The New York Timesasked young black men to share their experiences growing up in America. Their responses provide an honest perspective that’s, at times, heart-wrenching.
17-year-old Malik had to deal with anxious stares from his classmates when the “magic word” showed up in Huck Finn.
Miles, 13, was asked by a white friend if they could cross the street because of a group of black guys walking on the sidewalk towards them.
Jumoke has been randomly stopped by police while walking to class.
Coming to terms with racism for Bisa, 17, hasn’t been easy. He says that he walks tall, keeps his head up and tries to be as polite as possible, but has realized that, “the way people perceive you is not up to you.”
Though he’s only 10 years old, Maddox understands that people will have preconceived notions about him. He wants them to know that “I’m perfectly fine and I’m not going to hurt anybody or do anything bad.”
The video ends with the young men holding up photos of their parents and thanking them for their love. Prejudice feels like an inevitability to them, but their support systems have equipped them to deal with life in America.