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Control-Z

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Coventry, Ct
Home country: USA
Current location: So California
Member since: Thu Apr 6, 2006, 04:38 AM
Number of posts: 15,514

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Your post made me cry.

I was just 7 years old when I became aware of my own white privilege. My mother had died a few months earlier. From what I remember she was just wonderful - loving and kind to everyone. Even after leaving my father because of violent abuse she still never uttered a negative word about him to my sister or me.

My father was the polar opposite of my mom. A card carrying Bircher who hated my mother's Russian family, calling them commies, and pretty much hating everyone, it seemed, especially people of color.

Up until then I didn't understand much about the people he raged against in the most vulgar of terms. Having lived most of my life up until then in rural Connecticut the only people I really knew were my many family members - cousins, uncles, aunts, and classmates from the same area. Pretty much all lily white.

So after my mom died we ended up in California, alone and away from any family, in my father's care. There were so many sad, despondent, and sometimes terrifying days with him, I remember.

It was back to school time and he took us out to shop for new school clothes. I was a small, skinny, awkward little girl. Small enough to hide under the racks of hanging clothes. There was a little black girl doing the same. Disappearing under the clothes. We played and giggled under those racks. It was like finding a soul mate. I was shocked. All the things my dad had told me.... I never imagined a little girl just like me could be one of the monsters he had raged about.

So here's the rub - thinking I had misunderstood what he had been telling me, I pointed this out to my father. She was just like me. A skinny little girl, with dark skin, happily playing under the racks of clothes with me. Not a monster. Not threatening. Just an awkwardly skinny little girl like me.

I got into a lot of trouble for what I said to him. A lot. Ended up with a fat lip in the store. But all I could think was OMG, OMG, that poor little girl. She did nothing wrong. She was just like me and my father hated her. Others (he tried to convince me) hated her too because her skin was dark. I remember wondering why I was so lucky. Why she wasn't. My life changed that day. I can't even define it completely. But I learned that my father was wrong. So, so wrong.

My heart aches for your dear little girl. Please, hug her for me when you have the chance. Life is just so unfair.

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