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7 Miles

I was born in 1950. I was raised in a small town in western Oklahoma. I am caucasian. I have two brief stories.

Growing up I made friends with school-mates, Lonnie and Emmit. They came to my house. Occasionally I went to their house 7 miles away in another town. It took several years before I understood that all of the black kids who attended my school lived 7 miles away because they were black. I was confused.

In college I volunteered for a program in the Roxbury section of Boston that served children with developmental disabilities. I used to take the subway system and walk the final 6 blocks to the program. I did this for several weeks without incident and without ever feeling uncomfortable before my black class mate and fellow volunteer told me that what I was doing was very unsafe because I was white. I was no longer comfortable.