"You've got an odd name, but it seems somehow familiar. I've got it: weren't you one of the kids who, back in 1984, led a protest because your high school principal got tough on tardiness and sent a bunch of you back home for excuses?"

"Wow, that's some kind of memory you got, sir. It'd be real fun working for a guy like you. Yes, I am proud to say that I was a student leader in my high school days.

"I might add that I continued on showing that same type of leadership during my college years. I was a part of the group that put an end to the dress code at State U. and also forced the administration to throw out some of its irrelevant courses -- English, for instance -- and also we made them give up letter grades and go to a pass- fail system."

"I see. And I see here that you continued yourstudent activism after you transferred to another school."

"Well, yes, sir. I guess I'm what you might call an idealist, and I didn't think I should give up on my ideals just because they kicked me out of State for wearing my hair in cornrows and putting a gold ring in my nose. Isn't it funny how, back then, people used to judge you on externals rather than on your potential?"

"And in graduate school?"

"Well, matter of fact, I helped to launch the campaign that put an end to attendance taking. Can you imagine? We were all grown-ups, and they were still treating us like children, keeping track of absences, taking off points for neatness, all kind of nonsense. They even tried to throw a couple of people out of grad school for smoking a little dope on campus, if you can believe that, but we turned them around on that one. Quite a group we had back then."

"And yet I see that although you are 35 years old, you've only worked for brief periods of time. Would you care to explain that?"

"I guess you could say it's a question of the breaks. Like, this one turkey I worked for always wanted to argue about something. You know how some people never want to admit that you know more than they do? Well, he started promoting people over me even though I had more time on the job, so I split.

"And this other dude was always on my case about taking Friday's off, even when I had enough annual to cover it. And if I showed up 15 minutes late, you would have thought I had slapped his mama, the way he carried on. I mean, he reminded me of that clock-watching principal we had back in high school. So I said, later for him, especially after the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer took his side. You know how they all stick together.

"These last few years, I've been trying to get my head together, you know, sort of figure out where I'm going. I don't want to brag, but I think I've got too much on the ball to be doing the jive sort of jobs people have been offering me. I mean, I've got children to take care of. So that's why I'm here. I heard your company pays pretty nice salaries, and some friends of mine say you are a fair type of guy, so I thought perhaps we ought to, like, discuss my future, you know?"

"I see you have strong opinions about a number of things. Perhaps you might have an opinion as to why you have been unable to find the sort of job you feel you deserve."

"Well, I don't like to come right out and say it . . ."

"No, please do come right out and say it. Why do you think you've had so much difficulty?"

"I guess it's because I'm black."