Loving me = easier to love you

Makeda Zulu-Gillespie, Minnepolis, MN. “The balance in trying to give your children an open road to follow their dreams and making sure they recognize the dangers signs is HARD. It is a complex conversation already then add the dynamics of faith! I see progress and hope beyond my understanding AND I see the reinforcement institutionalized […]


Enough to make you look pretty

Adrienne Zimiga, Minneapolis, MN. I was born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation my first 12 years. Upon moving from Batesland, SD to Castlewood, SD my caucasian grandmother was concerned that my brothers, sister, and I could face social problems being part Native American (iyeska: mixed blood/race) in an all white community. She told […]

Ex-military, don’t understand my country’s culture.

Alan Hill Minneapolis, MN Why don’t veterans speak of their experience? Because of the culture barriers to understanding. Military veterans don’t yet understand (as a population) that they have a different culture than their country, a separate, distinct, yet invisible, identity. The worst part is they are disconnected from it and therefore unable to express […]


Family matters; race, not at all.

Phyllis Kedl, Little Canada, MN. Ours is a multi-ethnic family. We have fourteen grandkids, only five of whom are ethnically related to us. The rest? Two African American, three Hispanic and four Chinese. We are anything but vanilla, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your project, Michele, may offer our country’s first — […]

I teach. I build relationships with students.

Sarah Brookner Minneapolis, MN I am a white female. I grew up in a wealthy suburb of Minneapolis. My students are mostly Somali, African American and Mexican American. They all have different needs. I care deeply about all of them. Some days are hard for me to connect and relate to their experiences, which are […]


I got all the white genes.

Cayla Olson, Duluth, MN. I have always felt that I had to qualify my racial identity with those six words. I am part native, my mother being Ojibwe and French, and my father being Oneida and Irish. We lived on my mom’s home reservation, and it was never any mystery to me as to what […]

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Don’t speak Spanish to white relatives.

Max Lazzara, Minneapolis, MN. Bilingual when I learned to talk, raised among my father’s Floridian family of Spaniards, Italians, and Cubans, I was just as Hispanic as I was white; but moved by divorce, I joined my mother’s German-Polish Minnesotan family. The message quickly became clear: don’t speak Spanish to white relatives. In a fully […]


Privilege means responsibility to be better.

Morgan Lavandowska Minneapolis, MN As a 21 year old white woman, I have the privilege of being white that gives me power to do what others can’t. Instead of abusing that power, I prefer to try to help bring positive change to the world and, hopefully, help bring equality for all.

Little brown man in white class.

Student Century College, MN As an English language learner, sometimes I feel bad, shy, and ashamed.  I still struggle as everybody moves on.  Every day I am waiting to understand what everybody understands.  By that time I am going to feel I am a big man. See more from the Century Race Card Project conversation: […]

You didn’t tell me he’s black

Katherine F., Minneapolis, MN. I met a woman through professional circles when I was recruiting for a volunteer project. As it happens, she lived near me. We formed committees for this initiative and began talking more socially on the phone. I went over to her house a few times for coffee. One weekend she invited […]


Mexican Irish Girl: agnostic and dry

Joan Socorro Sullivan, Minneapolis, MN. I’m a quarter Mexican and over half Irish, I don’t attend church and I don’t drink. My hair is dark brown, my eyes are blue, I freckle like no one’s business; there’s the black Irish. My hips and bosom refuse to fit in anything smaller than a medium since I […]


Tricia Stewart, Minneapolis, MN. I am bi-racial and I’ve experienced racism from both sides(black and white). You don’t always realize in the moment whether something has an impact on you, whether it be negative or positive; eventually in some form you will feel it. Only you can determine if you’re going to allow it to […]

She gave the eraser back.

Harry Ford, Minneapolis, MN. Race is a difficult subject given the large amount of pain many people of color have experienced related to race within this American landscape. We are people in pain hoping that our contributions will be seen by the others.


Hmong American muaj lub siab tawv

Janes Lee, Minneapolis, MN. I am a Hmong American male, residing in the most Hmong populated state though we are still very unseen. The service our people provided during the Vietnam War, known to the Hmong people as the Secret War, has been invisible to the public eye. How fitting of it for the invisible […]

Not ‘Illegal’ – Human and Deserving Compassion

Tracy Loynachan, Minneapolis, MN. To me, the terms ‘illegal immigrant’ and ‘illegal alien’ are demeaning. These terms are used too frequently, especially when talking about Latinos. Immigration status is not part of the criminal justice system – it’s a separate legal system. While people may be undocumented, they are still people and deserving of compassion. […]

Aku Kodogo

Take away skin bag, spirit lives!

Aku Kadogo, teacher South Korea I am an African American woman from Detroit, MI. I have lived in Australia since 1978. My daughter is African American Australia (Caucasian father). My grand daughter’s father is from Thailand. I am currently living and teaching in S. Korea. I have spent many years with Indigenous people in Australia, […]

Mugged by black teens, trust destroyed.

Alison Blomster Minneapolis, MN I think there are some healthy reasons why stereotypes of black male teens exist. After being mugged by 5 black teenage boys wearing hooded parkas, I can understand the fear that any other person, of any skin color could feel when confronted by a black male teen whose eyes cannot be […]

African-American, no. American whose’s black, yes!

Vanessa Minneapolis, MN I HATE the term African-American. I don’t hold citizenship to any country on the African continent so why do people feel the need to call me that. I’m the descendent of people who were forcible sold and brought to the country, raped, beaten, and denied personhood and their rights. They slaved and […]

“We don’t do ethnic hair here”

Sahra Hassan Minneapolis, MN This was said to me by a hair stylist the minute I walked into a salon. Ironically, my hair was cover so she couldn’t tell what my hair type was but she assumed this based on my skin color. Unconscious actions like these can lead to structural racism in our society.

You’ve got to be carefully taught

Kathleen Z. Minneapolis, MN I enjoyed your talk at the Guthrie so much. I listened to it again yesterday and was disappointed the man from Birmingham who was at the church explosion didn’t get on the edited broadcast! Here are my six words from SOUTH PACIFIC: You’ve got to be carefully taught. Here are the […]

Ashamed that I was completely oblivious

Diana Valentine Minneapolis, MN I am haunted to this day (and I am now 65) that I was so completely clueless about race, civil rights, and justice when I should have known better at age 15 when the March on Washington occurred. I moved from the North to a small town in the South when […]

Why not start at the beginning?

Susan Roedl Minneapolis, MN Like much of the country I’m sad and confused at the Trayvon Martin verdict. How can George Zimmerman claim self defense when he got out of his car to pursue his victim? Why did the trial center on the end of Zimmerman and Martin’s encounter and not the beginning? So much […]

You can raise your daughter white

Nicole Minneapolis, MN As a descendant of Germans and Scandinavians, I am termed WHITE. My daughter is is a strawberry blonde with creamy white skin and blue eyes. Again and again I have been asked how it was possible when her father is an African American. I have heard, “he can’t actually be her father” […]

Being white doesn’t automatically mean racist.

Carstens Smith Minneapolis, MN I quickly learned in the 80s, when my employer mandated attendance on race and diversity, to stay very, very quiet. My comments, questions, and any opinions were met with “Well, you’re white so you don’t understand…” So despite the assumption by some that I am so privileged and racist that I […]

He has a black doctor.

Greg Filice St. Paul, MN I work in a hospital teaching hospital. In my 40 years working in healthcare, I have watched as the population of US physicians has changed from mostly white males to a more multi-ethnic mixture with increasing percentages of women. Patients and families have had interesting, sometimes disturbing, and varied reactions […]

Are you sure you’re not hispanic?

Claudia Noronha Madrigal Mankato, MN These words are one of my earliest memories of living in the U.S. I can’t remember for sure where I was, but I think I was submitting my driver’s license application at the DMV. I don’t remember the woman’s face or her voice. I do remember the tone, dripping with […]

We never saw you as Asian.

Lor Lee Albertville, MN I grew up in Minneapolis, MN and when I moved out to a small rural school district many of my friends suggested that I was just one of the guys. By not seeing my “Asian-ness” were they not validating that part of who I am? I have now worked in the […]

Being white shouldn’t mean being clueless.

Andrew Butz Minneapolis, MN I am white, and grew up not thinking or having to think much about race at all. Made a lot of non-white friends at college and learned a lot about race and privilege, including the reality of thinking about race everyday because you have to. White people are the only group […]

What’s worse: Black Man/White Woman?

KIRSTEN SCHOENLEBER SAINT PAUL, MN As a professional woman, I wonder about the differences between racism and misogyny. I have gone to meetings held at a country club. As I walked down a hall lined with pictures of past leaders, all white men, I wondered which would be more bothersome to them: me joining the […]

Don’t judge books by their covers.

Nancy Hassan Fridley, MN What you see isn’t always what you get according to stereotypes. Someone’s race, or ‘cover’ is just the outside, it doesn’t dictate how a person is or how they act. People are so much more than a cover, they’re a book. They have their own stories and they’re not always what […]

I’d rather be blue- no pink!

Linda Skoglund, Minneapolis, MN The above quote has to do with  a meeting my family had with Ed Solomon several years ago when my daughters were 5 and 3. Ed, as you may know was one of the nicest and gentlest human beings to grace this earth. Sadly, he left us too early but this […]

Easily suspended, can destroy their lives.

Jill Shortreed Maplewood, MN My nephew is half Native American. He was kicked out of school for carrying a box cutter in his pocket that he used at work. There is a zero tolerance policy, so even though he had only a few months left before graduation, he wasn’t just suspended, he was kicked out. […]