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October 22, 2008


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As a black woman, now 59 years old, who attended the same high school as Nancy...(actually her locker was right next to mine), I was fortunate to have the same exposure to diverse cultures during my formative years. My junior high years were spent in an environment that was almost exclusively Jewish. During those young years, for the first time in my life, I had teachers who recognized my innate talents and were not deterred by the color of my skin. Because I speak very proper English, I had had rather frequent negative interactions with gangs of black kids who would chase me home from school, prior to my moving into a predominately Jewish neighborhood. All African Americans are racially mixed. My own maiden name is German. My grandfather was half-white.

The most significant thing I learned from this diverse high school experience is that color/ethnic background is not the criteria to judge the quality of the human being you are interacting with. I've known pretty people who were ugly inside. It saddens me that is 2008 this narrow criteria still defines so many. Much of the beauty of the world and its people is lost with such myopic vision.

Great post, Nancy. Thanks for sharing your story -- and yours too, Veronica!

Nancy, thanks for linking to the Coates piece in your Twitter feed—that's how I learned of it.

I grew up in an integrated (but still mostly white) town and school district. Wow, college was weird. Considerably more Asian-Americans than I was accustomed to, but so few African-Americans.

Now my Asian-American husband and I are raising our mixed-race kid in a diverse city neighborhood, and his school is crazy-diverse: African-American, African, Asian-American, Asian, South Asian, Hispanic, white American, European, multiracial, Muslim headcoverings, low-income and relatively affluent kids all learn and play together. I wish all of this country's schoolchildren could have the same experience my son is having.

I have no problem with skin color that Obama brings to the table.

I _do_ have big problems with some of the ideas that he brings though. Not that the other choices are much better.

Of course, with the rock-star fervor and adulation proffered Obama, many see any questioning of policy, motivation, principles and/or execution of ideas as simply being race-based.

That is the sad part of this whole campaign.


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