Blinded grandfather gave granddaughter excellent vision

Nicole, East Lansing, MI. My grandfather was blind all my life. All I knew was that there was an accident. It wasn’t until he passed that I learned that the accident involved a white man. My grandfather was a doorman and was pushed into the glass door. My grandfather never spoke of the incident. I’m [...]

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Being Brown Makes Me Look “Hood”

Victor Vega, Los Angeles, CA. What troubles is on his mind? What’s he hiding from the camera? What’s in his jacket? That’s what I think when I see a picture of mine taken from several years back. If a white person was wearing street attire, one might think he’s cool, trendy, or might not even [...]

Neighbor says, “She doesn’t look black.”

Nicole Smeltekop, East Lansing, MI. At Michele Norris’s talk in East Lansing last night, a woman said this to me as Ms. Norris came on stage. The prevailing assumption that as a white person, white people can comfortably make racial comments they most likely wouldn’t say to anyone other than another “obviously” white person is [...]

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I flourish farming ancient tribal lands

Ed Kaufman, Morris, MN. Another Six words: My grandfather stood witness at Mankato. I enjoyed seeing you at UM Morris a while back (when this would have been timely given the 150th anniversary of the Mankato Debacle) Read More about this post: http://www.nickcolemanmn.com/?p=3124 http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/12/26/minnesota-works-forgiving-not-forgetting-its-native-history-146502 http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/12/22/watch-dakota-38-documentary-remember-those-lost-150-years-ago-146499 http://highwayhighlights.com/2013/04/reconciliation-park-mankato-mn/

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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.

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You two are such good people.

Erin Morris, Tempe, AZ. My husband and I have two sons adopted from S. Korea. When people feel compelled to mention our race difference or the obvious fact that our children are adopted, it is often along the lines of what “good people” we are, or how “lucky” our children are to have been adopted [...]

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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.

Being An African American Feels Powerful

Chelsea Delaney, Baltimore, MD. I have read different race cards that elaborated so much about the downsides of being my race, about being an African American and the disadvantages of it. I do believe that both sides need to be explained, but I want to focus more on the positive. Focus more on how liberating [...]

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Crenchaw climbs Denali realizes King’s dream

James Edward Mills, Madison, WI. Fifty years ago this summer in 1964 Charles Madison Crenchaw became the first African-American to climb to the summit of Mount McKinley, the tallest peak in North America. Also known as Denali this peak represents the highest physical point that anyone can achieve in this country. And as metaphor of [...]

Equality isn’t found using guilt trips

Chris Wehunt, Overland Park, KS. So much focus is put on splitting up races, every time the race card is used in the media you see social media flipping out, looking for cases of white or black people being attacked by the opposite race, then guilt tripping not only mass media, but society as a [...]

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Two Arms, Two Legs, One Head.

Latoya Baerlocher-Turner, Newport News, VA. It’s fun watching people attempt to imagine my face from my name. My first name is notably of African American origin, but my last name tells a different story, so people don’t know what to expect. And it’s always the same vice versa when people who’ve met me, learn my [...]

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Y’all had me scared of US

Dr. Jacqueline Lawrence, Windsor, CA. As a young child, my first memories of blacks in San Francisco were scary, and they weren’t from television. I remember smelling the strong scent of urine in the elevators, hearing moms tell their children to “Get cho ass out of my face” and “Go sit cho ass down” and [...]

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You don’t really look that black.

Linda D. Calvin, Westfield, IN. I am one of five siblings, but I am the only one who is black. My brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces, uncles and aunts are white. After three children and a divorce, my mother met and married a black man in the 60s and had me. I [...]

Why’s it always gotta be racial?

Anna Russell, Mangum, OK. #TheRaceCard is used by government to muddy the REAL ISSUE, the class divisions. When ppl are crammed in the ghettos of the largest cities it breeds contempt. Jobs and parents are scarce. Violence reigns supreme. The majority in the inner cities are black but not all, every color is there and [...]

Am I Hispanic enough to ‘count’?

Alix Sotomayor, Boone, NC. I have always felt suspended between two worlds, since my ethnicity is widely varied (like that of most Americans). I am mostly (~70%) white, of Scots-Irish and English descent, but also have a chunk (25%) of Puerto Rican heritage (the missing ~5% comes from smidges of Native American and German ancestry). [...]

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Why do you have hazel eyes?

Jonscott Williams, Gilbert, AZ. This is the question either asked, or thought but unasked, by people both Black and White. This is connected to the assumption that one of my parents is White … neither is, though an early ancestor was. Some Black people have questioned whether I was “Black enough” … some Whites have [...]

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Two white dads. Three black kids.

Jack Montgomery, Washington, DC. My husband and I got married and adopted three beautiful children on the same day last summer. Happy times! I have learned more since these kids have arrived than I ever new possible. A same-sex parent family with trans racial kids draws a lot of attention both in the big city [...]

Relief, family pride, and then hope

Joy Los Angeles, CA Looking into my family history, at first I found relief at finding no record of slave ownership, even among ancestors in the South. Was it just because they could not afford to buy slaves? But then I found a transcript of a sermon my great-great grandmother’s brother gave at a church [...]

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Just found out I’m a Jew

Larry, Orlando, FL. In closing up my elderly parents’ home, I was given some family news I did not expect from a relative I haven’t kept up with. It seems she did genealogical research and found out my grandmother’s family was deported in 1912 because they were Jewish. They came to America again a few [...]

Racist relatives “mulatto”. Couldn’t tell them.

Tim Brown, Millington, TN. I grew up in a very large Southern white family of absolutely insufferable racists. While researching our family’s genealogy, a cousin of mine found that the US Census listed many of our not-so-distant ancestors as “mulatto”, a term generally reserved to describe people who were half white and half black. We [...]

Yankee child crossed South’s colorline. Paid.

Rebekah Bickford, Baldwin, ME. My white family moved from Indiana to Mississippi in 1977, when I was 8 years old. Our family was seen as “Northern Yankees” and we were not welcomed by many in the white community. The black children were kind to me when I entered school and quickly became my friends. I [...]

Our slave’s daughter sent me an email.

William Kincaid, St. Louis, MO. I use some literary license in choosing the word “daughter”. She is actually the great-great-granddaughter of one of my family’s former slaves, if you want to get technical about it. But a six word statement is no place to get technical. Regardless there are not enough words to express how [...]

Identity is fluid; context is everything.

Zoë McLaughlin, USA. Waiting in line for the Chinatown bus in New York City, a man approached me and began speaking Spanish. I squinted at him and briefly pondered my response. This was not the first time someone has expected me to speak Spanish. As soon as I began making forays out of my predominantly [...]

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Not THAT kind of Black Girl.

Lateefah Torrence, Brooklyn, NY. At the corner bodega, I’m one of those Black Girls who the Middle Eastern owner must watch from his elevated podium behind the bullet-proof glass. On the subway, I’m a Black Girl on WIC who can give Russian ladies directions to the welfare office. In the taxi, I’m the Black Girl [...]

“You can’t change what you find.”

James Edward Harrah, Boonsboro, MD. My Father passed long before I grew interested in our family history. Upon the birth of my son, this was the response from an Aunt when I began tracing my family tree. It’s interesting how something most likely out of convenience and considered scandalous over 130 years ago, represents so [...]

Feeling Conflicted about my family history

Romaine Martin II, Richmond, VA. I Think Ancestry.com is very therapeutic. You can spend hours researching your family’s cold cases. One bit of information I found out left me feeling unsure of how to feel at all. “Green Gore was born, in 1816, the son of Robert Gore (1783 – 1870/1880) and Tomsey Jarrel,(1778 – [...]

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Noir, Schwartze, Negredo – I Am Black

Courtney Jones, Denver, CO. People hide behind the stereotypes, racism, politics, and labels to avoid CONNECTING with others. Are we afraid people have more in common with us than we allow our differences to believe? My pride in my race contributes to my Life & community. It takes nothing from you & we all gain [...]

No One Is Better Than You…

Kim Skillern Samuels, Cleveland Heights, OH. I lived in a neighborhood of black people, and went to an inner city public school. When friends found that I’d be moving to the suburbs they teased me, and said “Those honkeys are gonna chase you home from school.” At the age of six I thought a “honkey” [...]

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Vietnamese is difficult, love is stronger

Tho Nguyen, Greenbelt, MD. Tho is from Vietnam and grew up in Tacoma Amanda is from Oroville, grew up in the Tri-Cities Tho and Amanda met at the Barnes and Noble in the U-Village while Tho was writing his dissertation Tho and Amanda lived in Vietnam for 4 years since 2008 Amanda learned Vietnamese. Tho’s [...]

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We’re black We love the outdoors

James Edward Mills, Madison, WI. On June 24,2013 Adina Scott made a satellite phone dispatch from 17,200 feet on Mount McKinley in Denali National Park. As part of the climbing team Expedition Denali, she and the 18 others had already spent a total of 16 days on the mountain and nearly a week camped at [...]

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Hey Dominicans! You too are black.

Cristina Reyes, Houston, TX. I chose the six words I wish I could go around the streets of Santo Domingo yelling. I have never understood, in all my years, why the Dominican culture steadily continues to deny their “blackness.” Their children aren’t taught to consider themselves “negro” instead they are to consider themselves “indio.” The [...]

I am German, not a Nazi

Peter Alison, Richmond, VA. I come from an Austrian mother and an American father, so when people ask me about my ethnic background I tell them I’m half-Austrian. Throughout middle and high-school this elicited responses asking me if I hated Jewish people, or if I praised Hitler. It was annoying at first, but later it [...]

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Not white, but my kids are?

Rob Silva Oakland, CA First generation with Indo-Dutch/ El Salvadoran heritage. Family has seemingly always been the non-white in the group, especially when listening to the my parents’ stories of assimilation. So strange then when my son was bullied at his new school in Berkeley for being the white kid.

She is just some white girl

Brooke, Richmond, VA. Virginia Commonwealth University Racism goes all sorts of ways. My race shouldn’t define everything about me, and definitely shouldn’t generalize me as a person. My race shouldn’t decide how I get treated in public or how much I get paid. My race should not put me above or below anyone, and it [...]

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White-skinned negro: community of one.

Jada Golden Sherman, Boston, MA. I’m so frustrated with people’s limited understanding and acceptance of genetics, and upbringing. The labels ‘white’ and ‘black’ are over-generalized. Especially when now that we have dark parents having white-looking babies, and white-looking parents having brown babies. Not all white people are…white, nor “white-minded”.My mother’s family is African-American, and many [...]

Nice small town has race issues.

Sara Przybylski Stevens Point, WI People think this is a great place to live, work, and raise kids… and it is. Just under the surface, though, there’s a little more going on. I grew up here. I saw my first African American person at the grocery store at the age of four-ish and loudly complimented [...]

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Adobo Beef Stew Rice Potatoes: Dinner

James Estanislao Herr, Los Angeles, CA. Dad’s side came over in 1717–Swiss-German and Irish with some Danish and Greek thrown in. Mom came over in 1954. Filipino, Spanish and Chinese with I guess some Portuguese somewhere along the way given my middle name. Grew up in an all white community outside Philadelphia. Not sure who [...]