In Of Mice and Men, Crooks stated that when he was a child he would sometimes play with white kids. He said, "My ol' man didn't like that. I never knew till long later why he didn't like that. But...

In Of Mice and Men, Crooks stated that when he was a child he would sometimes play with white kids. He said, "My ol' man didn't like that. I never knew till long later why he didn't like that. But I know now." Explain what Crooks means.

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter four Crooks opens up to Lennie, telling him about his childhood and his intense loneliness on the ranch where he is segregated and often the victim of racism. He feels comfortable with Lennie, saying, “A guy can talk to you an’ be sure you won’t go blabbin’." He tells Lennie that he is not a southern black and how his family had a chicken ranch in California where he grew up with his brothers. He reveals that when he was a child he would play with white children from the surrounding area:

"The white kids come to play at our place, an’ sometimes I went to play with them, and some of them was pretty nice. My ol’ man didn’t like that. I never knew till long later why he didn’t like that. But I know now.”

As a child, Crooks is unaware of racism. He is just a kid playing with other kids. Surely, his father understood racism and was probably wary of the white families. The fact that Crooks may have formed friendships with some of the white children obviously bothered his father. Later, Crooks would understand his father's worries as he became victimized by prejudice against his skin color, called derogatory names and forced to live separate from the other workers on the ranch.