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"I watched him smiling at first one and then another of the guests, of whom all but one were white; and as I saw him placing his hand upon their arms, touching their backs, whispering to a tall angular-faced trustee who in turn touched his arm familiarly, I felt a shudder. I too had touched a white man today and I felt that it had been disastrous, and I realized then that he was the only one of us whom I knew -- except perhaps a barber or a nursemaid -- who could touch a white man with impunity."
Dr. Bledsoe's position seems natural. This is significant because the narrator is beginning to understand that touching a white man or being respected by a white man was attainable. Rare...... but attainable.