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I’m the son of a black father and a white mother. As a child coming up in the 1980s and ’90s, I immersed myself in hip-hop style and culture, excelled at sports, rocked aerodynamic hairstyles, and spoke in the same florid body language that the older brothers at the local black barbershop were fluent in.

I played basketball fiendishly, and on the asphalt, other black players addressed me without thinking as nigga. Once or twice, some white person referred to me (also without thinking) as a nigger. I was black back then, period.

As I’ve gotten older, however, my clothes have started to fit slimmer and my interests have widened. And I can’t help but notice that I’ve become less black to others.

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