"The worst of white folks, I understood, wasn’t some gang of rabid white people in crisp pillowcases and shaved heads. The worst of white folks was a pathetic, powerful “it.” It conveniently forgot that it came to this country on a boat, then reacted violently when anything or anyone suggested it share. The worst of white folks wanted our mamas and grandmas to work themselves sick for a tiny sliver of an American pie it needed to believe it had made from scratch. IT was all at once crazy-making and quick to discipline us for acting crazy. It has an insatiable appetite for virtuoso black performance and routine black suffering. The worst of white folks really believed that the heights of black and brown aspiration should be emulation of itself. White Americans were wholly responsible for the worst of white folks, though they would make sure it never wholly defined them.

I didn’t know a lot as a seventh-grader in Mississippi, and I had far fewer words to describe what I actually knew, but the worst of white folks I knew far too well...It passed through blood."

— Kiese Laymon, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America