People can be freed by law, but how do we emancipate ourselves?
We live with the prejudices we absorb. How old was I when I noticed my nurse Marie was different—one? Not her color, a warm caramel I preferred to our whey faces—but the way Mother treated her. She was in our house to work. She could bathe, dress and feed us, but we were not to kiss her and, if we tried, she pulled away.
How do we emancipate ourselves from bigotry? Leonard Pitts says blackness is like pornography: you can’t find it in our DNA, but we know it when we see it. In New York City, the noted columnist watches empty cabs bypass his waving hand.
We judge a person in 7 seconds.
Short of blinding ourselves, the solution I came up with at 18 still works. Miscegenation—that dread of the South. Mix us until we can’t judge.
In this photograph of newly freed slaves, the mixing (however unwillingly) has begun.