Racism. Racial languages. Systemic injustices and our kids.
When I was a girl growing up in South Carolina, my young sister and I had several friends we would play with at school, through our extra-curricular activities, on our sports teams, and even in our home. Even though we grew up in a predominately African American culture, we were exposed to different people groups. We were taught to love and welcome everybody, so we were not shy about reaching out to folks who were different.
There was an elderly couple who lived in the house behind us, and they had a grandchild who visited regularly. Occasionally, we would play with their granddaughter in their backyard. She was white. We were black. A teenager started lingering around the yard and would sporadically speak to the little girl.
One day, we went into our neighbor’s yard to play with their granddaughter. We noticed the teenager was standing beside her. She was older than all of us, so I didn’t think she would be someone who wanted to play house and make mud pies. But when we entered the yard, the granddaughter looked up at us and said, “We don’t allow niggers to play in our yard.” That was shocking, because we had played in her yard so many times before then. It was shocking because that’s the first, and only time, I had been called the N-word. It was also shocking because I didn’t know how to respond. I just took my sister’s hand, and we returned home to tell our parents this bad news.
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