I am looking for a short story whose name I have forgotten. It was in a school literature compilation when I was in seventh or eighth grade here in Maryland, USA (c. 1987).
A man goes home to visit his mother & brother. He is a medical doctor, which is important to the story, and the family is black, which is not. While visiting, someone tells the story of how the doctor’s brother bought a horse and hooked it up to a carriage so he and his mother could ride in style. The horse was not a suitable carriage horse, and on their first ride, the horse runs wild and nearly kills them both. This is a “funny after the fact” story, and everyone laughs except the doctor-brother. The doctor-brother is furious, because “If I had done that, you [mom] would have tanned my hide. You always let my brother get away with anything, while I had to be perfect all the time.” The mom replies “You are right that I did not treat you the same. I did not give you what you deserved. I gave you what you needed.” We then meet the brother. He is simple-minded and still living at his mother’s house.
As soon as I find it, it will be required reading for my kids.