who likewise drip with the milk of humankindness.