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Made up as a white person, Brian got a job as a bartender. One day at work, he asked a white patron to describe the neighborhood. "This is one of the last somewhat unaffected bastions of middle class, Caucasian America," the man replied. "They don't want a lot of migration because they've seen what's happened in the peripheral communities, and it's taken the quality of life down."

Brian says he was surprised by the turn the conversation took. "Inside, I'm just getting sick," says Brian. "But, hey, I have to do this. This is what I'm here for. This is what I want to find out. I want to be a fly on the wall."

On another occasion, Brian says he learned a big lesson when he went to an all-white country club. While shopping for golf shoes at the club's pro-shop, Brian says he was amazed by the great service he received as a white man. Brian says that for the first time in his life, a shoe salesman placed his foot into the shoe. "Is this what the white guys get?" Brian wonders. "Is this all the benefits they get?"

Brian says that when he returned to the store in his own skin, a different salesman was "nice" but he was handed his shoe. He says the presence of the camera crews may have influenced their behavior. "I will be the first to say that with cameras there, people do take different perspectives on things," says Brian.
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FROM: Trading Races
Published on February 16, 2006

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