The White Lie

Sarah Griffith Lund

Growing up in 1980s mid-Missouri, not too far from Ferguson, I learned how to be white.

There was one black boy in my elementary classroom. He was funny, smart, and spoke with a severe slur because of his cerebral palsy that you had to focus on his every word to understand him. He also walked down the hallway and ran on the playground with a limp.

I got to know him because the teacher asked me to spend one-on-one time with him going over our spelling words. We sat in little desks in the hallway, me saying each word aloud and then patiently waiting for him as he slowly, but carefully wrote each letter onto the lined paper.

Then in seventh grade a different black boy, one who I’d been friends with, asked me during science class if I would be his date to the school dance. To me it…

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