The thing about Jim Crow laws, Sylvia, is that their effects have lingered. Even though the laws are gone, the way people grow up has not necessarily changed.

Yes, we do learn that segregation is wrong and that racism is wrong, and we come to believe it. That has changed.

But so many little things don’t change. So many customs and habits and ways of living that came about because of Jim Crow remain entrenched, and people don’t even think about it.

Children, obviously, are very impressionable. They grow up soaking up the values they are surrounded by.

Fighting racism is a long, hard, generational game, because so white many people don’t even recognize the racism that surrounds them and becomes part of them.

So your experiment is valuable. It would be interesting to see a similar experiment about how people live today, trying to let white people in the United States see the contemporary Black experience through a different lens.

I once wrote a story about growing up racist. The Jim Crow laws were gone, but Jim Crow attitudes were not gone, as they are not gone entirely today.

This is what I wrote, and I only link it because I believe it has relevance to what you’re thinking about. I hope you don’t mind.

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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