In a past life I had been a representative helping the public with a few government benefit programs. After I left that position a family friend asked for some assistance so I advised her to go to my old office and ask for my friend and former colleague Don as he was the best qualified person there. I had moved over a thousand miles away, so I would not be able to provide the type of assistance she needed.
My lady friend then asked me to describe Don so she could identify him when she got there. I tried my best. Don and I worked side by side for three years and it was I that trained him when he was first hired. Don was about my size, about ten years my senior, spoke slowly and deliberately, and I told her anything else I could remember Don. Now Don was more than just a coworker. He, his family and I would see each other socially, outside the work environment. As I was single, Don and his lovely bride would invite me over for some good home cooking from time to time, and I would reciprocate by taking them out to dinner on occasion.
A few days after I sent my lady friend to see Don, she called me to say that it would have been easier for her to pick Don out among the representatives there had I simply told her he was the only black man in the office. Picky, picky, picky!
I never noticed -- and certainly couldn't visualize him -- so how was I to know such an unimportant detail as the color of his skin? I always kind of figured that he must have had skin, but its color certainly wasn't important.
The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
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