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A word.

In the fifth graf of “Racism Is Really Bad”, you cite a story about a time your great uncle applied for a home loan, and wasn’t able to receive it because, according to you, the bank didn’t loan money to black people. As you stated, the bank manager even personally came out of his office to tell him “We don’t loan money to your kind.”

Your piece was definitely punctuated well and mostly legible, I’ll give you that. But it falls apart when you center your premise around such a shaky story. Are you certain “your kind” was a reference to race? What evidence do you have to support that? Where’s the proof?

You later state that your great uncle was a farmer, and that he enjoyed reading the newspaper while sitting on the porch. Tell me, since you’re so smart, how do you know that the bank manager didn’t just have an animosity for farmers or readers? Or perhaps even porches?

I know racism exists, I’m not denying that. But you do yourself no favors with these types of race-baiting hysterics.

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Alex

Hello Mr. Young!

I just read “Racism Is Really Bad”, and I have a question to ask you! (If you don’t mind!)

When I was eleven years old, a lovely black family (“The Robinsons”) moved two doors down from us, making them the first black people on our street. They had two adorable chocolate sons, “Ralph” and “Ronald,” and Ronald was close to my age. None of the kids in the neighborhood would play with them, though, and I felt really bad about it. Some days, you’d see Ronald pacing up and down the street, peering into windows with his big brown eyes and sparkling white teeth, hoping that someone would come and toss a football back and forth with him. He even knocked on my door once, and I approached the door, thought about opening it, but instead screamed out “nobody’s home, blackey” hoping to convince him that no one was home. It didn’t work. He just stared at me through the screen door, put his head down, and walked away.

This went on for weeks. Ronald would want to play with us, and we’d ignore him, and he’d go on his porch and cry for hours. Ronald sure had stamina! Once, he even attempted to join a wiffle ball game we were playing in the street, and as soon as he asked, we all dropped our gloves and bats and went into our houses. It was a coordinated effort, and I felt terrible.

A couple months or so after the Robinson’s moved in, a group of neighborhood kids and I robbed and murdered an old man who lived at the top of our cul de sac. (Mr. Conrad, I think his name was.) He had cash and we wanted it so he needed to die. Naturally, we framed Ronald for the crime, and he ended up going to juvenile detention and then prison. His family eventually moved too, after we firebombed their station wagon.

Anyway, long story short, fast forward to the present day. I was browsing Facebook last week, curious about what all the guys from the old neighborhood are doing now, and I found Ronald! He works as some sort of youth pastor or cook or something. He looks great, all things considered. Still has those big brown eyes and that beautiful smile. (And he’s still in the city!)

I’m emailing you because I wanted to know if you think it would be appropriate to friend request him. I still feel terrible about everything that happened, and I’d like to buy him a coffee or maybe just send him my favorite scripture. I’ve read a lot recently about racial microaggressions, and I don’t want to cross any lines. Any advice on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Tom

Damon I’m so fucking tired of White people and being a White person. We are so fucking awful. I hate myself. I hate my white skin and my even whiter than my white skin teeth. I hate milk, white sheets of paper, whiteout, white chalk, white plaster, white turkey meat, ranch dressing, fettuccine alfredo, polar bears, salt shakers, Mentos, iPhone chargers, Norway, and Nicole Kidman. I can’t even eat popcorn or play the piano anymore, because the whiteness on the kernels and the keys infuriate me. Sometimes I look in the mirror in the morning and I just want to peel my skin off like an orange, taking each layer of whiteness off and tossing it in the trash with the rest of the fucking garbage. Actually, since oranges are covered in white pith after you peel them, that analogy doesn’t quite work. I guess bananas and apples and pears don’t either. Shit, have you ever realized how disgustingly white most fruit is when you peel the outer layers off? Goddamn there’s no end to this shit.

Fuck racism, fuck white people, fuck whiteness, and fuck fruit.

Emily

Good afternoon, good sir.

I really enjoyed “Racism Is Really Bad” — your expert deconstruction of racism, race as a social construct instead of the biological certainty it’s believed to be, and privilege; especially how you articulated its historical and present-day connections and interlinkages to all aspects of American life. I never quite understood how it resonates on both a literal and metaphysical level, and your piece really drove that home, contextualizing everything to even the most minute distinctions.

Racism generally and the treatment of displaced Africans specifically is our national disgrace, a shame both literal and existential, and your examination of this sickness was brave, blunt, and necessary. There is no piece of literature existing today that is more pertinent, prescient, and relevant, and am I proud to call you my countryman, my neighbor, and perhaps, if you bestow the honor, my friend.

Also, you’re a nigger.

Best,

Todd

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