quote:
Originally posted by Lord Ms Cinnastasia:
my first memory of feeling differnt was in kindergarten. But not because of being black, becasue my mom was white and the white kids all thought I was adopted. I always thought white kids were stupid cause they couldnt fathem how a black kid could have a white mother. I'm mixed by the way.


This is very similar to my own experiece growing up except I mostly got it from the black kids. I got it from both, but mostly the black kids because that's who I hung with. I can recall my mother coming for one of our spirit days (spirit days are days where you have little fairs, play games, win prizes etc...) and two white teachers asked me flat out if she was my step mom, when i said no they said "oh you must be adopted then." My mom was crushed and I was pissed! Someone asked my sister at school yesterday if she was adopted after they saw our mom.

But my very first race-based memory would have to be in pre-k -1986. I was four years old, but i can still remember it like it was yesterday. I was the only black child in the class, everyone else was white with the exception of my best friend Gloria who was latina.I had a little play boyfriend Chris who was white and we really liked each other. I would go swimming by his house every weekend and the whole nine. One day I went over to swim and his older brother was there he told the boy, "ewwww you getting in the pool with her, she black!" I don't remember how old the brother was i would guess around middle school aged. I never went over again
A baby of Guyana, South America - the people around were mainly black and indians. My mother was one of the closest to whites I was familiar with - she is of mixed race [white and black]. I was called 'dougla' because I look like a child of an east indian and black mix. I knew I was black like most around, naturally.. I also knew that my features were always being questioned. I was told many stories if slaves and the strength of my race... and as long as i can remember - I loved being black - I wear my afro proudly and any white folk who encounters me can sense my pride...
I had always grew up in a middle class black neighborhood. Went to school with the majority of us there being black. When I entered and accelerated high school program I was 1 of 12 black students out of 300 and during my 10th grade year I was amongst the top 10 in the school.During an assembly one of the white boys there called me a big brain nigger. I reacted by punching him in the mouth, but the consequences (expelled)of that showed me that my skin color over shadowed the fact that I was book smart.
My first racist based experience was in second grade. The other girls in my class called me half breed one day, so I went home and asked my mother what they meant. Now, I don't have the hair my mother has, but these kids had seen my mother and my siblings and obviously were curious. In addition, my mother would occassionally send me to school with two braids. My mother being 30% Native American, truly held strong traits.

When she explained all this to me, I suppose I should have felt relieved but I didn't. I felt weird because suddenly I didn't know where I belonged. All the time I thought I was just another black kid, my peers saw me differently. I didn't look like my mother and siblings, exactly "who am I". This is also the title of one of my poems, but for a different reason.

I addressed this issue again with my mother as a teenager, because it still haunted me. She said maybe she should have been more detailed with me earlier, but she didn't think at 7 I would get it. So we had a long talk. At that moment, I felt so proud to be her daughter, so proud of her and my grandparents. I felt so proud to be a woman of many colors, many cultures. I have a wealth of heritage to share with my children and grandbabies.
When I was in the third grade, my european math teacher, Mr. Rich, asked each student (primairly 90 percent Black) to stand up and tell the class what they wanted to be when they grow up. Some said lawyers, teachers, doctors, etc. Mainly professional. That cracker, Mr. Rich, told his Black students that we were not meant to be lawyers, teachers, doctors, etc. He told us we were meant to be janitors, maids, street cleaners, etc. No, not professionals; we were meant to work at menial jobs. I was crushed. I went home and told my parents. My mom went up to the school (along with some other parents) and demanded that Mr. Rich be fired. The principal, also european, told the parents he would speak to Mr. Rich but no action was ever taken. Mr. Rich remained a teacher at the school for a few years more then left for a school in the european segregated neighborhood where he resided.

I expierenced so much racial bias in the military I cannot remembaer each and every detail. Believe me, there were situations where I felt like just going off and (you finish off the rest of what I want to say). The europeans in this country have never lost their pro-slavery attitude towards us. When I meet a Black person who tells me they have never expierenced any racial bias, I know I am talking with either a fool or someone who has been extremely forturnate. Probably the former rather than the latter. Racism always has been and always will be. It will never, ever stop. Once you realize this you are somewhat free, mentally. The other part is you have to get away from the devices that mask racism, allows it to fester and continue to enslave you. Just because you have a good job, a benz, cash in the bank, and live in european heaven, etc., don't be lulled into thinking all is well. Don't assume you've made it because as fast as you got it you can lose it. The wealthy Jews in Germany found that out. And what makes you think you are more accepted in this country than the hated Jews in Germany? Wake up, wake up, wake up.

If I were to continue to tell about my experiences with racism it would take all night into tomorrow and on and on. Racism hurts because if is very unfair, extremely cruel and often times hiden. We, the Black race, would not be in the shape and situation we are in had we been racist. We allowed our kindness to blind us to the trickery of the europeans. They used their bible to take our land. The same dog that bit you bit me (one of Pastor Ray Hagins sayings). We may not have come here together, but we are in the same boat now (this is for some of those west indians and others who don't claim to be Black or Afrikan). Hotep my Beautiful Black Brothers and Sisters, listen to www.wblr.com and learn the truth which will make you free. OLU
I was in the second grade at a SE Washington DC elementary school. We had this primer called" Our Town" The teacher, a white woman, made a comment to the effect that Black people pee on the floors in the bathroom.

I told my step mom and she went to the teacher and laid her out verbally.
I spent my first 11 or so yrs in a city with a majority Black population. My whole world was Black with some Mexicans and Puerto Ricans mixed in (most of whom should've been classified as Spanish speaking Black folks themselves). My only contact with whites were while shopping in certain areas and my 1st grade teacher was white. Other than that, chocolate ruled my life.

Then I was moved to a place where the majority was overwhelmingly white. Where I lived my family was one of maybe 4 Black families. The school I attended held about 15 of us. So going from a Black world to a white one- just on looks alone- was a shock. But after the honeymoon period of say the first month or so, this is when I received my first hand lessons about color.

I was the dangerous Black kid. The trouble maker. Childish disagreements settled by fists in the old neighborhood was usually chalked up to kids being kids. Childish disagreements settled with fists (and sometimes not even fists, but the mouth) in this new world always ended with parents crying foul about their poor little kid being victimized at the hands of an animal.

I had to spend way too much time correcting the kids' rediculous opinions about Black folks. "My dad says..." and "My mom said..." was common. Sometimes to fit in I'd force myself to try to get into groups like New Kids on the Block or watch shows like Beverly Hills 90210. Those things actually endeared me to a few, made absolutely no difference to others, and caused my brain to itch.

Groups made up of a few kids being disruptive in class were always given a group pass, save for the nigger who always has to be singled out. Some kids couldn't wait to try that "nigger" word out on me, which of course always ended with the requisite azz whoopin, which of course always led to a whole 'nother problem. I think the only memory during that time that I look back on and can laugh at is while during one of those fights between myself and a white kid, I could hear a chant from the crowd, "Fight!Fight! Between a nigger and a white!" It's funny to me now, not cuz it was so hilarious and clever, but just because it was so idiotic and, well, childish.

Thank the Lord, I only had to endure that for about a yr and a half before we moved back amongst those who looked more like myself, acted like me, and thought (well a few anyway) like me.
My first memory was when i was in Grade school alot of the kids was questioning my name,even the teacher was questioning my mother what my name means. Then i knew, it started to make sense then from all stares of the little white kids, and them trying rub their skin when i touched them . 17
I became aware of my racial identity at four years of age. That is when my parents became Muslim and joined the Nation of Islam. I didn't have much information but I was aware of the differences in nature and lifestyles of Humans around me. It didn't breed any racism or negative thoughts, just made me observe more.

As I got older, I realized that there was a distinct difference between races and through history, some races had done things to other races that wasn't in their best interest. I had all the reasons in the world to become racist, but I didn't. I still treated Humans based upon their interactions with me.

It wasn't until after years of study and moving down South did I actually ever encounter racism. While in Alabama, I stopped in a small city to ask for directions and a heavy set Euro-American glared at me and matter of factly state, "You must not be from 'round here boy?"

That was by big introduction into obvious racism and subtle racism that was alive in well in many Georgia cities that I have lived in. It was down South that allowed me to go back to my hometown of Chicago and finally see subtle racism but in its "Northern Form" and realize that we have a very serious problem in this country and on this planet.

That was one of the factors that sparked me to write my first book.
My first race based memory? Well it was in '65 or '66 and I wondered if the curl in the back of my hair was as pronounced as much as the curl in the back or Ringo Starr's head. I was convinced that it was. It had not occurred to me that I was 'different' from the people I saw on television.

By the time it did, MLK was dead and we were singing, "Say it Loud" and we were, both Black and proud. No white person ever called me a nigger to my face until I was 18 and in the navy (and oddly enough, that is also the last time in my memory), even then it was a trick.

I had it pretty good as far as that went, I guess.

If it matters, I grew up in all black communities, I attended all black schools. I lived in a comfortable all black world.
I was in the third grade. The nurse lined all of the kids in the hallway and took them in one by one to check each child's hair for lice. My hair was braided at the time. When it was my turn the nurse acted as if she didn't want to touch my hair and called over my teacher. They were standing behind me like I was a science project or something! All of the other kids could see and I felt so bad. After that I begged my mother to perm my hair so I could look like the other kids. It was the first time I felt like I was different.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by MBM:
When did you first become aware of your racial identity? When did realize that you are black and somehow different from others around you? What was the experience?

I was in kindergarten and the only 'colored girl' in the classroom besides the only 'colored boy' and in a northern town with only one public elementary school. The only public school kindergarten teacher for years, an old white lady took her fist and punched me in the back of my head so that it fell forward and hit my painting of the autumn scene. She put me on the outside of classroom involvement such as during games like 'Duck, Duck goose'. I was never chosen as 'Student of the Week' and allowed to erase the board or pass out paper . . . for many years, I became 'invisible', never talked, never looked at myself in the mirror. . . voted the most quiet award in 6th grade. . . Now, I'm angry.
The first time I felt "different" was in (a majority white) preschool. I was minding my business playing with the blocks, building only god knows what, and a little white girl brought herself to my little area and knocked down my creation in the making. I looked to the teacher who was staring in our direction, expecting her to reprimand the girl, but she said nothing. Again I built up my blocks, and again the little white girl came to knock them down. I looked to the white teacher who, again, did nothing. The third time I built my blocks and the little white girl knocked them down, I struck her. The teacher flew over to us, put me in time out for the rest of the day, and snitched on me when my mother came to pick me up. Of course I got a beating when we got home. I felt like I was treated so unfairly.

During nap time at the same school (different day), I had to use the bathroom. I asked the teacher repeatedly for permission, but she refused to grant it. So, I crapped on myself. I couldn't hold it! Another beating for me b/c my parents didn't believe me when I told them I'd asked. I always felt different at that school. I could never place my finger on what it was until later in life. But those were my first tender experiences of discrimination.
i'm so sorry for being so late at posting on this. i know you told me where to go when i first signed in. but with the forth and reunion it kinda slipped my mind. so now...

my first race-based memory was being the only black girl in this daycare on this white college where my mother was the black teacher teaching english on campus. there was this little white boy in the yard playing with me. for some reason i was hit in the eye by a white man. mind you it's in the 70's so prejudices was at high stakes.

well, i ran and told someone but no one helped me or nursed me with a ice pak or medication..nothing! i sat in a corner until my mother was finished teaching a class. when she came to get me and saw my eye and how swollen it was, she demanded to know what happen. they told her and pointed her the man that done it. he boldly told my mother, and i will never forget it, he didn't want no nigger child playing with his son. she called this white man a racist white bastard.

i didn't know what she meant or what that word meant. she never did live long enough to tell me. i learned as i greww up to find out what really happened and and why things were the way they were.

i've also learned as i was growing up to accept me for who i was. i wanted my hair straight like some of the white girls or be skinny like them trying to wear apple bottoms. but couldnt because i was a little too thick. after all those phases thru middle school and high school i gave up trying to be something that i wasnt and start being what i'm supposed to be, a lightskinned brown eye medium height woman. i wouldn't be this way if it weren't for my mother who was a beautiful black cherokee indian woman with beautiful black lips and long thick black hair and thanks to my father who was a medium sized brown skinned curly hair man. i wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them.
I first became aware there being this concept of race when I was about 6. Having grew up in Detroit, I was always surrounded by Blacks and thought it was the norm. However, my dad took me with him to visit one of his friends. Well, he had a little girl named Melissa who was suddenly amazed by me. She touched my face and asked had I always been brown. It completely opened up the dialouge about race and black history once I asked my dad what did she mean.
My FIRST raced based experience was in the 6th grade. A white girl in the bathroom asked me "How much grease do you have to put in your hair everyday?". I was confused. I didn't put grease in my hair everyday and was unaware that she was passing along the stereotypical bullshit her parents were pushing at home.

My most HURTFUL race based experience was a comment made by my BLACK best guy friend when I was about 20. He said "You would be really pretty IF you were light-skinned." Eek
My first race-based memory is from just before I turned 10 years old. At the age of 4, my mother moved us to Detroit so (I assume) I could be near my father. Just before I turned 10 years old, she moved us back to S. Carolina.

As soon as I got to school and opened my mouth, I made instant enemies. All the other black kids started picking on me and saying I was trying to "talk white", and I thought I was better than them, etc. It didn't help that I was a quiet bookworm to boot. Some of these kids would literally walk up to me and start fighting me. I had to defend myself more times than I can count.

By far, I've caught (and still catch) more flack from other blacks than whites or people of other minority groups.
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.
quote:
Originally posted by LadyGadgetFreak:
My first race-based memory is from just before I turned 10 years old. At the age of 4, my mother moved us to Detroit so (I assume) I could be near my father. Just before I turned 10 years old, she moved us back to S. Carolina.

As soon as I got to school and opened my mouth, I made instant enemies. All the other black kids started picking on me and saying I was trying to "talk white", and I thought I was better than them, etc. It didn't help that I was a quiet bookworm to boot. Some of these kids would literally walk up to me and start fighting me. I had to defend myself more times than I can count.

By far, I've caught (and still catch) more flack from other blacks than whites or people of other minority groups.


Hey Lady! This is Lady_Splendid, formerly of Black Voices' Entertainment board. I had similar experiences growing up in DC. I was a bookworm and usually kept to myself, so I got picked on from elementary school through high school. It sucked, but who's got the last laugh now?!
Two most immediate memories (can't remember which came first) -

the little white boy (about five years of age) who was in the ladies fitting room at May's Department store with his mother, watching me trying on pants as his mother was trying on clothes - Looking me up and down, he remarked slowly, emphasizing each syllable as if reciting a lesson, "Black people. Black people come from Afr-i-ca."

or perhaps it was when I was a very young child in the sixties and my mother and I would go to Lewisburg, PA once every few months. When we'd exit the bus and walk into the cofee shop, the white folk would look at us as if we were aliens who'd just exited a space ship.
I was a very gifted child . I was studied by a various doctors . My grandmother was so proud so she put me in a private school. I noticed right away that i was different medium brown skin deep eyes long thick hair that passed my shoulders I was different. I was accepted for the most part until one day I got sick . My dad had to come get me because I was slipping in and out of consciousness. When he got there they wouldnt release me to him . My dad is white and I am not so they were skeptical about releasing him to me. My dad finally just snatched me and took me to the ER where I was given the care I needed and the Child Protective Agents were there to meet him , the school had called them
My parents were deeply (and famously/infamously depending on your perspective) involved in Civil Rights, so I knew early on that I was black and that being black was important (at age 3 I wore a "Free Ronnie somebody" t-shirt with a fist on it and reguarly went on marches). I was born in the East Bay and my family hung around with some big names in civils rights who, for some reason, all congregated out there in the 70s. So our lives were always full, opinionated and (for me) great learning experiences. I'm a lot more mellow than my parents and they are a lot more mellow now about these issues than they were then. It was deep, serious stuff back in the day! With regard to equality and having their voices heard, they were playing for keeps. ek

My first positive race memory was my mom telling me as a young child how beautifully tanned I got when playing on the beach in California (I am a natural chocolate brown at baseline, which became a deep golden chocolate when tanned). To this day, I thank her for those words.

My first negative race memory was driving down the middle of a KKK march in my southern hometown (1977). My mom was a nut, for lack of a better word, that day. She was on her way to an AA civil rights march and the KKK had decided to march in a neighborhood very near the AA civil rights march. My mom had picked up a few kids (there were four of us, aged 5-7yrs) to drive us to the AA march in her VW Beetle car. Well... unfortunately she got lost and was entering the area occupied by the KKK. A police officer stopped our car, told her that she was going the wrong way to get to her AA march, and told her to turn around. Well... in true black power fashion, she called the officer a "pig" and kept driving the way she was going. She turns a corner and the next thing we know is that we are in the middle of the KKK march!!!! Eek Eek Eek

My mom drove straight down the middle of that march, and they all parted like the Red Sea. I don't know how we got through it unscathed, but I thank God in heaven that they didn't bother us. They just looked at her like 17 are you thinking (with children in the car)? Eventually we found our AA march.

I never told my dad about that day. I don't think she did, either. Smile
I remember being ostracized in kindergarten and wondering why this was so. As I lived in a bigoted suburban area with few if any other blacks, this pattern continued until I discovered why it was I could not go out for recess in grades 3 and 4- groups of white kids calling me n'gr surrounding me in circles of 10 or 12 and cowardly shoving me from behind.
I'm light, so I've had them dang near all my life. Most tho, were b/c I don't "look" like the rest of my family. Those I learned to deal with, every one of our generations has a light person in it.
The one that hurt me was the first time I was called the N word. We had moved out into the burbs and this girl called me that. Needless to say, she still is fearful of toilets. LOL I didn't take that too well.
quote:
Originally posted by Yemaya:
Welcome Panther Princess! and ^5 on kicking that trick's @ss! lol

thanks
I'll never forget it, so I know she's still reeling from it. This was back in the day and them white folks tried to have my little self arrested just b/c I broke the toilet bowl with her head. I personally thought since it was a comment only a shithead would make...
My family is white. I grew up white, people call me white- Im white. Well, while looking through my grandparents family trees- I could NOT find anything on my grandmothers mothers side of the family. I kept digging and found that there is a HUGE chance that my grandmother was half black. When I asked my father if its possible that his mother was half black- his reaction was odd. He asked why does it matter and then told me to stop looking into it. Id love to hear any opinions on this-should I keep looking into it? I will either way- but Id like to hear some African American thoughts on the matter.
quote:
Originally posted by jen1313:
My family is white. I grew up white, people call me white- Im white. Well, while looking through my grandparents family trees- I could NOT find anything on my grandmothers mothers side of the family. I kept digging and found that there is a HUGE chance that my grandmother was half black. When I asked my father if its possible that his mother was half black- his reaction was odd. He asked why does it matter and then told me to stop looking into it. Id love to hear any opinions on this-should I keep looking into it? I will either way- but Id like to hear some African American thoughts on the matter.


You can't know where you're going unless you know where you've been. Wink

One should NEVER stop looking for the truth! Smile
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
quote:
Originally posted by jen1313:
My family is white. I grew up white, people call me white- Im white. Well, while looking through my grandparents family trees- I could NOT find anything on my grandmothers mothers side of the family. I kept digging and found that there is a HUGE chance that my grandmother was half black. When I asked my father if its possible that his mother was half black- his reaction was odd. He asked why does it matter and then told me to stop looking into it. Id love to hear any opinions on this-should I keep looking into it? I will either way- but Id like to hear some African American thoughts on the matter.


You can't know where you're going unless you know where you've been. Wink

One should NEVER stop looking for the truth! Smile


Amen to that!

"WIAW!"
quote:
Originally posted by jen1313:
My family is white. I grew up white, people call me white- Im white. Well, while looking through my grandparents family trees- I could NOT find anything on my grandmothers mothers side of the family. I kept digging and found that there is a HUGE chance that my grandmother was half black. When I asked my father if its possible that his mother was half black- his reaction was odd. He asked why does it matter and then told me to stop looking into it. Id love to hear any opinions on this-should I keep looking into it? I will either way- but Id like to hear some African American thoughts on the matter.


Pursue your 'need to know'.

Your decision after you know is always yours.

Knowing does not have to change the way you live your life.

As an example, I found out about four years ago that my paternal grandmother was 'half-European American.

It hasn't changed a thing in the way I live my life.

Nor do I routinely tell anyone.

I certainly do not 'say I'm 'white'.

I don't look it.

Does that mean I'm 'hiding' it.

I don't think so.

Tens of millions of people people hide their African American ancestry.

You decide.

Sometimes knowing helps.


PEACE

Jim Chester
I don't remember having a first raced based memory at all. But I do remember realizing that my hair was different and not as "good" as the hair that is straight or loosley curled. I remember being about 9 and 10 yrs old and seeing on tv the white women with straight hair and wanting my hair to look like that. I used to go in the bathroom and get towels off the rack and wrap them around my head and pretend it's long and silky like the white people I see on tv. You see, I have been getting chemicals in my hair sense I was about 4 or 5 yrs. old. I have went through some terrible times. Everything from all of my hair falling out to having to wear wigs because I had no hair. So I developed a complex about my hair and in turn my self which I sometimes still deal with eventhough I am now natural.
When I was a kid, there was a period of time that was particularly rough for my parents, financially. We had to move to a trailer park for about 6 months. One day, my dad bought me a bottle of bubbles, so I went outside to play with it. Two little white boys around my age saw me playing and came over. I thought they wanted to play with me, but looking back, they probably just had never seen too many black people before.(I don't remember any other black people living there.) I had never been one to turn away someone who wanted to be my friend, so I held the bottle out to the youngest one and asked if he wanted to try it. He grimaced and said, "No, I don't wanna touch that bottle after you. Your hands are so dirty!" I looked down at my palms,confused. I had just washed them. Then, I looked at their hands, and although their hands actually were dirty, I noticed they were still lighter than mine. They just turned and walked away. That's when I realized that I was different. It's a shame that it wasn't until a few years ago that I realized that different doesn't mean inferior.

I'm not sure if I posted here before or not, I only read the first few pages. I always knew I was Black, I remember being excited when someone Black was on TV. Otherwise I grew up in a neighborhood largely populated with Southern Blacks and Jamaicans, so whites and Hispanics were not an issue. I have a friend who grew up in the Spanish side of town and got called names in Spanish, he just thought it was amusing. 

In regards to racism I'm not sure I ever experienced it, I really only like Black folks for the most part and would likely not even notice non- blatant racism. 

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