White guilt defines my life relentlessly.

Virginia Berthy

I come from the combination of an old Alabama-Mississippi family and an old Virginia Family. I do not to my knowledge have an ancestor that did not own slaves before it was outlawed. I am told in back rooms of random family discussion that my great-great-great grandfather was the first white sheriff of Bolliver Co. Mississippi after reconstruction, and that he was the Grand Dragon of the original, pre-reconstruction KKK. How does one bear this?

I was groomed for a life in the white upper class but fled overseas for nearly a decade in order to be able to define my own life. Now I am back, trying to define my relationship to my community and my country and to raise my children to be healers and bridge builders.

I live my life in the spirit of restitution, but often ask myself what I really have to offer.

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One Response to "White guilt defines my life relentlessly."
  1. I’m in a different situation, but I have a sense of how you feel. I’m white and teach in a majority African-American school. I teach US History Part 1 which includes the history of slavery in America. It’s a difficult subject. However, I have found that when I am honest both about the subject and about my own feelings  we are able to have useful conversations in class.

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