Brenda Ling, Casper, WY. I’ve lived in Wyoming four years now and no one has said this to me – knock on wood. Though someone tried to give me an order at a Chinese restaurant in Casper while I was waiting for my food. Some sales clerk in Wal-Mart in St. Cloud, Minnesota, said those […]
Josephine Kim, Campbridge, MA. When it comes to race, we need our eyes to hear and our ears to see.
Ashley Cooper Hair, Washington,DC. Georgetown Day School In the town where I went to high school, the privilege I felt was one of class. There were almost no people of color. Living in Washington, DC, I feel my white privilege constantly. Not only am I not followed around Best Buy, my shopping bags are never […]
Madge Walls, Wilsonville, OR. After a lifetime in Hawaii, I now live on Oregon. As much as I love Hawaii, I enjoy the novelty of being in the racial majority for the first time in my life.
Henderson Smith III, St Louis, MO. I told this lady in Cinn, Ohio after she grab her purse when she looked and saw me walking down the supermarket aisle. I explain to her that I was an Logistics Engineer at GE Aircraft Engines and a Captain in the Air National Guard.
Stephen Levitas, Bethesda, MD. Georgetown Day School This is what we are up against. It is what must be dissolved.
Lauralee Coady, Washington, DC. Georgetown Day School In the gym, step forward if you are white, back if you are black. A diversity lesson, well intended. Alas, one best friend forward, the other back. In public. One raged for the other who took it in stride.
Raquel Saunders, New York, NY. My dad is half black and my mom is white, when look at me you only really see the white. But I am a quarter black, and when I say that people look at me like I just gave them a lie. It pisses me off. Don’t judge me on […]
Annie Greenberger, New York, NY. Georgetown Day School I realize that I have the choice whether to engage in this project, I have the choice not make a statement, I can decide if it is important to me and the is my white privilege.
Anonymous, Georgetown Day School.
Laura Abercrombie, Mulberry, FL. I am a 27 year old biracial (mother black, father Russian and Romanian Jewish descent) woman. I was born and raised in NY, transplanted to rural Fl when I was a teen. I am also one of Jehovah’s witnesses. Basically, I’m very used to being on the fringes, the “token”, the […]
Judith A Harper, Pikesville, MD. Years ago our family integrated a Predominantly Jewish neighborhood in New Haven, Connecticut. I am African-American. While walking our German shepherd, I was approached by an elderly woman who asked if she could ask a ‘personal’ question. It was the question submitted. For a moment, I was speechless, but then […]
Siobhan Osborne, Little Rock, AR.
Marlott Rhodes, St. Louis, MO. Watch out America, this upcoming Wilson trial will be a tinderbox.
Kevin Ramos, Lakeland, FL. Why does everyone think I’m Mexican?
Hector Vargas, Grand Rapids, MI. I grew up on the east coast. The high school I attended was primarily populated by minorities. My mother is Mexican and my biological father is Brazilian. My mother remarried and i was raised with Mexican customs. On the East cost I was considered Latino, in the mid west I […]
Angel Walker, Hayward, CA.
David Clark, Sacramento, CA. This reflects my hope that the conversation is elevated beyond race to realize the truth that we are all one.
Anne Tobin, Normal, IL. Ever since I was thirteen, I’ve had to deal with the flack of my hair color. After South Park aired their “Ginger” episode, I hear ginger jokes every day at least once. When I enter a room or when I try and talk. “Shut up, Ginger.” “No one cares ’cause you’re […]
Wayne Larson, Lafayette, OR.
Brandon Sparks. Seattle, WA. Diversity always comes at the expense of white people…celebrate homogeneity.
Tom Woodworth, Chicago, IL. I was never a bigot (I would like to claim), but a disturbing epiphany came when I realized my troubled personal relations were much my fault, due to my blaming it on “how those people are,” overgeneralizations I just had, just absorbed somehow, somewhere, and never been caused to question before.
Jennifer Shawgo, Sausalito, CA.
Nancy Sale. Pleasant Hill, CA. During my career as a public school teacher this statement (which I made up) was written on a paper banner by my students and hung on the wall of every one of my classrooms for years – I still have the banner even though I am now retired.
Submitted via Twitter: @josephedison
Renee Bracey Sherman. Oakland, CA. “Can I touch your hair?” they ask, hand already extended, a mere inch from my thick brown curls. I feel invaded. Living as a biracial woman isn’t the easiest thing in the world. People come up to me with an inquisitively tilted head and say “What are you?” If I […]
Vicki Meek, Dallas, TX. As a child of civil/human rights activists, I’ve spent my life fighting for social justice. I must admit, I never expected to see an African American head our country and was elated when President Obama won the 2008 Presidential election. But I am a realist and so I knew this supposed […]
Sheila Islam, Oakland, CA. You do not win a prize if you get it right. People hardly ever guess it right and thats not exactly the problem. The problem is, that when people do this, I feel objectified. I feel like my physical appearance is being ripped from me and being judged. I am so […]
Gwyn, Chicago, IL. My Dad was born in Japan to a Caucasian Father and a Japanese mother. He moved to America with his father and siblings and unfortunately had to leave his mother behind. He no longer speaks Japanese, but he still holds his heritage very dear to him, placing various objects from Japan around […]
Jasmine VanExel, Northampton, MA. Smith College
Tanya Rao, Shrewsbury, MA.
Gina Barclay, USA. People are aware that Japanese Americans were placed in internment camps during WWII. What most do not know is that German Americans were interned in both WWI and WWII. Considering that Germans are of European descent, it can’t be because of racism. It was because Germany was hated and feared as an […]
Kayla Bernier-Sontag, Brattleboro, VT. Smith College I’m a student at Smith College and my six word story is about my observations in social justice education–the intersectionalities of class and race make it hard to explain the importance of white privilege.
Travis Abercrombie, Submitted via Twitter: @Trabercrombie, #RaceCardProject
Thomas M. Lenz. Weston, MA. I was the white kid in Providence. I stayed in my 4th grade class where I was happy. The Black kids were forced to come to unfamiliar territory and join us, and their neighborhood was closed. No wonder they became angry at the White world. Who wouldn’t be?
Liz Pryor, Northampton, MA. Smith College. My mother was white. So was her whole family. After my husband, who is white, proposed, my grandmother cornered my cousin and asked “Does he know about Elizabeth?” My cousin asked back, “Does he know what?” and my grandmother answered, “That she’s Black.”
Amy Hartgrove, Kansas City, MO.
S. Dews, Northampton, MA. Smith College, Otelia Cromwell Day 2014
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 […]
Livia Messenger, Northhampton, MA. Smith College Before I told you my grandmother was from Japan, I wasn’t Asian to you. I’m white. I don’t speak Japanese. I’ve never been to Japan, worn a kimono, or even met my Japanese relatives. I flunked out of calculus – but I suppose my “white side” was holding the […]
Jessica, Taunton, MA. Being Black in America means that you constantly have to change and work on yourself in order to please the dominant group in society (Whites). Its about making them feel comfortable and at ease even if that means rejecting your culture, traditions, ancestry, and basically everything that makes you who you are […]
Annie Berman, Northhampton, MA. Smith College This is what it means to be a good ally. It is not POC’s job to be the only ones constantly asserting that their lives matter. Silence can be a powerful tool of resistance and empowerment, but not when white people who think race does not concern them choose […]
Marcellus Hendricks, San Antonio, TX. My friend in high school said “you talk proper” I said “and?” He said “you’re black” So that told me, that what? I’m supposed to talk Ingorant because I’m mixed with black? No, excuse me for having an open vocabulary.
Alia Suleiman, Northhampton, MA. Smith College Thank you, so so much, for speaking at Smith College.
Victoria True, Bethesda, MD. 15 years of my Miscegenated marriage have come and gone. I married a man who is beyond color blind. Case in point, I came by his place 1 month before we were getting married, and joked there are xxx,xx1 inter-racial couples in the US, and on June 12th there will be […]
Brandon Attala, Grand Rapids, MI. ‘Race’ is just a way to classify ourselves on a more individual level. In actuality, we are all made up of 99.9% of the same DNA, and I think that should take priority over the color of our skin or our place of birth or ancestry.
David Conti, Grand Rapids, MI. What makes being half Mexican and half white so much more difficult is that I look 100℅ white. Half my family thinks of me as the white boy on the wrong side of the border and the other half sees me as the half breed, a blemish on their otherwise […]
Tn Nguyen, Grand Rapids, MI.
Danyahel Norris, Houston, TX. When I have a conversation about race or racism with someone white, I tend to get a few common responses. One being the fact that they weren’t even alive for things like slavery and Jim Crow, so they shouldn’t be blamed for it (not that I ever did). Another is the […]
Rosa Friedman, Philadelphia, PA. My grandparents came to this country as children of Jewish families from eastern Europe. In order to become accepted as part of the racial elite and gain access to white privilege, they had to leave behind the things that distinguished them, their culture, language, and values. Now there is a hole […]
Kira Henstenburg, Washington, DC. Mixed race Russian-Kazakh. Adopted. I’m not considered “asian enough” to be invited to anime conventions. I’m not comfortable taking a strong stance on race in class discussions because I’m considered white. I’m told I “look a lot like my father.” If I say I was born in Russia, people assume my […]
Casey Barnes, Kansas City, MO.
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 […]
Jennifer Herndon, Kansas City, MO.
Lauren Hazelrigg, Kansas City, MO.
Renee Chapman, Colbert, WA. I have seen race used as an excuse for bad behavior or saying something is happening to someone because they are Mexican, Asian, and Black etc. I had a personal experience with it when neighbors aggressive Rottweiler killed my 6 mo. old puppy, police were called and neighbor was really angry. […]
Abdu Osman, Grand Rapids. Folks, you better judge me by my deeds rather than by my fate over which I have no control whatsoever.
Tessa D, Chicopee, MA. As a young child, we moved from a mostly black neighborhood to a nearly all white suburb. The background music of my life changed. There really wasn’t any background music anymore. The neighbor kids who came to visit were no longer just the neighbor kids. Judgement and difference took on meaning, […]
Gabriela Swain, Ionia, MI. I was raised in a predominantly White/Hispanic town in mid-Michigan. What few colored people that did live in my zip code I never interacted with because they were locked up in one of our correctional facilities. After going to a community college in Grand Rapids I had to face a lot […]
Mickey Lee Morris, Joplin, MO. When one realizes that the Love of GOD is to be equally shared by every Human Being, Then we will all be raised to a higher level and none are left behind. -Mic
Lora-Ellen McKinney, Renton, WA. I am not my color, though I am in some ways what my color represents in America. I am, by this definition, an African American first because this what people see. I also identify with African American history, culture, family structure and faith practices. But alone in my house where I […]
Sam Henry, Ashville, NC. As a white male Social Studies teacher I always have a difficult time teaching slavery. From what I know about my family tree I don’t have any family members that owned slaves but that is hardly the point. It is a shameful period in our history but one worth studying. I […]
David Brady, Portland, OR. Travel to see new cultures and experiences? I do. But, we can experience the richness of culture here if we look past appearance. Listen, let others’ stories speak.
Sherry Buss, Bethlehem, PA.
Daniel Sconce, Wenatchee, WA. Imagine you are blind and visiting another country. Imagine you don’t know the language and have none of the currency. Would race matter? What would you do with your judgments and assumptions?
Alison Bailey, Bloomington, IL. Yes. I’ve been able to find out who my 3d greatgrandmother is until recently. She was the bastard child of Joseph C. Van Mater, or “Big Joe,” as he was called. The Van Mater family were early settlers in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Big Joe was the largest slave holder north […]
John Leo, Sag Harbor, NY. This may be redundant since the release of and discussion about Twelve Years a Slave, but for many years I’ve seen and heard people complain about bosses and working conditions and I’ve empathized. But I’ve also reflected on how these modern days woes compare to SLAVERY. Being the property of […]
Margaret Lin, Houston, TX. Although ethnically Asian, I stick out like a sore thumb in Asia. When I visited China last summer, my mother told me that everyone there could tell I wasn’t raised in China. Perhaps it was the way I dressed, or my heavy accent when I attempted speaking Chinese, or how my […]
Christina Guirguis, Manhattan Beach, CA.
Christine Mitchell, Reading, PA. I’m a black woman married to a white man but still, imagine my surprise in the delivery room when my baby came out white. Not “white” like black babies are often very light skinned until their color comes in, but white. They put our bracelets on so our babies wouldn’t get […]
Clara Krumin, Seattle, WA.
Ziba USA When people find out I am from Iran, they ask me questions such as do you wear Burka in Iran? Or did you have an arranged marriage? When I explain to them that 60% of university students are women and we do not wear Burka, they give me a puzzled look. Many times […]
Darcia Schweitzer, Columbus, WI. When I feel guilt related to the white privilege I experience, I sometimes wonder if the only way to truly eliminate that guilt would be to have a different racial identity other than white.
Shahab John Sharify, Seattle, WA. Those six words sum up what I am thinking at that precise moment when I’ve told someone, who is curious about my ethnic background, that “I’m Iranian.”
Tom Bowie, La Plata, MD. Asia for the Asians, Africa for the Africans, White Countries for Everybody! Everybody says there is This RACE Problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY White Country and only into White Countries. The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as […]
Joe Fricke Greenwood, IN My mother’s Great-Grandfather fought for the 121st Illinois Volunteers in the Civil War, was shot and killed in action against the Confederates near Resaca, Georgia. He is buried in an unmarked battlefield grave. I guess he gave his all for the cause too.
Chinna Ford, Vallejo, CA. It’s hard work being the token. You must learn to lighten the mood with an acceptable race joke every so often. When slavery is mentioned in classrooms you must ignore the peering eyes of your classmates. You must, sing, dance and excel at sports because in the words of my white […]
Matt Gilbert, Penfield, NY.
Brianne Hittenberger, USA. It is the end of me, and I of it. My German last name belongs to me, my disabled brother, and my female second-cousin. My brother and I do not necessarily expect that we will marry, or that our cousin will keep our name if she does. When my brother and I […]
Chris Wooten, Rowlett, TX.
Roxanne Darling, Haiku, HI. It’s my personal belief that it’s incredibly challenging to not be racist, regardless of one’s race. Not wanting to be, think, or act racist is not the same as not being racist. So I hereby present myself as a work in progress, as I unplug decades (centuries?) of neurological programming that […]
Samantha Larson, Sandu, UT.
Susan Cooper Alexandria, VA I’m not black, but I really wish that more Americans would show some respect for our first black President.
Jesse Hernandez-Oliver, Modesto, CA. I’m Mexican, African and Native American (Apache and Cherokee soecifically) with ringlet curled hair that resembles finger waves of the 1920s when brushed. Growing up I remember everyone always asking to touch my hair. I can speak some Spanish too so that also through people off,which I always found to be […]
Lauren, Fairpoint, NY. I was required to do this for a MSW course on ethnic diversity. As a white, Italian-American woman, it was very difficult for me to think of an example of a racial micro-aggression that I have experienced. I have coarse, curly black hair. The statement was meant to be an insult.
James E Washington, Rochester, NY. The ego thrives on identification and separation. We seems to be a nation that thrives on dualism, having an “other” a “they or them” as a means to distinguish ourselves from. White, Black; Rich, Poor: Republican, Democrat; Christian, Jewish; Fat, Skinny; on and on. The problem appears to be “ego […]
Michael Havis, Brooklyn, NY. I think the word racism no longer defines the conversation we should be having. The image of racism in America is of the KKK or southern slave owners with whips. Being racist and being a good person are not mutually exclusive. Racism today isn’t being a part of lynch mobs or […]
Margaret Metobo, Chicago, IL. I feel that anywhere I go people look at my race first before I’m human and that’s the way I carry myself out of security.
Lj Johnson, Middletown, OH.
Heather Dalby, Baltimore, MD. My Little was 9 years old when she asked me this question while we colored with crayons. She is a brilliant character with an abundance of self confidence, so her question surprised me. Her family is from everywhere; the US, Great Britain, and the Caribbean to name a few. Her skin […]
Stewart Ketcham, South Royalton, VT. Out of the mouth of my five year old adopted African America son. I am white. We were eating chicken and my skin was crispier. Relief at the simplicity of innocence!
Ryan Gonzales, Vacaville, CA. Everyone looks at my last name and think that I am Mexican because my last name is Gonzales. My family came from Spain not Mexico.