I am embarrassed to admit that, despite my attempt at a veneer of sophistication, I take tourist buses to orient myself in new places. It isn't something you're supposed to do, unless you are a very inexperienced, gauche kind of person, but I find it often helps me figure out the lie of the land and also supplies bits of (sometimes, I'll admit, somewhat useless) information that I'd never discover any other way.
Anyway, enough of the self-justification. The point is, yesterday, in Washington DC, while on one of these shameful excursions,I heard an exchange that made the whole thing worthwhile. After the tour guide had told us about Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American justice of the Supreme Court and the lawyer behind the Brown v. the Education Department case and explained that the Brown case ended segregation, I heard the small boy in front of me ask his mother, 'What's segregation?'
(I also learnt that the cup cake shop near my hotel - the one with the permanent queue - is a cult, thanks to a TV programme, so bang goes my theory. Or perhaps not.)
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