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Asians challenge the Black-White racial binary.

Jason Fong, Los Angeles, CA. Asian Americans have been in the U.S. for hundreds of years and yet we are routinely excluded from discussions about race relations in America. I’m in the 11th grade and I learn nothing about Asian Americans and our long history in America in my U.S. history class. I don’t think […]

What is replacing racism is scary.

Sheryl Huntsville, AL There are genuinely good people that would discourage racism towards minorities any day, but who unfortunately are extremely ignorant, so their perception of other races are still innacurate and stereotypical. For example, a friend of mine–Black–started working at a law firm. He and his White co-workers were talking about politics one day, […]

Appalachian oppression is a minority issue

Rebekah Epling, Ripley, WV. Appalachian people are treated in this country as second-class citizens. It is perfectly acceptable for mainstream media to characterize Appalachian people in ways that would incite outrage and not be published were it about another minority group. Just because the majority of Appalachian people are white, does not mean it is […]

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Too brown here; too white there.

Rachel Jennings, American Samoa. I am a proud afatasi: half Samoan (Polynesian) and half Southern white. However, whether I’m living in Tennessee or in American Samoa, I’m always in the minority. I’m made fun of for being palagi (white) while in American Samoa, but experience racism in the States because of my non-white skin.

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You’re Invited! You’re not a minority?

Rafael Rosato, Berwyn, PA. This is my college graduation picture from 1988. I received a bachelor of arts degree from an Ivy League University and a short while later was traveling to New York to join a management training program at a prestigious Wall Street Bank. There were 34 of us in that class and […]

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The Asian/Pacific Islander category is very enticing.

Cheryl Mercado Arnedt, West Orange, NJ. My grandmother and her sister — red-headed daughters of NYC cops — both married full Filipino men and were disowned. There was no race in our family – just rice AND potatoes at every meal. My grandfather “Pupa” intentionally didn’t pass down his Asian-ness or his language Tagalog so […]

No black kids in my school

Howard T. Uhal, Mentor, OH. I attended twelve years of public school in the town of Mentor, Ohio, birthplace of President James A. Garfield. To the best of my knowledge, there was not a single black kid in the school system, and perhaps none in the entire town. This was in the 1954-1966 time frame. […]

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Pretty fly for a white guy

Thomas Paine, Santa Barbara, CA. I don’t begrudge being white because I know the advantages it has afforded me. It  just sucks being associated with racist rednecks and boring as hell WASPS. The grass is always greener I suppose.

Young Bearded White Male…ehh

Jedediah Stegman Polk City, IA No cause, no advocate, just white and male. So little to be inspired by, all our models or “heroes” are flawed and not what we were originally led to believe they were. We stay silent, and with our wives we live the middle road life. 2 kids, 2 cats, 2 […]

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America’s Dominant Race is HUMAN Race

Sarah Sanchez, Midvale, UT. I am Hispanic, black and European but you couldn’t tell by looking at me and I am okay with that. I believe that there may always be a larger number of a particular race through out America but that does not make them the majority nor minority. I I feel that […]

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Seen It With My Own Eyes

Elizabeth Swenson, Hacienda Heights, CA. I went to school in NC were it was predominately black & white in2006. My husband and the majority of my friends are Hispanic or Spanish descent. I never really though racism exist coming from LA, CA were its divers. But here I saw people say nasty things, dirty looks, […]

Color Defined, Now Mixing is Fixing

Doug Shipman, Atlanta, GA. The demographic changes seen in the census are at a turning point– race has to change because the categories are rapidly falling with intermarriage, internationalization and the rise of majority-minority in America.

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Whites say Hispanic, Hispanics say White

Renee Lewin Asutin, TX My mother is Mexican-American from the Rio Grande Valley, my father is white from Orange, NJ. I was raised in a home where English was primarily spoken, but Spanish was still commonly heard. As I was growing up I viewed myself primarily as Mexican. I spent most of my time with […]

Anglo interloper newcomer outsider awkward minority

Laurie Mitchell Dunn Taos, NM In my northern NM community, Native Americans have been here for over 1,000 years and Hispanics for 400 years. Anglos are both minorities and relative newcomers (first arriving about 150 years ago). Even native born Anglos aren’t really accepted as “locals”. The Hispanics here have a saying: “Just because your […]

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Mom’s white. Dad’s black. I’m spotted.

William Jones, Reisterstown, MD. It’s Vitiligo. Yes, it’s what Michael Jackson had. It basically means the cells that make skin color stop doing that. All though you can’t see it as well in lighter complections, anyone from any race can develope it, and at the age of about 30, I became one of the 1% […]

Being bilingual is not a disadvantage.

Angie Cruz, Los Angeles, CA. As a person of brown skin color and Latin heritage, I am often spoken to in Spanish by strangers with the assumption that I only speak that language. It can often be demeaning when people assume that because I have a culture different than the “majority”, I am automatically categorized […]

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They told me I couldn’t be Asian

Phil Vongsavang Midland, GA I volunteered to join a faith based prison ministry and was told by the local sheriff’s department that I was not allowed to join as an Asian. Said the deputy “we only do white or black. Do you want to be black today?” After more than a year, including receiving a […]

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Born privileged, living poor. Gained perspective.

Elizabeth Foster, Little Rock, AR. Growing up in a mostly-white suburb of Chicago, I was isolated from cultural and socioeconomic differences. Through my privilege, I was able to travel to countries both more and less affluent than that of my upbringing. Now that I live independently & make much less money than my parents, I […]

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Cut off–that is black America.

Ian Peterkin, Bridgeport, CT. When you think about it, what do you know of the achievements of black Americans other than what you get in February? Virtually everything I’ve learned about black art, literature, culture, and religion, I learned on my own. Cut off from one’s cultural identity, point of origin, and the stories that […]

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But I’m not White… I’m Jewish.

Liza Frolkis, Nevada City, CA. I understand that because modern Jews are descended from multiple populations that ‘Judaism’ is not technically a race. But the truth is that as a student of history and with a serious soft-spot for little things like social justice, the innate right of all human beings to life, liberty and […]

Government, media, businesses all perpetuate race.

Manu Jeffers, Atlanta, GA. AMERICA could effectively end racism easily but its a revenue based immorality. Basically when a group or person loses it becomes another person or groups gain. Marketing, sales, city developers all use those statistics and data samples to determine who and where these people are.

You’re not Dale Evans-Roy Rogers.

Judy Jessick Fresno, CA In the early 70s, agencies turned us down unless we wanted to adopt a son w/mental or physical disability or a minority child. We applied for a multi-racial child. People freely voiced their opinions (we are Caucasian), including the one above that we were not Dale Evans-Roy Rogers who could adopt […]

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Not Mexican, Hispanic, brown, just human

Marco Perez, Oakland, CA. I choose these six words because this is how I feel about the relationship between me and my race. I believe that race shouldn’t even be a thing because we are all humans no matter what. The tone of our skin should not define who we are or who we will […]

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I am not WHITE…

Ryan Lewandowski, Tustin, CA. I may look white, but I am 1/4 Lebanese (Middle Eastern) and 3/4th European (Irish, Polish, and Finnish)… So I don’t eat traditional American foods and I don’t feel entitled because I look white… I am a third generation immigrant! CBU-HIS311

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Never belonging. Puerto Rican or American?

Lorna Hagen, Brooklyn, NY. I am Puerto Rico born New Yorker that moved to the US when I was 12. Somewhere in the plane ride over I lost something – I have no shared childhood experiences with my North American friends (lullabies, games, etc.) and no shared adolescent experiences with my Puerto Rican friends. It […]

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We’re all a minority of one.

Dan Rice, Ames, IA. As a 55 year old white guy in higher eduction I have been part of dozens of diversity awarness workshops. I teach and present on many subjects concerning diversity issues. After 2 dozen year of such activitiy I finally simply portray and live the fact we are all different – with […]

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I’m not colored I’m an American

Ralph Brown (Coach~B :)), Dallas, TX. My six words are in response to these six words: “We don’t allow colored in here” which were said to me on March 19, 1963 by a young female movie ticket clerk at the Majestic Theater in Dallas, Texas. I was attempting to see the world premiere of “How […]

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I’m told to get over it.

Anonymous, Houston, TX. It’s hard being a young “smart” black man, especially in the military. If to good at my job it’s because “we helped you out more because we don’t want you to think we where racists” then if I’m not good at my job its. “Well you know black people are lazy…” Plus […]

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Are you sure you are Hispanic?

Olivia Rose Castillo, Sanger, CA. I am constantly asked if I’m sure of the racial group I belong to because the color of my skin. I am light complected, I’m a lot lighter then most. Doesn’t mean I should be defined by my skin color. All of my are similar in our faces but all […]

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Not a Problem We Can Solve

John Coffman, Rocklin, CA. I used to believe that we all were heading somewhere. As a kid I loved Star Trek: The Next Generation, a TV show about a future where humanity had progressed to a point where all cultural/religious/racial/political/financial/identity barriers had been dissolved and everyone (except for those less “evolved” alien races) was able […]

White minority does exist in America

Gregory, Philadelpha, PA. As a Polish immigrant in America I have been faced with many challenges, but one that has always seemed most challenging and bizarre was issue of being white and being treated by others as a minority. As long as people didn’t hear my accent I would fit in, but once my identity […]

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Wow, so you speak African right?

Yasmin Igal, Seattle, WA. Africa is a huge continent made of 1000s of languages and assuming I speak African because I’m Somali doesn’t makes no sense whats-ever. Born in America and being raised here, children use to ask me that and i thought it was a joke, but sadly it was a legit question for […]

Missed the day racism was taught

Erin, MN. Racism isn’t in our curriculum, it’s not a lesson taught by chalkboards and worksheets. However it is learned. Yes, in school but also at home. It is taught through culture, through actions. This problem cannot be solved by a student’s eraser or a teacher’s pen.

I don’t consider you a Hispanic.

Ruth Santiago, Rochester, NY. A very close long time friend said this to me. I was totally taken off-guard. I asked for an explanation. She stated, “the fact that I came from a home with both parents, parents who loved us, encouraged education, and values”. It actually made me angry to realize that this is […]

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DATING AS A “BLACK” MAN…

NR Jr., Tampa, FL. So as a paid volunteer in the US Armed Forces who has traveled extensively across the world. America has a “big” color issue. I spent 6 years living abroad and coming “home” is the worst thing ever… Let me give you the reader a take into my thus short life of […]

Jewish daycare, Catholic college, Hindu wedding

Charles Hirsch Mount Washington, MA I had the wonderful opportunity to grow up in a multicultural community. I attended daycare sponsored by the Jewish Community Center, was a confirmed member of the Congregational church (United Church of Christ), I chose to enroll at Catholic Saint Michael’s college where I learned about Catholicism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. […]

Being Asian doesn’t mean I’m Chinese

Kay West Jordan, UT I get called Chinese all the time, and I have a lot of Chinese friends, but I am Japanese. Just because I am Asian, does not mean I am Chinese. Just like being Hispanic does not make them all Mexican. Being Caucasian doesn’t mean they are all from England. Every culture […]

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Who’s directing? It’s HER? No Way!!

Lorna Green, Altadenam, CA. I am an independent filmmaker, a writer-director, African American, and a woman. This combination confuses some people; it makes no sense to them because most directors are white guys. Granted, I selected a profession that relegates me to invisibility, but what’s interesting is the day-to-day reality of this. Working with new […]

I’m black, but not “African American”

Danya Granado Aurora, CO If you must place me in a racial category, then call me black. And no, I’m not offended when you say it. My family is from Trinidad and Tobago. I was born in England. I have a Hispanic last name. I get a lot of questions. Culturally, I feel as though […]

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School integration enriched my white life.

Cynthia Waszak Geary, Baltimore, MD. I grew up in Durham, NC and attended Hillside High School as part of the first court ordered desegregation plan to achieve racial balance. I am heart broken that since that time there has been a steady and deliberate re-segregation of schools in the US. I am hoping for leadership […]

Becoming American, it is not easy

Sandra Castañeda Anaheim, CA I have spent 42 of my 44 years in this country and it doesn’t make an ounce of difference, I’m still treated differently. My head says I’m American my heart says I’m Colombian, because that’s where I’m accepted.

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Brother played Cowboy, never the Indian.

Bonni Hamilton, Eliot, ME. I grew up with two Native American siblings who my parents adopted when we were very small. When he was young, my Lakota brother always wanted to be the cowboy in Cowboys and Indians. He knew from personal experience the Indians always lost. The memory still breaks my heart.

Dark Skins, Darker Lives, Ever Brightening

Maurice Baynard Philadelphia, PA I attempted to take a broad swipe that encompasses my own experiences, both good and bad, as a person of color and those of my family and friends. This Haiku like verse reminds me (in miniature) of Dr. King’s famous moral arc…long, but bending towards better.

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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, […]

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Who is your daughter’s father?

Itoko Richardson, Daly City, CA. I am Japanese and my husband is Black (he extremely dislikes to be called African-American). Our experience alone was interesting and filled with many racist, stereotype encounters and reactions. But my experience with my daughter is interesting. When I and my daughter are out, I can feel strangers’ wonder of […]

Son, indignant: I have the right to be!

Joann MO Submitted via NPR’s Talk of the Nation My six words are actually two, six word conversations between a black father and son about avoiding certain areas of town: Son, indignant: I have the right to be! Father: Yes, just not “be” over there. Naively thought we had settled this.

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Light skinned Irish-Mexican, Ain’t Confused.

Steven Jacob Alvarez, Orange, CA. I’m about 85% Mexican, and 15% Irish. Throughout my early life, I always considered myself purely Mexican. It wasn’t until after finding out my Great Grandma was from Ireland that i began to think differently. Now I understood why I was lighter skinned, and why I had to rebuff claims […]

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Black is beautiful. LOOK AT US!

Robin Massengale, Washington, DC. This country was founded on a profound falsity the vestiges of which remain today. That falsity? That whites are superior and blacks inferior, and therefore, slaves, second class, exiles. But look at us!!!! LOOK AT US!!!! LOOK AT WHAT WE HAVE DONE FROM WHENCE WE COME! Not only do we matter, […]

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Well, why NOT talk about race?

Lucy Pipkin, Minneapolis, MN. My own white discomfort is much less painful than continuous microaggressions and real racism faced by my fellow undergrad students who are POC. Let’s talk, and not stop until they feel safe again. We’re all different but need to come together in our communities, as shown by my photo of this […]

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Where are you from? No, really.

Sunil Yapa, New York, NY. I’m biracial and grew up in rural Pennsylvania. The question where are you from has always hounded and haunted me. I’m from the US. I’m from Sri Lanka. The only two places in the world where they are certain I don’t belong.

Art in the face of racism

Christopher McBride New York City, NY Brooklyn Seeing that exhibit really brought about a strong reaction emotionally from myself. As a musician, seeing the visual art side of things was really powerful.

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I hate hearing “The neighborhood changed.”

Glenny Brock , Birmingham, Al. Submitted via Twitter: @glennybrock   Always code. In fact, most of the people I’ve heard say this were people who themselves CHANGED neighborhoods by leaving.     Glenny’s 6Word essay launched an interesting exchange via Twitter, follow along below…How do you weigh in on the topic?  Comment below. I hate […]

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Why do you talk so proper?

Cameron McCall, Fontana, CA. The reason I choose these six words is because I don’t like how I am stereotyped to be un-educated and ghetto. I am a proud African American male in college and I am proud of the proper english that I use.

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Your husband’s black? But you’re Asian.

Nina Ball, Baltimore, MD. When people first meet my husband and/or see a picture of us together, the surprise is obvious. I’ve had a few people outright tell me that they just assumed he was Korean. More often than not, I get the question, “What do your parents think?” When they find out that, like […]

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Apparently, I’m Jesus, or a terrorist.

John Abraham, Grand Rapids, MI. Thanks to my Italian and Lebanese heritage, I am blessed to say I have a fairly full beard and curly brown hair. However, these two attributes have granted me two common nicknames: “Jesus” or “Terrorist”. I suppose I look like many modern-day depictions of Jesus and when I’m referred to […]

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Unintentional racist trying to be anti-racist

Eric Peterson, San Francisco, CA. If I tell people I’m white and I’m racist, they might picture someone dressed in white sheets and a pointed hat or donning swastika tattoos. Most white people wouldn’t assume I’m racist based on my behavior and my interactions with people of color, but I know it’s in there. I […]

White colleagues discuss racism without us.

Michelle, Rochester, NY. My liberal white colleagues have long conversations about the problems with racism in American. They have interesting ideas about solutions to the problem, but they rarely listen to the brown people in the room. Is this a white savior problem?

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Married a white girl, now what??

Kyle Lim, Grand Rapids, MI. As a biracial individual, I learned early-on how to de-emphasize certain aspects of my racial identity depending on who I was around. When I met my wife Claire, we were both attending a predominantly white private college and although she knew that I was mixed, her experiences with me have […]

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Brown skin, speaks spanish, ethinically white

Marie Recine, Mountain View, CA. When I’m with Latinos, people think I’m Mexican. When I’m with whites, people think I’m white or mixed. When I’m alone people have no idea. When I carry an Korean baby, people look down their noses. I’ve been by people that my English is “actually pretty good.” I’ve been told […]

Thank you for pointing that out.

Lani Broederlow, Salt Lake City, UT. I am Polynesian. I have been told that my appearance does not reflect my last name. It is of Dutch descent and the funny thing is, it’s not even my last name; it’s my husband’s. It’s strange how we tend to sort each other into categories and labels. I […]

Left Crying in the Bathroom Floor

Charlie, USA. I brought my car in for an oil change (in the predominantly black area I live in) and they told me that it’d be an hour before they could get to it. ‘No big deal,’ I though, ‘There’s a shopping center across the street.’ As I made my way down the sidewalk, a […]

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So, how did your parents meet?

Alexander Chee, Submitted via Twitter: @alexanderchee #theracecardproject                   Portrait of My Father by: Alexander Chee REPOST from granta.com His drink was Crown Royal, his candy bar, a Baby Ruth, though he didn’t like chocolate much. He was good at poker, loved reading Tolstoy. His suits were bespoke. […]

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Born in the U.S., NOT Mexican

Rachel Guerrero, Menifee, CA. I was born and raised in Southern California. My mother was born in Mexico and my father was born here. I have always considered myself Mexican and when I met my husband he said that I was not Mexican because I was not born in Mexico. He was born in Mexico […]

What country does my family represent?

Chevelloni El, Newark, DE. My daughter attends a multicultural festival at her school each year where students share their experiences, cultures and history. She wants to tell about our history an cultures but I would be embarrassed to set up a table that says that we are African Americans- Africa is a whole darn continent. […]