Shame, Guilt, and Apology—Then and Now

When Did We Learn to Hate Them?

“Keisha Bald Spots!” was the consistent choral offering on Keisha’s brief bus ride to Woolslair Elementary School. The teasing was brutal and regular, but in some ways the daily routine made it easier to adapt to. Keisha’s mama had a penchant for gorgeous, labyrinthine braided hairstyles. Her mother also had the grip of an X-Men character, and by the time Keisha was in third grade the tight braids had ripped her hair right out of her nine-year-old scalp, causing permanent bald spots on both sides of her head, a condition known as traction alopecia. Being different is difficult in a world that tells us there is a normal. Many of us have oriented our entire lives around an ...

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