As our family rounded the corner to the White House library and I first caught sight of Sergeant Crowley’s lovely 14-year old daughter—who was wearing an appropriately heavy and charmingly untrained amount of green eyeliner on her lower lashes—we were instantly transported from the post-racial myth of America in 2008 to the reality of 2009. There they stood, a pleasant family of five, listening patiently to the overzealous tour guide boast about the fully functioning fireplace to the left of the doorframe.
As soon as my father’s foot crossed the threshold of the room, the storm of mediators immediately rushed to introduce us, but true to form, my father cut right through the thick tension of hurried salutations and offered the Sgt. his hand and joked, “You looked bigger the last time I saw you.” Crowley’s cheeks flushed red as a smile dashed across his lips, and his young son, whose cheeks had long since flushed the same muted crimson, looked up at his father and smiled. This wasn’t a family raised on hate. At that moment, right there in the library, they were just like us: a young family groomed to perfection, waiting to learn how to get those damn cameramen off their lawn and to put this sensationalized hell behind them.