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Wrestling With Stereotypes

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As we shake hands, I can feel the pressure on me. Like a mantra I repeat: Strong grip. Stern expression. Show him you’re serious. The whistle blows, and my mind goes blank. It’s just me and my opponent. As Coach says, if my head is really in the game, I shouldn’t even be able to […]

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The Foundation of Friendship

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The crowd erupted in triumphant noise. Cheers and cries rose from every parent as they saw their child walking into the auditorium, about to graduate Rego Park Elementary School. Unlike my 5th-grade classmates, a feeling of happiness and ecstasy did not rain on me when my name was called.  My parents were not present; they […]

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Coming Home to Harlem

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Names have been changed. It was 6th grade recess, and a couple of girls were complaining about how far away they lived from school. I stared off into space, kicking at the fake grass beneath my feet, hoping they wouldn’t ask me where I lived. To the mostly White, wealthy students at my public school […]

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Of Course I’m Smart Enough

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“OK class, we’re about to transition to community meeting! On my count. One!” announced my 4th grade teacher.   One was the signal to push out your seat from the desk.  “Good job we’re moving with urgency! I like it Morgan State!”  Morgan State was the name of this class; almost every class at Excellence Boys […]

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