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Photo by Christopher Gregory

On a hot June afternoon, driven by an anxiety that seems to track with the viciousness of the national mood, I visit an arcade to see if it still has the analgesic effect I craved as a lonely teenager, when I felt especially embattled because, as a black person, I’d begun to realize what America might have in store for me.

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Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the internationally best-selling novel Remember Me Like This (Random House, 2014), which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

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