I’m from a small town in upstate NY, and we had two African American families in our town. We just viewed them like everyone else, and I didn’t experience any racism growing up. When I went into the Army in 1991, I experienced my first bit of racism from Southern white people using derogatory slang against African Americans. I got a slight burn from some brass from my rifle, and an African American soldier had the same injury. They looked exactly the same, pink and swollen. It exposed the fallacy of different races. We are all the same, color is not even skin deep.