A quote from Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark (from this NY Times article) really hit home for me:
He said passages about Obama’s youth in Hawaii had reminded him of his own experience with subtle racism in the affluent, mostly white suburb of Harrington Park, N.J. “You know, what it’s like growing up every single day and having people ask to touch your hair because they’ve never seen hair like that,” Booker said. “To have the entire class laugh and giggle when somebody pronounces ‘Niger’ as ‘nigger.’ The constant bombardment of that kind of thing really affects your spirit, and it’s every single day. Like when people want to come back from a vacation and compare their tan to yours and joke about being black.”
It's like he's talking about MY public school experience.
If you've got twenty minutes, you really should read this article. It's fascinating.