The shrill whistle pierced the humid August air, and the ten players, all African American high school students, gathered around the referee. The ref pointed to a young man who was wearing a t-shirt.
“Malik, here’s the word. ‘Ambiguous.’ Define it and use it in a sentence.”
The young man did so in a strong voice, and the ref called over to the scorer’s desk, “That’s a point for the shirts.” Then he turned to the other team (the skins), picked out a player, and gave him a word, “Optimism.”
When the player confused the noun with the adjective, the ref turned to a player on the shirts, who gave the correct answer. “Another point for the shirts,” the ref called. “Now let’s play ball.”