My first race-based experience happened around 1st/2nd grade. Yeah, I was called the N word. I didn't know what it meant so I called the lil white boy the N word in return. A white teacher heard the conversation, pulled us aside then told us "didn't you know that black and whites are equal!!". She said it with such passion too.
Afterwards I go back to the hood and hear some grown-ups complaining about some race issues and I just had to open my mouth and repeat, "Didn't you know that black and whites are equal!!!" I said it with the passion the white teacher had. My elders scolded me for interrupting the conversation and for my ignorance.