Fortunately, my parents taught my siblings and me, from a young age, our true history, beginning with Africa. We knew all about Timbuktu and the Mali Empire (my maternal grandmother's side of the family is of Mandinka ancestry) when white 'historians' in this country were still proclaiming that the history of Timbuktu was fiction. Who's laughing now? I digress.
I was fully aware of, at a young age, how blacks were treated. My parents explained racism to us and how it negatively affected our quality of life. We were taught about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, Jim Crow Laws, Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam, etc. We knew about black inventors such as Percy L. Julian, Charles R. Drew, Elijah McCoy, etc. In other words, our parents taught us everything about black history that was not and is stillnot taught in school. We were keenly aware of how television portrayed whites as beautiful, wealthy, and civilized whereas we were(are) often portrayed as ignorant, uncivilized, poor, and unattractive.
Whenever we visited the museum, watched a Nutcracker performance, went to hear the city symphony orchestra play, we were always the only black family present or one of two present. I always noticed the point-blank stares (a few hostile) and the patronizing smiles.
The first time I received a racist comment directed at me was in 9th grade. I was the only black kid in the class. One of the boys decided to run his hands through my hair without my permission. !!! He then asked me what was I. I said that I was black. He had the nerve to tell me that I was not really black because my hair was not 'kinky and nappy.' !!! A couple of other fools decided to join in. They wanted to know why, if I was black, I didn't speak 'black' or 'mumbo jumbo.' !!! It was then that I concluded that whites were the most ignorant people on this planet when it comes to other races; they just pretend they aren't. I still believe this because there has not been any real evidence to the contrary.