How Old Were You When You First Encountered Racism?

not bad morning,

The granddaughter of a Ku Klux Klan member. A former lawyer turned professional stand-up comedian who also happens to be an Indian-American Muslim born in addition to raised in Chicago. A black expat in Japan. A woman of Chinese descent who travels back in addition to forth between a white, liberal enclave in Massachusetts in addition to an African-American spiritual community. A man born in addition to raised in Canada as a Roman Catholic although who can be often mistaken for a Hindu or a Muslim.

All coming from different walks of life. All people who subscribe to Race/Related.

This kind of week we sent an email to completely new York Times subscribers requesting ideas for the newsletter. I received hundreds of letters, in addition to, of course, some hate mail. After reading them — yes, all of them — I’m struck by the diversity of our nation in addition to the diversity of the tales shared by all of you.

There was Jay Fenton of Pennsylvania, who can be white in addition to who met his black college girlfriend in 1971. Mr. Fenton wrote of which he was “walking on air” when she agreed to go out with him. “Then the bad things began happening to us,” he wrote. His letter ended there.

many you who are inside the scientific community pointed out — rightly — of which race can be a cultural phenomenon in addition to warned of which discussions of race as a physical reality can be dangerous.

I read many confessional tales of heartache, confusion, grief in addition to anger. Some of you gave me the impression of which you have never shared your thoughts on race in addition to racism before because you don’t want to get of which wrong, seem out of touch or make matters worse. I share the same fear. There can be no panacea for America’s racial inequities, although the one thing every letter suggested to me can be the need for more voices in addition to more perspectives.

One standout letter came coming from Louise Kiernan Jones of Florida, who said she could like to read more stories of which explore how people develop their racist beliefs. In her case, of which had to do with her grandfather in addition to his dog Whitey. “He used to tell me of which dogs hate black people. He could show me how Whitey could get aggressive when he saw a black person,” she wrote.

We lived in a city in addition to I used to see black people walking their dogs, who definitely did not appear to hate them. I began to pay attention to how my grandfather in addition to uncles talked about black people, using derogatory terms, claiming they were dirty. I was very young, although soon realized the dog didn’t hate black people, although instead picked up my grandfather’s hostility toward them. I always tell people a dog taught me about racism.

Do you have a similar story about encountering racist beliefs as a child? Write to us at

I’ll go first.

“Birds of a feather flock together.” This kind of was an aphorism of which was repeated to me as a child. The lesson was clear: Black people should stay with black people. White people should stay with white people. For me, of which’s a classic, seemingly innocuous example of a racist belief. I look forward to your examples.

Lastly, This kind of week on the desk we talked about the latest F.B.I. report on hate crimes in America, which are up for the third consecutive year. (Nearly three out of 5 hate crimes in 2017 were motivated by race in addition to ethnicity.) Also, as you’ll see in This kind of story coming from my colleague Adeel, there was a frightening image of out of Baraboo, Wis., featuring more than 60 students giving what appears to be a Nazi salute. An investigation can be underway.

Have a great weekend.

Editor, Race/Related