As is often true, the experience of sharing meals and stories of life, prejudice (to pre-judge someone) faded away.
The story of many of our lives. Once we realize that everyone has far more in common than in difference, learned prejudice often slips away - on both sides. But many still confuse prejudice - which is the vestige of individuals making choices based on their own life experiences or lack thereof as it regards being around/knowing others of different cultures or ethnicities - and systemic racism.
Though your father and JT's dad became friends, if it were late 50s Nashville, they still couldn't have walked into any number of retail establishments or restaurants in the city and been served together. Your father would have been fine, but JT's would have been shown the door simply for the color of his skin and what that represented in the dominant culture at that period in time.
When people want to argue that Blacks can be "racist" that answer is always "No, they cannot" because in no stricture are the majority of white people beholden to Blacks for the basic permissions of life - access to education, healthcare, shelter, opportunity and the unfettered ability to be and do whatever they want within the limits of their own capabilities without barriers being placed in their path that have nothing to do with them as individuals or their own choices. More succinctly, Blacks to this day do not have unfettered access to the American promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Blacks indeed can be and are prejudiced. Every human has this capacity but it is 100% learned, it does not come from nature. White privilege within the context of the American promise is the ability to arrive at whatever door one seeks to enter and at that point not face unseen or unspoken opposition based upon how one looks or by what different sounding name one's parents may have given you. It isn't always about something being "given" simply because of whiteness, it's often something that isn't taken away or stripped from that individual because our legal and social systems allow it to happen since "that's just the way it is" - because whites in America's past set it up this way intentionally to disadvantage whole groups of individuals unlike themselves. And yes, some of the same barriers affect lower classes of white people too. I think this is one of the conundrums of the language that we use to talk about disparity - some of it is racial, other class based, and all economically impactful in real peoples' lives to a negative degree.
Jesus Christ, Tony. I grew up street.
It isn't about the streets, it's about the places where power and influence are wielded that determine how the rest of us live and what opportunities we might be allowed to have. You really are clueless, aren't you?