At the beginning of the interview, he is every Black American trying to do the right thing. Every worker catching two trains to work this morning. Every parent dropping their kids off at school. Every husband agreeing to go weekend toaster shopping even though the toaster they currently own works perfectly fine.
And then, something happens.
A small but noticeably deliberate offense. An intentional microaggression.
A secretary saying hi to each of the White managers but giving you the forced closed-mouth smile instead. Some person on their cell phone cutting you off without signaling on the expressway. A teacher at a parent-teacher conference asking if you and your wife are employed. A cousin sending you another Candy Crush request on Facebook. The cashier at McDonald sucking his teeth when you ask for an extra ketchup. Haters.
And, for a moment, it takes you back to wherever you were from before you got where you are now. You don't live in Southeast D.C. or Brownsville or West Baltimore or Compton or Homewood anymore, but it's still inside of you. You're educated and degreed and employed, but you're also you. And you're tired of this shit. And you are fourfive seconds from wildin.
But you remember where you are. You remember that people are watching you. Pulling for you. Praying for you. Sacrificing just so you can be where you are. You remember how hard you worked. You remember that, if you do snap, you have much more to lose than the person you'd snap on does.
So you come back from that half second you just spent in West Baltimore. You smile. You nod. You shake your head. And you continue your day.