In the early 1980s, I lived in a small city in east central Indiana. It was known mostly for its manufacturing, which was going to hell then, and its high school basketball program.
One Friday night, I was working the late shift. As I was going home, I saw, about two blocks ahead of me, a group of young black men. They were more like kids; I doubt any of them were older than 15 years.
At first, I felt scared. I grew up in a small town that had no black residents, so my contact with them was limited. I had no idea what their intentions were.
But then I realized that they were teens, just as restless as I was when I was their age. My friends and I roamed the streets in packs, rode our bicycles because none of us had driver's licenses, and acted like idiots at times, especially when we were together, because we were changing from boys to men.
I didn't feel ashamed, just satisfied because I had a reason why they were in a group.