I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

why could white folks not be "people"?

I need to know why
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Mia recalls that, as a young child, she did not think white people were "really real". She thought they looked too odd, "Whitefolks couldn’t be people because their feet were too small, their skin too white and see-throughy, and they didn’t walk the way people did – they walked on their heels like horses."