As imperfect as our present is in terms of race relations, it feels a thousand times superior to just the very recent past. This writer remembers his early-'70s boyhood in the rural Midwest, where white people — and not only the uneducated ones — didn't hesitate to use the "N" word casually and without shame and interracial couples still courted social indictment or worse. As for the deep South through most of the 1960s, it was frequently a zone of pure hostility and danger for those blacks and whites alike who dared challenge the racial status... More >>>