I think the difference, which you have not acknowledged and possibly don’t believe, is that the trauma is not coming from “a white person” but from a constant undercurrent of white supremacy that exists in America, and if I had lived under something like that my entire life, I certainly COULD see being wary of anyone with white skin. How do you know who to trust? The closest experience I can even tangentially compare is growing up female in a society that high fives guys for sleeping around and beats women down for the same thing. A society that when a woman is raped assumes she must have asked for it somehow. A society where women are verbally or physically assaulted for ignoring advances from strange men. And then that society wonders why women are afraid to walk alone down the street at night…

anyway, we may do best to agree to disagree here. Which is not a big deal; I don’t have the expectation of universal agreement with my personal beliefs. And when I read articles like the one we’re discussing here, they do sting. They do raise my hackles in defense because they feel personal. And I try to remember how goddamned patient every black person I’ve ever known has been with me and my ignorance about their history and experiences. They’ve been dealing with people intentionally excluding or harassing them because of the color of their skin on the regular for their entire lives, to one extent or another. So what if it wasn’t me doing the excluding or harassing? It has to be EXHAUSTING. I figure they’ve pretty much got the right to feel the way they feel about it. I don’t know where you live, but where I was born and lived for the first decade of my life, people didn’t even try to hide their racism. It was blatant. It was horrifying, and it embarrassed the hell out of me even as a little kid. I watched my black friends be refused entrance into corner shops, and have rocks thrown at them, and be threatened, have their hair made fun of…LITTLE KIDS! That’s how they started out in life, and that was the 1970s. Those kids are in their 40s now; they have quietly endured these indignities their whole lives. And here we are just getting the tip of their iceberg and we’re so quick to point out every little upset it causes us. How many hundreds or thousands of times do you suppose they didn’t say anything at all? At some point, something’s got to give.

I know. You didn’t do these things.

And you get to feel however you want to about it.

I’m just trying to offer another perspective. It’s not even my perspective; I’m just trying to see things from a point of view other than my own, and to respect that place of vulnerability that exists in hopes of helping it to heal.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.

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