When I was first elected as the mayor of a small city, I was pretty young. OK — very young; I was 24. One day soon after I started, a Black teenager happened to come to the building where I worked to visit his mother and got into the elevator. An older woman looked at the 15-year-old and asked, delightedly, “Oh, are you our new mayor?” 

A funny story, but the great part of it is the effect on that kid. His mother later told me that, sadly, her son had been mistaken for a lot of things, including being a dangerous person. People had even crossed the street to avoid him. This was the first time he had been mistaken for a person of authority, and it practically had him floating off that elevator. He could see himself as a mayor one day, or a senator or president. It changed him.