Shaun King: I’ve been called the N-word since I was 14, but now those same people want me to be white

Shaun King: I’ve been called the N-word since I was 14, but now those same people want me to be white

The New York Daily News

Shaun King
Atlanta, Georgia

Robin Rayne Nelson

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our policy at the Daily News is to censor most racial pejoratives. We have made an exception in the following column because of the personal and historic context of the subject matter:

For the last 22 years of my life, I’ve been called a nigger. And now they want me to be white.

In 1993, I was a freshman at Woodford County High School in rural Versailles, Ky. On a dozen different occasions, white students brazenly used the slur to my face, put it on notes in my locker, and yelled it from passing vehicles. Occasionally some of my friends and I would build up enough courage to report it. The racist students would deny it. Nothing would happen. Eventually, we just stopped reporting it altogether.

Racist graffiti stayed on the walls and stalls of our high school bathrooms for months at a time without being painted over or scrubbed off. It was so commonplace, that we grew used to it. Sadly, my life in 2015 has resembled 1993, far more than I ever imagined possible. Since speaking out against police brutality over the past year, I have been called a nigger and every variation thereof.

But it never got me down…

…Generally, if you are Asian and white, you are considered Asian. If you are Latino and white, you are considered Latino. If you are black and anything else, you are black. Halle Berry, Alicia Keys, Drake, and President Obama are all seen by the world as being black—even though we all know their story is much more nuanced than that. In fact, the entire world is much more biologically and genetically nuanced than hegemonic power structures will ever concede.

Even though my skin is fair, not once have I considered what it would be like to somehow transform myself into “being white.” I wouldn’t even know where to begin. By the time I was in the seventh grade, I exclusively sat at the “black lunch table,” not as a guest, but as a resident. I’ve been sitting there ever since.

With each year that passed, it was increasingly clear that I wasn’t truly welcomed anywhere else…

Read the entire article here.

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