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Reflections on race

Four writers share experiences that shaped their views.

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Editor's note: The so-called beer summit at the White House consists of three men, Cambridge police officer James Crowley, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., and President Obama. But across the nation, Americans are talking about race in ways they haven't in years. We asked three writers – Sara Libby, Daisy Hernández, and Lawrence Harrison – to share experiences in their lives that shaped their views on race. We asked a fourth writer, Michele Bratcher Goodwin, to reflect on their remarks.

Small-town girl enchanted by hip-hop

I didn't have any definitive run-ins or conversations growing up that affected my understanding of race – that probably would have required at least one person of color in my tiny, rural hometown.

Instead, my formulations about race were slowly shaped and crystallized through the beats and breaks of hip-hop music, which enthralled me before I even entered middle school.

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