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"Break Down the Hate"

I was born in 1995 and raised all my life in South Florida. Personally, being a black man in America, I was always raised with a cynical view about race relations in this country.

It's hard to pinpoint my first encounter with racism, whether it's obvious or implied, because I feel like it affects me all the time. I remember growing up I definitely thought my mom was over exaggerating when she would talk about the struggle black people face in this country, because I would naively assume that racism's a thing of the past, but I think the first time I actually felt like racism is still real in this day and age was at a school event during my freshman year at UNF.

It was called "Break Down The Hate" and the purpose was to bring out prejudices in the open by allowing students to write on a board how they feel about certain groups of people, so that at the end of it all, we would destroy the board and "break down the hate." But ironically, the event really did bring out a lot more hate than I anticipated. This board was filled with hateful words from students such as "I hate niggers," and "I hate black people." The board was right outside my residence hall, and because it was up for a full two weeks to allow for as many opinions as possible, I felt so embarrassed walking past this board to get to class because a lot of people would be looking at me pass by as they read some of the comments. This whole ordeal made me realize that when attending predominately white institutions, black students are bound to encounter racism.