Internalized racism and dating

On Saturday, he wrote a Facebook post about his experiences being an African-American living in America that has since gone viral and has elicited hundreds of comments from people around the world.

Because of its length, we're publishing excerpts here. The first time I was acutely aware of my Blackness, I was probably 6 or 7 years old.

Former Naperville resident Brian Crooks pens a post about the experiences he's had in Naperville and elsewhere that were overtly or unintentionally racist in an attempt to show what life is really like for people of color.

Editor's note: Brian Crooks moved to Naperville when he was in the 5th grade; his parents still reside here.

"I really didn't set out to write a treatise on black life," said Crooks, whose family moved to Naperville's south side... All the while, I felt the eyes of my fellow students on me. So, having an entire classroom of White kids stare at me while I explained what lynching and Black Codes were was pretty mortifying.•••In 8th grade, I went to a friend's house to jump on his trampoline.

When it came time to read about Jim Crow, it was my turn. We're jumping on the trampoline and the girls come out of their house and come over into his yard.

Within about 5 minutes, they were laughing while saying "Get off our property, Black boy." They were little, and they were laughing, so I don't think they knew how ugly they were being.

Then, he said, "You're a Black kid, but you're pretty cool, you know?

Like, you're not like one of THOSE Black people, you know? The teacher and classmates who assumed, wrongly, that he knew how... The teacher and classmates who assumed, wrongly, that he knew how... There was a kid on the football team who I'd been friends with since middle school. It was flashy and loud, but this was 2002 and everybody with a Japanese car was doing a Vin Diesel impression, so it's not like mine stood out that much more than anyone else's.

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