3rd and Elm

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story written from the perspective and account of a young, white male living in a predominantly African-American town; written in correlation and as a free-response to Essay, the White Racial Response...

Submitted: April 27, 2015

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Submitted: April 27, 2015

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   3rd and Elm

I grew up on 3rd and Elm, in what they called the “darkest part of the city.” When I was young, I didn’t understand, and my parents wouldn’t mention it; they would move out of the room, ask me why it mattered, or tell me that the sun shined least here. And my teacher would say that it was off-topic and rude to bring up race, which I didn’t bother to ask about, for fear of getting a letter sent home. My friends. who were all black, thought it offensive to bring it up, and once called me racist. I felt awful for days, even if I didn’t know the meaning. Afterwards, I never brought it up.

One day, I had been walking with my uncle on Shoreline Boulevard, where the market and little shops were. On the street, a person would pass by others lying there; by themselves, with kids and babies, and older folk. Yet the people on the street didn’t change; they were often all black. I didn’t comprehend what I saw, but I felt some pity and some shame whenever I looked at them. That day, I asked my uncle about it. He responded by saying, “Some people succeed, and others don’t. It is entirely dependent on oneself.”

“Do you really believe that, Uncle?” I asked.

“Of course I do. Otherwise, some people might call me a racist.”


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