i remember once when I was in like first grade I was talking to this white girl about a conversation that my family was having earlier. We were discussing how Jesus probably had dark skin and dark hair. I told the girl, you know, Jesus was probably black. She thought about it for a bit then said. Ok, but God is white.....I've grown up all my life in places where there werent a lot of blacks, and the few we did see acted like they had to put on some kind of front in front of white folks. They wouldnt speak, nod, or wave. I was drawn to this website because I am so culturally confused. I love my culture and the things that go along with it, but here I feel so culturally starved I've tried to fit in or learn more about my other heritages such as native american, but that doesn't feel right either......im still a bit confused.....
When I think about it, I get queasey. It was in the 1st grade, and there was this little white girl who, for some reason, loved me. Everyday I could look forward to her bringing me ribbons, bows and all sorts of little neat gifts. Needless to say, the only thing I could give her was some of my mother's Southern cooking that we often brought for lunch....she loved it!!

One day, the little girl asked my mother if I could stay late with her and walk to her parent's store (they owned a print shop). Looking back, I think my mother was hesitant, as she denied me twice; the third time she agreed to allow me to go the next day after school. I was sooo excited, you would have thought that I was going to see Jesus! LOL

On this particular day, my mother reminded me to be nice, and don't ask for anything that's not offered to me (you know the grill) when I arrived at my friend's parent's store. After school, she and I skippity hopped down the block; she being excited to introduce her parents to her friend, and me being excited to do something new and exciting.

Well, we got there, and I'm sure I was grinning like a new fool, and that little girl's father took one look at me, and told us, very adamantly to, "go outside and play". There was no where to play there, unless we went back to the park that was across the street from the school. I'm thinking, "hey, I could have gone home and played outside".

While we were just standing there outside the door of the store, the little girl's mother comes to get here, and take her back inside. When she gets back outside, she tells me that she can't have company, and I need to "go on home." Was I crushed? Like grapes in a winepress!!

Now her folks were supposed to bring me home, but they didn't, and luckily my older sisters and brothers also went to this school, so I headed back over there and waited for my sisters and walked home with them. Needless to say, on the walk home, and once I got home, I was grilled about what had happened, and I was just too sick to my stomach to say (I still didn't realize why things had turned out that way). My mother finally sat me down and explained to me about white people being prejudice and how, for no reason, they tend to dislike blacks just because they're black. She assured me that it was definitely nothing that I had done, and some people were just 'stupid' like that....and stupid was the word she used.

Since that day, I have decided to never be 'stupid'. I actually pity folks who judge others for something as insignificant as race. I am quite proud of my heritage, and the more they hate me, the more confidence I gain.

WOW! I wrote a novel, huh? LOL
Everyday I get up and go outside I'm reminded by someone that I am Black. Usually, something unpleasant will happen, and then, I go home, take a shower, talk about it with someone, watch tv or whatever, and then go to bed. When I get up the next day, it is usually the farthest thing on my mind; until I step into the bright sunshine, and then wham!! rotflmao
KUDOs to MBM, for the thought provoking topic. I grew up in a small rural community where Black folks was definitely a minority. Blacks families numbered 4 and white families numbered around 200 to 300. So my playmates were white children whose parents were not racist. because you see, the children inherited their racism from their parents.

My school started at first grade not kindergarden. So, my first realization I was different was in first grade. Their were 2 blacks and I was one of them. I knew I was Black when the little white racist girls would call me nigger to my face. It wasn't so much the word but the way they said it. I knew by their tone the word was bad and meant to hurt my feelings.
Wow, Some of you all have excellent and interesting memories. I can't remember exactly when I first became aware of it but I also can't remember not being aware of it...

I do recall getting called an "African Booty scrathcer"(My personal favorite cuz I never quite figured out what the hell that was exactly), Nigger, and Jungle Bunny on a daily basis....also getting shot at with Bebee guns chased home while rocks were being thrown at me(by guys much older and larger than me otherwise I would have held my own, even as a female) As well as being told my hair and facial features were ugly...ect. ect.

I grew up in "Sunny" Southern California in a majority white subburb of L.A. I'm in my twenties and I was lucky enough to be part of the generation that went from being tormented by white kids during our formative years, to them trying to look like us and be "down" by high school.(or whatever stereotype they associate with what being 'Black' is, that they have been programmed with by the corporate owned propoganda machine, a.k.a the media, which stereotypes usually have little to nothing to do with Africa and unfortunately so many of "us" internalize.)...Now that's a run on sentence for yah!

BUT I'm glad I went through it all. It caused me to have less confusions than others that experience the more subtle racism that thwarts the flourishment of the African personality in todays youth.
Having grown up in the suburbs of Boston I am not sure where I should start. There are sooo many memories that are race-based, I am not sure which was first.

I was born in D.C. and we moved when I was 4, so you can imagine what a cultural shock that was - even at such a young age. I can remember asking my mother if we could move back to
D.C. and I knew that it was because I was uncomfortable around white folks. Then there was the time that a friend of mine and I were playing in my front yard and another kid came along and asked my friend if he wanted to play at his house, but said I could not come - and my "friend" went. My next door neighbor said that my mom was fat. I told my mom this and she said to say that his mom was wrinkled. (I love my mom for stuff like that)

My older bro. was working in a mall at a shoe store and some guy was going into all the store fronts and saying "nigger, nigger". My brother, in shock, got up to see if what he thought he heard was true - of course, it was. He said that he felt a big swelling of pride when the guy got about 4 store fronts away and a big Black hand came from the store and knocked the guy on his a**.

I can't forget the time that I was playing organized summer basketball between my jr. & sr. years (high school). We were warming up and one of the kids, who I had known and been "friends" with since elementary school shot a ball and missed. What did he say - not sh*t or d*mn or even f**k, he said nigger. He apologized profusely, but it was too late - all I could think about was that fact that we had been "friends" all these years and it meant nothing - I got to see him for who he really was and realized what happened when I wasn't around.

I don't want to take up the entire post, but you could say that my entire tenure in Mass. was filled with not being called on in class when my hand was up 1st, cars driving by real fast and somebody yelling nigger, being stopped by the police for no reason. Fortunately, I was an athlete and could whip anybody's a**, so I did not get a lot of face to face stuff (cowards), but I had my share of experiences.

I would not trade most of it for anything because it showed me white folks for who they really were.
A.G.'s post reminded me of a couple things:

When I was in the third grade I was accepted to an all White, all boy prep school. I remember going from an all Black world to an all White world over night.

After the first day, I remember telling my mother that I wanted to go back to my old school because "those White boys talk funny. They all good like their from England or something."

I also remember one hot summer day, sitting in the living room with my mother, when the front door suddenly openned and a White man just walked in. I remember my mother being visibly angry.

Without pausing the White man said, "Oh, you must be [calling my mother's first name]. I'm 'Mr. [I don't remember his name]', I'm [Calling my father's first name]'s insurance man."

My mother looked up and told him to go back outside and knock on the door. The White man looked puzzled, but because of the look on Moms' face, he complied.

When he got outside, he tentatively knocked and Moms just ignored him. He knocked again and called out, "[Moms' first name], I know you're in there, I just saw you."

Moms got up and went to the door. Without openning the screendoor, she told the White man, "As long as you are White, you don't ever walk into this house without being let in. As long as you are White, you don't ever call me or my husband by our first name. You call me Mrs. ____ and my husband, Mr. ____. You are not our friend. You are a salesman. You don't do that to your White customers and you won't do it to us.

Moms then turned around and shut the door in his face. I remember being so proud, and not knowing why.
Part 2:

When I was just out of college I went by the guys house, that same guy who called out the word nigger when playing b-ball, and his father was openly hostile towards me, again I had known him for quite some time, it was then that I really understood the experience on the court.
My first memory is rifding a small plastic horse on wheels.
My first real realisation of my position a a white person, white privelidge and racism was when I moved to Peru for my first year . Until this time I had been living in Englan unaware of it and was only vaguely aware of colonisation.
My parents moved to a small Ohio town in an attempt to provide an opportunity for their children to obtain a better education than they perceived was possible in Cleveland. My first day of Kindergarten was very exciting for me. My mother had pressed and curled my hair and I was wearing what I thought was the most beautiful new dress in the world. The only other persons of color in that school were my older brother and sister.

As I was sitting in the classroom, I heard a boy use the word nigger in conversation with other children. I held my head high and ignored it as best I could, but I could feel tears welling up behind my eyes. On a dare the boy got up from his seat, spit on me, and screamed "Nigger!"

Before I could think I punched him with all of the force that I had. I knocked him to the ground, jumped on top of him, and proceeded to beat him like there was no tomorrow - splitting his lip and tearing my new dress in the process.

My parents were wonderful and insightful in their handling of the incident. The boy's parents made him apologize to me and they gave my parents money to replace my dress. I often wonder if the young man remembers this incident and realizes how much of my innocence he took from me that day.
My mother is from Central America (Belize) and my father's roots are from the deep south (Mississippi and Louisiana),that being said, my siblings and I always knew who we were and were always proud of our heritage. I'm sure but growing up in the 80s on the Northwest side of Chicago probably had something to do with it...but my parents always instilled in us pride in being apart of a stong, resilient people...Black people.

The first time someone tried to shake that in me I was probably in the 5th or 6th grade...and couple of Hispanic students that were in my class were looking at a globe and they pointed out the country "Niger" and said "Hey _____, this is where you're from" but instead said the word "Nigger"...I was shocked at first because I was never called a Nigger before that, but it didn't upset me, I rolled my eyes, and continued to do my work. I told my mother when i got home that they, she proceeded to tell me where Hispanics came from...which made me smile even more when I went to class the next day... Smile ...My mom was so cool...she still is... Cool
"they pointed out the country "Niger" and said "Hey _____, this is where you're from" but instead said the word "Nigger"..."

I haven't read the posts yet, but I've heard that "Nigger/Niggeria" ( Niger/Nigeria) thing so many times ( white kids think it's unbelievably funny as hell, "hey, a country caller nigger!!! yet they only spell it with one g", I can't count how many times I've been called a nigger or heard white kids say "nigger" when you're around, I could write a whole encyclopedia.
I am lucky to say that it was not until I was in my undergraduate career that I had a traumatic race-based memory that made me hyper-aware of being black. I was raised in an all black and Latino neighborhood and went to an all black and Latino high school were the focus was on the histories of people of color and not on European/white American history.
My first year of college, I went to Lesley University (which I do not recommend to anyone) which sadly I have experienced one too many negative racial experiences there. I was born and raised in Boston just about 25 minutes (on a good traffic day) from Cambridge where Lesley is located. I was on the train going back to school from visiting my family. As I walked onto the train I heard a woman speaking how she didn't like Latinos or something to that effect. I wasn't paying much attention because I was engrossed with a book I was reading and I don't care for ignorance too much anyhow. So I sat down. She then went on to say "You know who I can stand either? I can't stand bl...." but I her friend said "shhh". By this time I looked up and saw her friend nudge her to say be quiet because I was sitting parallel to them. I laughed in my head and simply held up my book to their eye level so that they could see the title of the book I was reading. The Debt: What America OWES to Blacks by Randall Robinson. After reading the title of the book they remained quiet until they left the train.
Of course I could give ample of examples of when white people tried to make me believe that being black was a curse, but luckily I went into these situations knowing that being black is something beautiful and not something to be ashamed about.
Beginning when I was a small child, my mother always told me how beautiful I was, that no matter what anyone said, I had the loveliest chocolate skin in the world. I'm glad she did that because I grew up with the confidence and strength to face the eenemies that drifted in and out of my life later. I learned about my heritage and became proud of it. And although memories still anger me today, in Truth it only makes me stronger because I realize the nature of Who and What I am inside. I am a Wise, Beautiful Black Woman and the word "Nigger" doesn't own me.
I've known since kindergarden that I was Black. I grew up in a predominantly white suburb of Chicago and I lived in a house with my parents and my grandparent and my cousin (yea- you know how it can be sometimes). Anyway, my cousin and I were the first black students to ever attend school in this district and everyone treated us like we were supposed to have some outrageous sports talent or be musical prodigies. At 5 years old it was a difficult concept to understand but they made it very clear to us that we were not the same as we were.
I have many! lol

Ok... I remember when the tv series Roots came out. I was teased relentlessly by folks who looked like me. I was called Kizzy and other names which were very derogratory...

Also, I remember when my family moved to the outskirts of London when I was in pre-school. I stuck out like a sore thumb ( I was the only black girl in my school). None of the white children wanted to sit by me because they thought that my colour would rub off! I remember crying my eyes out when my mother came to pick me up later.

Ahhhh... the memories! lol
This technically isn't a memory, but they tell me I did this.

My mom asked me what color my Kindergarten teacher was, and I said "She's about your color." I didn't yet know what black and white was, since all I knew was black people.

Later, I would see a few white and Asian people at my elementary school. I finally had a white second grade teacher. At that age, I still didn't see the big difference.
quote:
Originally posted by Kweli4Real:
In the second picture, the third person from the left (dark jacket, light pants), she/he looks to be horrified, yet does nothing to intervene. Mad


What's really funny about those pix is that those events happened on city hall plaza... the mayor of boston at the time said that he witnessed the whole thing from his office, but was "powerless" to act - something about the elevator not getting up to his floor in enough time. The MAYOR... could not pick up the phone and have somebody from the front desk (security guard, POLICE OFFICER or something) handle the situation???!!!
Alafia All
I came from Nigeria to the U.S. in 1967. My father moved us to a little town in South Carolina. I was 9 years old with an African lilt to my speech (which I've lost now) as long as I spoke slowly folks understood me very well. My trouble started quickly. The AA's called me everything but my name and when they said my name they said "Faggot un wa" I learned to joke right back. The teachers and other adults of all colors said I was from "Niggeria" stuff like that. Also we did not go to church, which would have been OK except my Father is an Ifa priest and we sacrifice animals and chant odu and stuff and all they knew about this was "it's voodoo". It made most of them leave me alone though.
The real trouble came when one of the AA's wanted to date my sister and my sister told him we would have to meet his family first. After the grilling my father gave them there was a big argument and everyone was very angry for a long time. They got married 4 years later and are still married to this day.
I could go on and on but I learned that my sense of humor and honor were really valuable in my life. It also didn't hurt that I was growing thick and tall (6'2" 250 lbs) and losing my accent.I learned that AA's were just starting to learn about Africa and African stuff and that if I got over the initial friction I could have fruitful dialouges and make friends of some of them. I also learned that what my father told us was true. He said "AA's have a lot of Shango and need more Ifa."
My first race-based memory was in West Palm Beach, Florida when I was about 5 years of age. It was on a sunny day and I was in kindergarten. There was this white girl I used to play with and on that day, I had my forearm next to hers and it dawned on me that I was much darker than her.


On another day (I was about 8 or 9 at the time), my younger brother, sister and I were coming home from school when out of the blue a black car with a bunch of rude rednecks pulled alongside us and started calling us niggers and wanted us to get in the car. But we hauled ass and ran the rest of the way home. It was scary.
Fortunate for me my first impression of white people wasn't all that bad. Los Angeles's Marquez elementary 1st grade teacher told me "You could be anything you want to be... doctor... lawyer." She always called on me in class, because she knew I knew the answer, and she begged me to be in the spelling bee.

What made it a race-based memory is the fact that she and some other teachers used to send me home with boxes of canned goods and other food-stuffs. They'd also send pkgs with other things I can hardly remember. I look back now, and I don't really appreciate the sympathy. Yeah I was poor and hungry, but I didn't need pity.
I think I have always been aware of my skin color because my mother is a very color-struck woman. One of my earliest memories is of my mother stroking my face as a toddler and telling me how much she prayed when I was in her stomach that I would have light skin and how she cried when she saw that I did. Mmmmkay? By the time I was ready to start school, you could not convince me I was Black. On the first day of school, I was standing with a few other girls and we were picking classroom seats. One of them whispered "Let's all sit over here together, away from that Black girl." I clearly remember responding "Yeah, let's not sit with her" and looking around for this Black girl. They got quiet. I got sad. And thus began almost twenty years of arguing with my mother over what she taught me about Race.
I grew up in the late 70s / early 80s in Newark, New Jersey. My parents were very Afrocentric, into Malcolm, the Panthers, listened to Nina Simone, Miles, Coltrane, the whole bit, so my younger sister and I always believed that EVERYBODY else shared the same value systems, beliefs, sense of "the struggle"--even white folks!

My late father always bitched and moaned about "dese crackas, you caynt truss em", but for my sister and I, since we never actually saw and interacted with huge numbers of white people (besides our white teachers--who we considered black anyway), we lived in "the bubble" and safety of family. We had no idea.

We were always raised and taught to be proud of who we were and that we were beautiful. And if Daddy says we're beautiful, then nothing else matters.

Every year, when Eyes on the Prize came on channel 13, we were horrified at the treatment of our people, but brushed our shoulders off because that Jim Crow era was like the times of Hannibal and Caesar--such a lonnnnnnnnnnng time ago. We couldn't even IMAGINE slavery! Slavery? Was that mentioned in the Old or New Testament?

My first memories of being different were in college. I went to this Big East coast school and white folks didn't really notice that black people were there. It was like we were invisible, like it was a long running joke that we were the quota students. I don't remember anybody white really talking to me, make eye contact with me or anything. This is in the late 90s, y'all!

I wish I could say I am exaggerating, but I'm not. I really understood during those times why all the black kids sit at the same table in the cafeteria. I didn't graduate...
quote:
Originally posted by EllaBrown:
I grew up in the late 70s / early 80s in Newark, New Jersey. My parents were very Afrocentric, into Malcolm, the Panthers, listened to Nina Simone, Miles, Coltrane, the whole bit, so my younger sister and I always believed that EVERYBODY else shared the same value systems, beliefs, sense of "the struggle"--even white folks!

My late father always bitched and moaned about "dese crackas, you caynt truss em", but for my sister and I, since we never actually saw and interacted with huge numbers of white people (besides our white teachers--who we considered black anyway), we lived in "the bubble" and safety of family. We had no idea.

We were always raised and taught to be proud of who we were and that we were beautiful. And if Daddy says we're beautiful, then nothing else matters.

Every year, when Eyes on the Prize came on channel 13, we were horrified at the treatment of our people, but brushed our shoulders off because that Jim Crow era was like the times of Hannibal and Caesar--such a lonnnnnnnnnnng time ago. We couldn't even IMAGINE slavery! Slavery? Was that mentioned in the Old or New Testament?

My first memories of being different were in college. I went to this Big East coast school and white folks didn't really notice that black people were there. It was like we were invisible, like it was a long running joke that we were the quota students. I don't remember anybody white really talking to me, make eye contact with me or anything. This is in the late 90s, y'all!

I wish I could say I am exaggerating, but I'm not. I really understood during those times why all the black kids sit at the same table in the cafeteria. I didn't graduate...


I wish I could say I am exaggerating, but I'm not. I really understood during those times why all the black kids sit at the same table in the cafeteria. I didn't graduate...
--------------------------------------

Much of your experience mirrors my own. I often lament that my mother did not 'adequately' prepare me for the racism that yet exists; I attended a 'white' college on the west coast, and had experiences that I should write about some day, ie. living in student housing, and having white students, write on the door of one of my mates

(who was playing their music up a bit, but, not unlike the many white students), "turn down the godda---n jungle music blk btch!" We survived that, but, so many more incidents, that, we would often ponder on, just how in the hades, did the enslaved folk, eva, get through that ish? I imagine, in the far off future, if the earth (and black folk are still) is around; future generations of black folk, will look back at us, and wonder how did we get through indiscriminant police shootings, racial profilings, bell curves, that really do'nt curve. : |
What a question!

I've been in what can only be called a "peculiar situation" my entire life. Many others have shared my experience, the experience of "racial ambiguity", the experience of being someone of mixed descent.

I'm half Anglo-Saxon and half-Lebanese. There are others who have this same ethnic make-up who pass for "white" with no questions asked, they simply look white. I am not one of them. I live in the Southwestern United States, and down here, I am automatically assumed Hispanic, Latino, or just most of the time, Mexican.

My first race-based memory goes back to the second grade, when my classmates first brought it to my attention that I was a Mexican, and indirectly decided, the way all majority groups do, that I was going to be treated differently because of it. Of course I had other strikes against me - I was from a working-class family in a predominatley middle class school, and I was more into books and computers than into sports. So all at once, I was the poor kid, the brown kid, and the nerd. There were a few of each of these kinds at my school but I was the only one with the privilge of being all three rolled up into one. It came with consequences.

I came to veiw dark skin (and my skin wasn't even that dark) as a mark of shame. Like all children I had a desperate desire to "fit in", and the way I did that until about the age of 15 or 16 was to express my dislike and even hatred of Mexicans to anyone who would listen. And naturally that hate spread to other groups - blacks, Jews, those poorer than me, those with more money than me, those less intelligent, those more intelligent. I even went through a phase where I admired Nazism and carved swastikas into tree trunks. That is how deep the self-hatred went.

As I got older, and was exposed to more diverse environments (my grade school was very homogenous), a lot of that hatred simmered down into a cool contempt. I hadn't yet let go of my self-loathing but it wasn't possessing me anymore. It was around the age of 16 that I first became acquainted with the theory of evolution and the work of Darwin. Having grown up Catholic and gone to Catholic school it was all new to me. But the more I read and the more I studied, the more I began to realize that the history of the world and the world itself were so much more vast and complicated than my narrow life experiences. I began to study history more, and society more, to ask different questions. Being in a less hostile environment helped. By the time I graduated high school I realized it was not I who should be ashamed; nor was it my old prejuidced class mates. This was a social problem.

And so over the years I became more familiar with socialism and Marxism, and materialist philosophy in general. Race is a social construct, not a biological property. And the working people and those in poverty have far more in common with one another than they do with the people of their "own" race. Race becomes a tool in the hands of the ruling class, used to pry those beneath apart into numerous, warring factions.

There's nothing to psychoanalyze here. I said I was a nerd - I always had an interest in science and theory. When I was finally able to apply it to societ and to my own life, I realized how mistaken I'd been. I once hated Mexicans because I didn't want to be associated with them and treated like them. I now hate the social and economic conditions that make them second-class citizens. I replaced irrational emotionalism with a sound and sober analysis of race, class, ethnicity. I've nothing to be ashamed of because of it.
My first memory was when I lived in my first home.
I was 3 and some black kids were picking on me because I was half white.
So I went down the street then the mexican kids threw rocks at me because they said I was "Inbred white boy". Even when I went to the whites they called me a "Half Sonova Bitch pizza eating Italian."
I always lived with it in that neighborhood I was the Racial Pig to these kids. and They called me Racist.
I cryed that whole 4 years til i moved.
I realized that I was black when I was around 10. There is a skating rink that I frequented when I was younger. I even competed and won prizes during those competitions. Well my mom took up a part time job there in order to help pay for my private lessons so I was there all the time, usually waiting for her to get off so that I could go home.

There were many private parties held at the skating rink and because my mom worked there and I wasn't old enough to drive yet lol I would stay there anyway and usually there wasn't a problem.

Well my luck ran out when there was an all white private party and this middle aged white man walked up to me as I was skating around the concession area. He basically asked me if I realized that I wasn't supposed to be there? I didn't understand how he picked me out out of all the people at the private party until I realized that I must have stuck out like a sore thumb because my skin was significantly darker than everyone elses.

He basically made me feel like I "should have known" that I would get "caught" in a private party because it was "obvious" that I wasn't supposed to be there. I felt so embarrassed.
greetings all

i was taking a look around and became inspired to contribute something.

a lifetime experience of fitting in to a box ( or your skin )

where the ideal is for others to place you according to a visionary, honest, and factual appraisal of your identity, the reality i face is that of placement according to false information and concepts about groups.

so that, i can sit in grade 7 science class (12 years old) and be given this information in preparation for an upcoming trip to washdc...
" you have to be very careful in washington dc because it is 80 percent black."

there was much before that, and much after that, all appearing to me to be related to this :

i know who i am because i know who i am not.
i know i am doing well because i know others who are not doing well.

thus this need to categorize and come up with a heirarchy of peoples ( which changes according to the parameters)

it is so much easier to BE and dump the competition - or just compete with yourself.



? why do you place or define yourself in relation to another (the others)?

my racial experiences are constant as our group identifiers have been learnt and perpetuated through all forms of social communication and living.

so i went on a search for the correct information and resolved to allow no one to define me for me.

i be who i am
and that gives me peace
Many people that I know first race-based memory has to do with them feeling inferior about their race. To me, it was the total opposite. In my home, we were always taught that blacks were superior (this was just as wrong as saying that whites are superior, but I didn't find that out till later lol). Growing up, my family always talked about how blacks were the most talented and if a white person had committed a crime or something, they would always say, "You know white folks is crazy."
By my picture, you can see that I'm very fair-skinned. I grew up in a black neighborhood and always knew "who" i was...though folks couldn't always tell just by looking at me. In the 6th grade (1980ish), one of my classmates had a Christmas party at an elite country club (Durham, NC) where blacks were not yet members. My "boyfriend" (if you really had those in the 6th grade) was Paul and he was brown-skinned---so to those who saw him, there was no question of his race. I was concerned about going to the party b/c I wasn't sure if they'd let Paul in...I did inform the kid having the party that I was bringing Paul and that if he was not allowed in...obviously, I wouldn't go in either (though I could have probably entered without anyone taking a second glance). That was a very stressful night for me b/c I was worried about how the members and workers at the club would respond to us. Luckily (for them!), things went well and a good time was had by all...
Though I was born in the south, I was raised all over the world as an "army Brat". I was a happy ingnorant child and had no recolection that I was different from others. That is, untill at about age 5 or 6 I was as an picked on by a family of asian kids. They were a big family and I was alone (my baby sister was only 1 or 2). They presented a formidible front. They made it clear I was different from them and that I would be continually preyed upon if I did not identify with some group (race). This incident may or may not have been racially motivated (you be the judge), but it made me keenly aware that I wasn't white, asian, latino, native american, nor any of the other people that I had previously encountered. I was BLACK! fro
At thirteen a little hispanic girl, approximatley five or six years old said to me (as I complimented her on how "cute" she was)"don't touch me, I don't want to turn black like you". I blew that off, rationalizing the incident. But, for me reality came while working on the Police Department in Houston. I noticed two old ceramic type water fountains on the main floor of the now old main stations first floor. The water fountains were right next to each other. After months of pondering. I finally asked someone why the two water fountains were right next to each other. The seasoned black male officer told me that the water fountains were that way because at one point one was for the "coloreds" and the other one was for the "whites". I was told that there use to be signs posted. Although the signs were no longer present the holes in the walls where the signs once hung were still there and the reality of segregation hit me. Although having experienced being told by a white police officer that he did not want to ride with be because he did not like blacks and nor did he like female police officers, having a fellow officer show me his Rolex that was given to him by the Klu Klux Klan (for killing black men and earning points), my brother finding a wallet containing an original picture of a black man being hanged (found in the Dallas area) and my seeing the picture..it all just did not "hit" home. Oh..but, when it did hit me. In as much as I, in my feeble "Christian" efforts wanted to beleive that love is the greatest commandment of them all. Cause' that's what my parents taught me.It just ain't so! No matter what one has accomplished in life...to others I am still a "nigger, gal, negra, etc..."
I would guess my first race based experience would be hearing black folks speak negatively about dark skin, using the ˜n' word against each other and referring to light skinned people as soooo pretty, and their whole obsession with "good" hair. My biological mother is very dark complexioned and I recall at maybe four after I attempted to drink some coffee hearing my step father warn me in baby talk that I'd better not drink that black coffee or I would turn as black as my mother. I was really perplexed about what he meant by that. But later on when I understood I really hated him for it. I was to meet other such stupid men who graded me accordingly and didn't think ˜I' was light enough either.

My first experience with whites was probably in the first grade with comments from white girls about what they felt my complexion should look like. Then around the age of nine I wanted to start my own business and sell products in the community. I made the mistake of going to the white section down the street and was yelled at by a white man for disturbing him "while he was trying to rest". Early on I was very artistic and my white teacher was very supportive and often displayed my art. But I was taken aback when she was driving me home one day when she commented on how angry it made her when they first paved the streets in black communities and that it still upset her. But my worse experiences were yet to come. fro
My first race-based memory was that color didn't matter. My brother had white friends and girlfriends to the house all the time when I was young (there's a ten year age difference between us), and I had white friends at school and on the block. I knew that I was the only black person around, but no one ever batted an eye or even seemed to notice.

I was quite positive that race didn't matter until I reached the sixth-grade and moved from Texas to Mississippi.

I'll never forget that classroom. I don't know what type of educational system MS was on, but the teacher taught every subject in the same room from morning until afternoon. I hadn't been in that type of learning environment since the second grade! The class was predominately black with maybe two or three white kids that the teacher (black) absolutely doted on. I mean absolutely.

Soooo, the end of the school year was drawing nigh, and we had to read that one really long story at the end of the reading book. It was a good story and I pretty much zipped through it in two days. I closed my book and asked the teacher for my test. She looked at me in astonishment then anger. " You're not finished with that book! Brandy's not even finished and she's the fastest reader in the class! Stop lying and sit down and finish that story before I send you to the principal's office!"

Brandy was white. And I swear to you, it was then that I finally realized that my teacher didn't like me because I was black, not because I was from Texas.

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