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Toni Morrison, 1931-2019: On the origins of prejudice

We aren’t born prejudiced in the womb but learn to treat strangers differently by example

By Toni Morrison   September 2017

©JIMMY TURRELL/HEART

We still played on the floor, my sister and I, so it must have been 1932 or 1933 when we heard she was coming. Millicent MacTeer, our great-grandmother. An often quoted legend, she was scheduled to visit all of the relatives’ houses in the neighbourhood. She lived in Michigan, a much-sought-after midwife. Her visit to Ohio had been long anticipated because she was regarded as the wise, unquestionable, majestic head of our family. The majesty was clear when something I had never witnessed before happened as she…

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