An Anecdote (After reading “Citizen” by Claudia Rankine)
You are on a family trip to Colonial Yorktown. You, your wife and children have already traveled to Williamsburg, Jamestown, and several other historical sites in Virginia. This is your last stop. Chickens flutter about and curators, dressed in character, stand at their designated posts. You, a history buff and somewhat of a kid at heart, soak it all in with joy—stopping multiple times to take pictures—asking lots of questions.
You and your daughter walk inside of a garden, where you join the gardener and an older white gentleman. The gardener greets everyone with an affable smile and starts to talk about what a colonial garden would have looked like. You point to a green plant, budding green bulbs and white flowers,
“Oh, that would be cotton,” she says.
The older white man chuckles,
“Have you forgotten?”
Your daughter gasps, dropping her jaw a little, and looks to you for a response. You simply chuckle back. As you leave the garden, she questions you,
“Why didn’t you say something?”
You look at her and shake your head.
“It’s OK,” you say “It’s OK.”