White? Just don’t think about it.

Toomsboro, GA

I grew up in a small southern town with a fairly even mix of African Americans and whites. I went to a school that was predominantly African American, had friends of both races, and an understanding that the kind of person you were had nothing to do with what color your skin was. I didn’t understand why we went to different churches. I didn’t understand the implications of being called a cracker. I didn’t understand what my aunt meant when I brought home the sweetest girl in my class, who happened to be black, and she said “you know how we feel about that”, and I certainly didn’t understand when she followed with, “And besides, I thought you liked that Korean girl in your class. She seems nice.” I never understood why the white parents sent their kids to private schools. I never understood why the college I attended in a predominantly African American area had almost no African Americans. Or maybe I did but I couldn’t say the word. It has a bitter taste, like shame and resentment. It hurts me that people I care about think this way and that they can’t understand why I get so angry when they do. The only thing I’ve ever associated with race is the shame I feel in every history class, the shame of people putting money and convenience and the building of empire above the basic needs of other human beings, and so I have a hard time identifying with it, with the color w****. It’s easier to feel raceless than think about the problems. So here’s the suggestion: White? Just don’t think about it.


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