My mother has four children—one white and three brown. To my white grandmother, we were niggers. I, in particular, was a chubby nigger—an offense, I learned, which greatly aggravated my already punishable-by-shunning crime of being born black. It was, after all, one thing to allow a little nigger girl into your home to sit in silence as you went about the business of teaching your real granddaughter how to be a woman. It was another thing entirely to watch as that little nigger girl ate you out of house and home and then had the gall to cry to her mother about “special treatment” and “injustice” without even bothering to wipe the crumbs—your crumbs—from her greedy black mouth. Indeed, gluttony and blackness, for my grandmother, became an inseparable (and unforgivable) pair.
My grandfather, on the other hand, was incredibly tolerant and countered my experience with my grandmother as much as he could. But when they both eventually passed and my mother inherited their Kansas house—the house whose many white rooms and fixtures had been off-limits during my childhood—it was with pride rather than shame that my father, siblings, and I sank our black feet into the plush white carpets beyond the front room and reclined on the once-banned white sofa to watch Roots together for the first time.
Source: The Atlantic