49 Comments

  1. I was the first and only black kid at an all-white school many years ago. The school was k-12; i went for three years in high school.
    I am now 40 years old.
    I know their pain, but looking back on my experience, I would not change it now if I could. I came to realize that I was the first and many times the only black person those kids ever and quite possibly would ever interact with at any length, at that time or in the future. I know without a doubt that I changed some kids’ beliefs in how they perceived blacks. I look at my experience as a privilege. It was a lot of weight to carry as a high school student in the late 80’s – early 90’s, but if I made one person question racism and thus changed a personal belief, all the tears I shed in high school were so worth it.
    On the other side, my fellow blacks made my time at the all-white school even more trying. I expected to be treated a certain way at my school, but to be treated poorly by people of the same race, just because I attended an all-white school really hurt. Therefore, yes, I floated between worlds, but not accepted anywhere. I am so thankful for the close friends I had during that time. So close, one is still my BFF til this day. 25+ years and counting….
    It will be interesting to interview these same young people in 20 years.

    • Joel Anthony Ward

      I agree with you I did it in kindergarten in
      the 50’s in Texas and in HS in Columbus, Ga in 1966

    • I too traveled your same road only for me it was k thru 12. Thirteen years! I graduated in 1971 so my experience was during the 60’s. Most fellow students were always good and decent towards me but there were always some who felt the need to remind me of my “place”. In the end, I was happy to graduate and get on with my life away from all the bigotry. Once I was on my own, I think that ultimately, I came to appreciate my upbringing because… it taught me the ability to work with people of any race… And above all, I received the best education money can buy at that all whiteschool. Tha, I would never trade.

    • Me and my daughter experience this in the 1980 thur 1990. The school didnt celebrate or honor MLK holiday. My child was called out of her name. The teachers were racist and unfair. What helped my child to get thur this. I explained to her you belong wherever your parents pay taxes. And if have any remark; or problems with racism let me know. The day of MLK holiday when I sent my daughter to school with books and pictures of MLK home and monument. And she came home and told me that their was no assemble. No education and no recognition of MLK. She was so upset. I first went to her school and spoke with the princple. My question to her was. Don’t you receive state money to educate the child on MLk holiday. Your school is open to educate our children. She said yes. Well my next question why were the children not provided with education on who MILK was and what he represented. My statement was MLK represented equality for all people not just African American. I told her me and my daughter will be her next week for parent teacher conference. I would like my daughter and other children to be educated on MLK. I left the school and called the Board of Education. I asked them the same questions. And told them they have a week to do the same or I will be going to the media. In one week. My daughter stated they had an assemble. They had books. Told story. Put pictues on the wall. I receive a letter of apology to me and my daughter. To say all of this. I as a parent had to protect my child. I had to make sure that other children received their education. My daughter is 27 years of age. Doing excellent. It made her strong. She always tells her story. And she always end it. With Thanking her mom.

  2. I experienced the same thing moxie – never comfortable anywhere. …sad

  3. Why are white people considered the standard for intelligence? They’re not. I wish these kids and their parents had a sense of self awareness of their own ability and used themselves as their own threshold of excellence.

    • true awareness

      Well damn said

    • Exactly. When we stop believing that the white man’s ice is colder, we’ll all be better off.

    • Don’t assume that all Black parents whose children attend all white schools do so because they consider white people as the standards of intelligence. That’s your own projection. Having attended one, and being the only black girl in my class of 700, I was there because a parent had a job offer in the neighborhood. For your information, I have met Black kids who went to all Black schools who suffer from self hatred and internalized racism.

      • Don’t get angry because the truth was spoken and you did not want to hear it. We are all affected by white supremacy. I would not subject !y children to that kind of behavior. Forcing acceptance is not good.

    • Couldn’t have said it better!!!

  4. Growing up one of 3 white kids in an all black school, I had the same experience, except I regularly got picked on and beat up for being the only white kid on my block. I can’t count the number of times I was called on in class, and my answer was almost drowned out by snickers and half-joking half-mutters of “cracker” and “kill whitey”. Teenagers of all ethnicities, classes, religions, etc can be awful and racist. There needs to be a change in American education away from de-emphasizing our differences (which only makes it easier to scapegoat and victimize anyone who can clearly be perceived as different), and towards celebrating difference – no one should be ashamed or afraid because of the color.

    • I agree that ethnicity should not be an issue. Getting educated, needs to be the priority. If all could/would concentrate on why they are there; we’d have more scholars!

      • Greselda Jackson, ethnicity should not matter, but it does. We cant keep turning a blind eye and act like it don’t exist. We( black folk) seem to always have to compromise our children to this behavior trying to get along. It must stop.

    • Lashonda Jones-Moore

      Well said. Goes both ways, except we as black people have suffered generations of indifference and self-depreciation that its a reminder of the same old standatds across color,gender,age, or any other difference between our species. We are all part of MANKIND, bleed and die alike, cant we bring a cultural awareness platform to the Edicayion table to show we all have contributed towarda Mankinds growth.

    • Celebrate difference! Well said, Vladmir!

    • Highly doubt this story. Sorry. I’ve went to both predominantly black in California and predominantly white in Arizona. And never once did the white kids get picked on. I could see if you grew up in a nicer neighborhood and had nicer things than them. Then maybe. But if that were the case I’m sure your parents wouldn’t of had you in an all black school.

  5. Baba Dada Baba Geno

    Why send your children through that BS! I blame the parents for seeking white folk approval & validation!

    • All you have to do is go to schooldigger.com & see the ratings of the schools & you’ll know why…

    • It’s not usually done for them to be the only race in that school. Most people I know this happened to is because they moved and were then in that jurisdiction (I.e. New job, etc.) When most people move they look at 3 things (the house, crime/neighborhood and school rating) if all 3 are good you make the choice to move. Many don’t do a poll to see how many of what race is in a particular school or neighborhood!

    • We lived where we lived because my father was a metallurgy research scientist. Do you know how many black physicists were around in the 50’s and 60’s? He wasn’t looking for valuation from whites! This was simply our situation. I applaud my father for fighting to be able to earn a living doing what he knew he could do and do well. In the end, my family was so much better off than had he never tried.

    • I don’t feel like it’s necessary the BLACK parent’s fault and or them seeking validation from WHITE people! You make yourself sound like a complete idiot. I’m a 22 yr old black woman who was raised in Seattle, Wa. I went to an all white school for all 4 years of high school. Sure I was messed with, but wth I’m not gonna blame my parents for how others were treating me. Honestly being messed with made me realize how strong I really was! I was valedictorian for my class of 2011. A lot of black families don’t really have a lot of choices when it comes to their child’s education with in public schooling.

  6. many if us send our children to predominantly white schools for three reasons: 1-less violence, 2-better opportunities to take advantage of, 3 hands on experience with rascism to prepare them for what they will face when they get out into the world.

    • That is a stereotype to assume that predominately white schools have less violence, better opportunities and hands on experience with racism. Nina, you sound like the type who suffers from self hatred and equates white validation with success. There are plenty of predominately Black schools that have no violence, opportunities and offer hands on experience, and this is coming from a black woman who was the only black girl in her class of over 700 in highschool. Your type is just as worse as the Black people you criticize reinforcing stereotypes with internalized racism.

  7. Try being the only black in 1955 in Duluth, MN! Catholic school.

  8. James Skorpanich

    …Please don’t anyone take this the wrong way, I don’t hate, but I’m old and not very cool or hip [current ???]….I believe the next Barack Obama is already out there, the next Michelle Obama is already out there….We’re all Americans, and, if you can see it this way, all on the SAME TEAM….Rodney King was right to ask “Can’t we all get along ???”….

  9. Everyone experience is quite different . I am a biracial female, Spanish and black. I have a distinctive accent. I went to white school for few years than I went to “minority” school.. I experienced more hardships going to the minority school. The black kids picked on my accent, skincolor and my eyes (I have slanted eyes). The black girls would put gum in my hair and when I tell the teacher, they follow me home and beat me up. Some of the black boys harass me in sexual manner. They will tell me grab me and try to hump me, slap my butt, call me “bitch” and try to force me into oral sex.. On the otherhand, once I start telling the Spanish girls I’m half black, most of them stopped talking to me. They told me in order to hang with them, I must disclaim my black race. High school wasn’t better. Now I attend a “white” college and honesty, I don’t feel an outcaster. Many of the students there are open minded and want to hear about my origin.. Every experience is different. Not every white person is a racist.. Smh. Every race have some group of people who are ignorant.

    • I totally agree!

    • You’re also comparing differences you experienced between school aged children (minority) and adults in college (white). That’s two very different intelligence and maturity levels. I’m not at all trying to downplay your experiences because that truly sounds horrible, but the maturity of these kids has to play just as big, if not a bigger role, than their ethnicities.

  10. maybe I’ve always been a little bit insane or something but, being the only black person in a class never bothered me much, I just showed up, did my work & answered questions if called upon & outside I hung out with my friends, whoever was cool with me I was cool with, no muss, no fuss

  11. Please understand that people of color dont look at white intelligence as the standard. The hegemonic majority looks at white intelligence as the standard. We’ve always known that we are just as diverse in intelligence, beauty,intestinal fortitude and anything else as any other group of people on the planet. It is the narrow minded that believe othetwise.

  12. I do not know why people are so surprised when racism raises it’s ugly head on either side, white people started the whole ugly episode, 400 or more years ago and are so appalled that black people are still angry about equal rights which lead to loss opportunities Hopefully we will get past this before we destroy our future. This will only happen when a wrong is righted and true forgiveness is given.

  13. My kids go to all white and the get good educatoin when they went to mixture they had problems im glad where they at and god looking over them who dare to judge but god ashame

    • Black school aint know different they judge their own race too i went to all white school and i wish i listening to the things they taught me maybe i wouldnt be and the mess that im in no education at 36 now im back in school getting my ged and im the only black this time im going to listen

  14. People have to look at it this way. All black people are not the same. All white people are not the same. We have learned in our lifetime how to have good judgement of character. All whites r not prejudice and all blacks are not ignorant. There is only positive and negative. Positive whites n blacks. And negative whites n blacks. The negatives make it hard for us to come together because their emotions of personal insight take over their judgement of characteristics.

  15. School is school they need the education whatever color school they go to

  16. I go to a all black school so I don’t know why it seems that people get all emotional it don’t matter what you go through. Nothing is bad enough to cry over in school. God has put you here for a reason. Im friends with all the black people in my school with no racism involved. They love me. I am one of them but I don’t have the black skin. Its all about personality

  17. MY 12 YR OLD DAUGHTER IS CURRENTLY ONE OF THE ONLY BLACK GIRLS IN HER SCHOOL AND IT IS HARD FOR HER. SHE IS NOT THERE BECAUSE I FEEL THAT THERE IS A STANDARD THAT SHOULD BE KEPT BASED ON WHITE AMERICANS PRINCIPLES, SHE’S THERE DUE TO MY PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT AND LACK OF OTHER BLACKS IN OUR AREA. I GREW UP BEING THE ONLY BLACK GIRL IN EVERYTHING I DID, IN SPORTS, IN SCHOOL AND NOW AS AN ADULT IN MY CAREER. IT IS A VERY DIFFICULT THING NOT BECAUSE OF INTIMIDATION OR FEELING INFERIOR BUT BECAUSE YOU WANT SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS YOUR CULTURE. IN THE SAME BREATH I HAVE ALSO DEALT WITH BLACK GIRLS THAT ASSUME YOU ARE “TRYING TO ACT WHITE” OR “THINK YOU’RE BETTER THAN” AS IF THEY FEEL LIKE YOU ARE NOT LIKE THEM . YOU GET PICKED ON BY THE BLACK GIRLS BECAUSE YOU DON’T DANCE THE SAME, FIGHT THE SAME, OR WEAR WEAVE AND FROWNED UPON BY THE WHITES BECAUSE YOU DON’T WEAR EXPENSIVE CLOTHING, LAUGH AT THE SAME JOKES, OR BECAUSE YOU LOOK DIFFERENTLY. SAD TRUTH IS THAT IT IS A PREJUDICE WORLD. THERE HAS TO BE A WAY THAT WE CAN MAKE OUR CHILDREN FEEL COMFORTABLE BEING WHO THEY ARE.

  18. Don’t side step the fact even though it’s sad it’s true….Most all black grade school r the worse. Mainly because of troubled kids with little to no respect for education….Unfortunately this problem coexisted for years with desegregation. Remember we were disciplined for even wanting to learn not that long ago in history. …

    • My kids go to a predominant white Schools (elementary & middle), the teacher & staff are so nice, professional and helpful…..All 5 of my kids are doing great with no issues especially racial. ..Both schools blessed us with a great number of gifts for the holidays when we first moved here in Midlothian VA

  19. I grew up in an all white neighborhood and went to an almost all white schools. It was not easy I had seen where are home had been vandalized with kkk written on it in white paint. And I was the only black cheerleader out of 12 girls. It’s not that easy any more it’s getting so divided where whites don’t want blacks attending their children schools or living in their neighborhood.

  20. Im 52 years old now I attended Amundsen high school in chicago on a program called access to excellence.because my great point was 4.0. I was sent me to all white school 1000 students.of the 1000 kids 10 were blacks. 6 girls and 4 boys I graduated from a Catholic school and had never experienced racism to this level until I got in high school. these were some of the most scariest times in my life. to see white people hate a black person so much. even the police called us n******

  21. My parents value education & excellence. That’s why they sent me to private schools. I only thank God that I had to go there 2 years before uni. It was devastating.

    With my own children, I am researching homeschooling, and I’d rather they not go to classy schools but had emotional safety. I believe in shielding them.

    Community is important. I think Black people want to prove their value so much that they sacrifice their families. This is counter productive. And yield dysfunctional robots.

  22. Up in Western Canada in the ’80s, I was either the only black child or one of a few right up to university. The good thing was, as an even younger child, I was in all-black schools in Nigeria and Kenya in the ’70s. Yes, some of these issues are relevant, like the bullying, ostracism and stereotyping that often happens, but both schools made me what I am. The schools in Nigeria and Kenya taught me discipline, respect for authority, and pride in my culture. The schools in Canada taught me a different culture, and different perspectives. I learned from all of them.

    The kids portrayed here seem like really good kids going through some struggle, but they’ll do fine. What is important is the support they get, from family, community, and the friends they make wherever they go to school. What is important is that they succeed, What is important is that they can contribute to their communities to make a better tomorrow.

  23. Crystal Washington

    Blacks who are afraid that being around other races will make them less black are sad. I was the only black in grade school but because I come from a strong black family, they didn’t mess with me. They ignored me and it hurt but I never stopped being black. I never wanted to be white. Now, teaching at an all black and poor school, I know first hand that my education, self esteem and psychological health was saved by attending a school which was conducive to learning.

  24. What people really need to realize is WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME SINKING BOAT…we will sink or float together and if we don’t work together sinking is a guarantee. Though there are many good comments on this thread, there is also name calling, blanket generalizations, and misinterpreted “facts”. We can all start by making generous assumptions of others intentions and experience. Is there room for; maybe that person isn’t an idiot but their experience simply differs from yours…. Jesus! (Go on and come for me, I’m good) Love to you all!

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