I never thought much about race. Early in life, I learned that it was an untrustworthy category.

As a child, I was taught to regard all people with equanimity. My Saturday morning and after-school television eyes were filled with figures of many hues cooperating to produce pleasurable adventures together, often in the company of a talking dog.

Across centuries, contemplation of race led people into all sorts of vicious behaviors based on absurd, extravagant fantasies, or so I was taught. Surely enlightened, modern people would contain this poisonous practice in the contaminated histories of previous generations.

Born in the mid-1960s, at the height of the civil rights movement, like many Americans of my generation, my life was supposed to be a fresh start. Particularly in the relatively affluent, progressive-thinking Pacific Northwest.