I see so many of these ‘acknowledgements’. I don’t know what it says about them, or so many who may do such things, and in many cases not acknowledge any racial filters in their being.
It’s troubling to see these reactions being picked up on by the next generation – parents who get tense just passing by on the street for example – and somewhere along the way perpetuation becomes the norm.
It sounds like you can feel pride for confronting these issues, but I am no arbiter. I think maybe you could learn, and do, a lot by talking to people like the two men in your story. Something’s going on there, and leaving it unmet is how we don’t move on.