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Poor Wandita she looks very “Indian”

Wanda Luna, Canada. Wanda Luna. 41 years old. Mestiza, Chilean born. When I was 4 while playing with my little brother I over heard my aunt say to my mom how bad she felt that I looked indigenous. Many in Chile still favor those with lighter skin and will self identify as white.

From love to fear, a foreigner’s view on racism.

David Chen, New York, NY. I grew up in China listening to artists like 50 cent, Tupac, Snoop dogg (lion), and Jay-Z. I have every one of Jay-Z’s songs memorized and for a Chinese kid, that wasn’t easy. For as long as I can remember, I was fascinated by African American (is this the politically […]

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I’m actually from the United States

Katherine Ellis, American Fork, UT. I stood alone by the playground, kicking pebbles. Someone approached me and I glanced up eagerly, hoping for a friend. “Are you Chinese?” the girl spat at me. “No,” I mumbled. “I’m half Hmong.” “Monk? What’s that?” She looked at me like I should be bald and humming in an […]

I didn’t know english, but learned.

Phillip T., Elk Grove, CA. Prior to going to school I didn’t know a lick of English. My parents spoke to me either in Cantonese or Vietnamese, but when I enter kindergarten I learned English for the first time. I don’t remember much of kindergarten, I don’t even remember her name. I was in E.S.L […]

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Mark Brandfass. Pittsburgh, PA. In the summer of ’63 my family had just moved to Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. My father was a salesman for Westinghouse Electric and we moved as his work demanded. I would be entering the diocesan Catholic seminary the next year, my brothers and sisters attended the local Catholic schools. I don’t […]

Oh…you don’t sound Japanese-American.

Lyndon Narita, Novato, CA. After assisting a customer over the phone, they commented that my name, Lyndon, was a nice and uncommon name. They asked if my family was originally from Europe. When I explained that I’m Japanese-American…well, you know what they said. I still don’t know what a typical Japanese-American is supposed to sound […]

I am always the Black bestfriend

Roslyn Jefferson, Albany, NY. I grew up in a majority white city, so this was the story of my life! When younger, didn’t know how to address racial issues or topics, when they popped up, with my white friends. Thank goodness I feel comfortable with that now!

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You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself

Lauren Russell, Springfield, MO. Words my babysitter told me when I was 7 years old. I remember–she sat me down one day, studied me for a moment and then spoke cold and low, “I found out about your real father and I know he isn’t white. You should be ashamed of yourself and ashamed of […]

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Dating: I’m too dark for him?!

Anonymous, Northampton, MA. He’s a white European, and has never considered black women to be attractive, apparently until he met me and we got to know each other. Since he is curious about interracial relationships, he’s often on youtube watching videos on black and white couples/babies/marriages. Yesterday, he proudly told me that he watched an […]

Wash your hands. Brown is dirty.

Michelle C-H Dorchester , MA When I was a little kid, in the 70’s, My family was the only black folks most of the people around us had ever seen. Everyday in my elementary school I got some ignorant comment. “Are you brown cuz you eat brown bread?” and the like. The worst was from […]

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She’s not my maid, I’m hers

Mara Floyd Fort Myers, FL Doris* and my mother have been best friends for over 40 years. Both teachers with their masters’ degrees, the two women from neighboring cities met at an educational conference. They were as different as could be. One was married, one was divorced. One owned a house, the other lived in […]

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Yo soy Tejano, not “White Washed”

Christopher A Hernández, Corpus Christi, TX. Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Texas, you can always smell the sea; after all: it’s practically in your backyard. But there’s also something else that is constantly in the air that one may not be able to smell, but it’s just as pungent: Stereotypes. I come from […]

Uto-Aztecan Soul trapped within a Whitina.

Sarah Lucero-Prestidge, Seattle, WA. On Location: Seattle Community Colleges FYI: I have donated my DNA to the NatGenome Project, and found that I am roughly 30% N Euro, 30% Mediterranean and 20% AmerIndan, and 10% East&West Asian and 10% African. Before I knew this, I had always felt like people accepted me for being White […]

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Your fear is not my fault.

Lawrence Dortch, Vienna, VA. I’m tired of smiling all the time to alleviate other people’s fears of me. I am not a monster and I shouldn’t have to dress a certain way or smile when I don’t feel like it to make white people feel comfortable.

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I’m white and pay the price

Jim Zeirke, Sussex, WI. I’ve faced more overt racism than most blacks. While much of black racism is discreet, I’ve been told to my face that I’m not getting opportunities because I’m white. In the mid-1970’s I applied for a job and when went to the job interview a guy came out and told all […]

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Speak Spanish Poorly? Then Don’t Speak.

Robb Pérez, San Clemente, CA. My mother didn’t speak Spanish to us when we were growing up in the Bronx, but I took enough Spanish in school to develop a decent accent. By now, however, I have what could be considered a six-year-old child’s vocabulary. Hence, it’s easier to tell people that I don’t speak […]

She is more American than me.

Judy Goffena Boogman Billings, MT When I was young there was a girl adopted possibly by a couple in my small hometown in Montana. She was Native American and her “parents” were not. Matter of fact the whole town was not. She seemed angry and out of place. One day I was waiting on the […]

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Mom said I never saw color.

Corrine Ferrell-Macatee, Baltimore, MD. Me, bad bangs, my best friend, little girl with braids, my cousin, cute little Japanese girl. My nana and sister are here too, it wasn’t til I was in my early teens I even realized we weren’t all white, black or Japanese.

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Oh, so you speak Russian, right?

Sonja Racquel Bradley, Flagler Beach, FL. When I was a child, I confess that I hated my name. Of all the ‘s’ names my parents could have picked, why this one? Why not Sabrina, or Sasha? At the very least, they could have utilized the “normal, American” way of spelling it: Sonia or Sonya. But […]

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Speak Spanish? You don’t look “Mexican.”

Kristiane Valenza, Vicksburg, MS. After moving to rural Mississippi from New York to teach Spanish at the high school level, I’m frequently met with confusion as to how I have an “ethnic” name and can teach Spanish, but I have fair skin and European features. When people ask me, “Are you from Vicksburg?” they really […]

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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 […]

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White dad, black son, daily frontiers.

Rick Kraske Las Vegas, NV We adopted our son Joshua as an infant. His mom, also white and I, later divorced. He is now 12 and his understanding of race in America is now growing at a rapid pace as he is reminded of the manner in which he is treated with us and away […]

Scared that we are not enough

Tanya, Manakin Sabot, VA. My (adopted) son is biracial, his bio-father is unknown. I will never be able to connect him with his biological African American family. There is a void that I will never be able to fill for him . This breaks my heart as his mama.

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The sky is not the limit

Barnstorming Elizabeth “Bessie” Colman was the first African American to get an international pilots license at a time when women were not supposed to – men would routinely sabotage their aircraft – What really grounded her was that being black meant Bessie was turned away by any American flight school she applied to.

A white body, a black soul

Lauren Johnston Denver, CO I may fit under the common-white-girl stereotype but I love black history and music. A lot of my friends are black and I find inspiration in Hip-Hop culture, and music. Whenever I’m singing Jazz and R&B, I feel it in my soul. No other genre of music does that to me….

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Little bit of everything and everywhere

Ashlee Johnston, Ladera Ranch, CA. People tell me they thought that I am White but once I tell them about my Asian/Hawaiian/Spanish/Canadian…. background they say they can tell. I am proud to be so many things from all over the world.

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Not you, you’re from the Caribbean

Johanne Rahaman, Miami, FL. I am half black, half Indian, from the Trinidad, with an obvious Caribbean accent, and while I enjoy adding my bit to the diversity of America, it’s also a curse, because I have often in the past heard people make derogatory comments about African-Americans in my presence. They have referred to […]

My name tells a great story.

Lise (rhymes with ‘please’), Austin, TX. My 6-word essay was originally “What kind of name is that?”– a question (both the polite and impolite versions) I’m regularly asked. My answer is something like this: “Well, my last name is Indian (yes, like from India)–sort of. My father’s family is from India, but the name changed […]

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Colorblind is still blind! Open eyes.

Amandilo Cuzan Chicago, IL Knowledge is power. Beyond the emotion we all benefit from studying the real history of race in America and the world. Too often we shy away from the realities of the European slave economy, Reconstruction, Eugenics, Jim Crow, and the current Prison-Industrial-Complex. Blind is blind no matter how you look at […]

Such power in words and action

Alyssa Cartee New York City, NY Queens Every word and every action in life has such extreme consequences. The Civil Rights movement reminds me that the choice to make your words and actions negative or positive prove who you are as a person

Rulership does not belong to man

Megonon New York City, NY History has proved that mankind cannot under any circumstances good/bad..rule each other fairly..there will always be prejudices/favoritism/biases..thats the common psychcology of man…they need a higher power

To belong everywhere and nowhere simultaneously

Amanda Baran, Arlington, VA. “No, I’m not Mexican. Nope, not Latino. I’m an American who’s half Syrian and half Indian. Well actually, my father’s former nationality was Syrian. His parents were refugees from Turkey who were expelled during the Armenian genocide. No, they weren’t Armenian, they were Christians who were forced out and into Syria […]

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People assume my daughter is adopted.

Rebecca Schwarzlose, Roayl Oak, MI. I am white and my husband is Indian. My daughter has my husband’s complexion. When we are together as a family people assume that she’s mixed but when I’m out with my daughter alone (which is most of the time) everyone assumes that she’s adopted. People ask me where she’s […]

I am grace, power and inextinguishable

Ryan Brooke Taylor, New York City, NY. Collected from: WITNESS: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties at The Brooklyn Museum My experience as a black male artist is directly related to the sacrifices and gains made by those who participated, in any and every way in the civil rights movement. They have made me […]

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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.

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I am more than 3/5ths person

Lynell, Nashville, TN. “We live in a system that espouses merit, equality, and a level playing field, but exalts those with wealth, power, and celebrity, however gained.” ― Derrick A. Bell, Ethical Ambition: Living a Life of Meaning and Worth

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Let me walk in your shoes

Renee Poselski, Riverside, CA. So Cal – Atlanta – Hawaii – Russia: No matter where I have lived, my heart yearns to connect and understand. Writing this, I am hesitating because I don’t want you to think that I can’t understand because I am white. My whiteness is a wall between you and me. I […]

Don’t Classify Sports for a Race

Jaer Medina, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI Tennis has been considered a “white” people sport the same as how soccer is a “Mexican” sport. Another stereotype would be if I said all black people are good at basketball. My friend has told me why are you playing tennis? Mexicans don’t play […]

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I’ll experience this, hopefully they don’t.

Takiyah L., Oakland, CA. If all it takes for me is to take on the burdens of intersectionality, just so my brother and sister, and future generations of Black and Brown youth will not have to experience that, then I am all down for the cause. I would not want them to endure such things, […]

Even a poor conversation beats silence.

Nicholas Howe, Northhampton, MA. Smith College I attended a mixed-race suburban public high school in Connecticut, where I competed on both the swim team and the track team in the late 80’s. Only one member of the swim team was African American, and his race was the elephant in the room that nobody would talk […]

“But you have to play soccer”

Joanna Pedraza, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. There are a lot of people who ask me if I play soccer, and I do. But when I say I don’t play soccer they usually say “But you’re Mexican you have to play soccer” and I don’t like that, just because i’m Mexican […]

Science isn’t convinced race even exists.

Ann Sz, Aurora, IL. Check out the realities of race, in an article like – it describes race as a “weak surrogate” for a variety of genetic and non-genetic factors, from the perspective of medicine and genetics. Or this from distinguished anthropologist Alan R. Templeton: – who finds no defensible biological evidence for human races. […]

Tall girl plays piano not basketball.

Dianna Hamden, CT I realize that height isn’t necessarily race, but it’s a preconception that I’ve dealt with my entire life. Yes, I’m over 6 feet tall. No, I don’t play basketball. After years of the same answer, I finally learned to respond: “No, I play piano–there’s less running involved.”

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No real difference… know real difference

John Everett, Miami, FL. same difference~ it should be more about who i am than what i am, agree? see, i could survive being you but could you exist being me? i’m hated and shunned just for my skins’ hue no matter what i say it doesn’t matter what i do but you lie in […]

Tattoos and piercings don’t equal trashy.

Megan, Keithville, LA. People always call me and my family trashy because we have tattoos and I have piercings as well. People should be able to express themselves in whatever way they want to, whether it be by tattoos and piercings or anything other. Be you 🙂

Life in the borderlands is painful.

Kaller, Portland, OR. Native American grandfather, Quaker grandmother, their child was my mother. Black stepfather, biracial brother, adopted Latina child, all Chinese grade school, segregation, race riots, the battle for Civil Rights…who are “my people?”

No, I’m “really” from New York.

Kate Lee van Loveren, Ann Arbor, MI. I was born in New York, grew up in New York, and live in New York (when I’m not at school). I’m of half Chinese and half Dutch descent, but for some people that registers into me not being American for some reason. Just by looking at me, […]

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I LOVE THE SKIN I’M IN

Athena White, Chicago, IL. Embrace the power of love for it has no color. Teach others that lack this purity and watch how well it blossoms. “Love” speak it, mean it, live it…nourish one another by erasing racism, hate and terrorism within our own country against one another and we shall unite as one.

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Jim Crow Paper Genocide Native AmerIndians

Paper Genocide, Pinnacle, NC. Pictured: Monacan Indian Children at Recess How Jim Crow Practiced Paper Genocide Against Native American Indians. Jim Crow laws were a set of oppressive laws that reclassified Native American Indians into the category of Colored. Jim Crow reached their greatest influence during the decades of 1910, 1920, and 1930. Among them […]

Deep-seated racism persists in divided city.

Jack Kiehl, St. Louis, MO. I live in a city that is significantly divided between blacks and whites. The division and living in such homogenous communities is one of the strongest reasons why racism, both subtle and overt, continue today. This project inspired a deep look into this issue and was the inspiration for an […]

Mexican Until Death Does Me Apart

Anaisa Sanchez, Riverside, CA. Ever since I was a little girl, my mom made sure I knew about all the Mexican Traditions within our culture. Of course growing up Mexican you always listen to everything your respectful elders comment on. However, as I’ve gotten older, I question everything that crosses my path. For example, there […]

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Hey Boy, you don’t act Black

Anthony Strong, Pheonix, AZ. Being mixed, half black and half Cuban, my life has been a hurricane of racial confusion, offenses, and frustration. I was raised in a predominately African-American area and then moved into a primarily white suburb by my mother. I have had a chance to look at things from all angles. One […]

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Slave trader descendent attempts healing words

Lyn Franklin Hoyt, Nashville, TN. I’m on a search, a journey for words, to figure out how my family heritage can be used for good to heal atrocities, rather than become a memory of evil. Not to hide that evil, but face it head on as recognition slavery was wrong and to talk about what […]

Sensitivity doesn’t make you less proud.

Bill Dunn Wichita, KS As a white male with almost exclusively conservative Southern roots going back many generations, I am proud of my ancestral heritage. This pride is not diminished by my awareness of and sensitivity to the experiences and feelings of others with a different racial background. In fact, the ability of many in […]

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We matter because of our SOULS

Briah Stokes, Baltimore, MD. My race nor sexuality should be an excuse to judge me. At the end of the day, our souls are our substance, our physical beings are just vessels that give our souls a home.

We experience, we teach, we grow.

Eli Russell, Austin, TX. As a writer, these six words are something I’ve said before. I lend it here to hopefully add to the growing conversation, to close the divide in the races, to open racist minds and to unite all Americans, all people across the world in peace. It is up to each generation […]

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We are not what we were

Kellianne Murtha, Chesapeake, VA. Times have changed, people have changed so why is “race” still thought to be an ongoing problem? We are no longer who our ancestors were and we no longer believe all of which they did. Race should not be a problem and should not be a deciding factor for things, such […]

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I didn’t ask for this privilege.

Rebecca Whiting, Northport, AL. I thought very deeply about what I wanted to use to best express myself for this card. With my personal experience, I do know the benefits of white privilege, and what access that gives me to various different facets of our American society. I do not say this to make other […]

What am I supposed to say?

Zack Ritchie, Boulder, CO. I am a white male. Race doesn’t play a very important role in my life. I go through my daily activities without having to think about how people view the color of my skin. My uncle, however, is African American. His children, my cousins, have dark skin. Because of that, race […]

Why Pull Out The Race Card?

James Laquindanum, Eastvale, CA. Don’t do it! Be intelligent and show some class. Happens quite often to me, especially when having random heated discussions about sports & politics. More often online, folks tend to feel comfortable talking smack behind their smart devices. I don’t use the card, even when it’s used on me because I […]

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I’m not just a white girl

Madison, Laguna Niguel, CA. People usually assume I’m white because that is the color of my skin and I have red hair. My paternal grandmother is first generation Sicilian. My father has dark Italian skin and my mother has light skin. My paternal grandmother has red hair and passed it on to me, so no […]

No Heroes for Poor, White Males

Francis Lafayette, NC. Much like modern Germans, lower class white males in America have been granted a shame about their past. We’ve been told the History we learn in school is Eurocentric, but as a former social studies teacher, I can tell you that most Americans cannot tell you who Louis IV was. Or John […]

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Can we talk about white culture?

Jennifer Campbell, Chaska, MN. Growing up in suburban Minneapolis I never had to talk about my skin color or rarely meet others of a different color. As an adult I am a special education teacher who works in a suburban school. I’ve been on a journey trying to be more aware of diversity. I joined […]

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Exotic for a black girl

Jasmin Fortune, Temecula, CA. I am a multiracial girl who has bullied for the way I looked from K-12. I have been hated because girls thought their boyfriends liked me. I would be threatened to get jumped because they thought I thought of myself as better than them. Black girls never liked me because I […]

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Disappointed in myself and my country

Miranda Nogaki, Burien, WA. I’m sad and shamed it took me so long to see the racism in myself and my country. It’s so much a part of my thought processes, my brain now feels wrong. I’m eager to do the hard work of learning to listen, how to drop my agenda and expectations of […]