Unreasonable Optimism

Steven Doloff

In a college English class that I was teaching, filled mostly with African American and Hispanic students, a reading assignment prompted a discussion of ethnic minorities’ economic disadvantages in the United States. Assuming we were all on the same page, as a “liberal” I couldn’t resist weighing in and expressing my own professorial indignation on the subject. But one slightly older student (let’s call him “Roberto”), who until now had said little during the semester, politely demurred.

“I don’t believe that,” he said. “I can’t believe that.”

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