Kids’ mother tongue isn’t their mother’s

Elise DuBord, Cedar Falls, IA. Growing up in the Midwest, I started studying Spanish as a second language in high school, fascinated with learning about other cultures and enchanted with the idea of traveling to or even living in a new country. As a middle-class white kid, I was completely unaware of the privilege I […]

Greek American, cheeseburger cheeseburger not funny

N. Blandis, Portland, OR. I am a second generation American born of Greek parents. My father’s birth certificate in Los Angeles California in 1921 listed his race as GREEK. His place of birth was listed as Stork NEST , meaning at home. I have never classified myself as WHITE. I have ethnic features and the […]

“Shonda?” No interview. “SK?” Wow, interview!

Shonda Kay Purvis, Green Cove Springs, FL. I have had to rebrand myself and change my name because “Shonda K. Purvis” (and her “BLACK” resume) doesn’t get job interviews, but SK Purvis (and “his” “WHITE” resume) does. (By the way, I am a Caucasian female. You thought I was black, didn’t you?)

Born Norwegian, Raised American, not illegal

Linda Kristensen, Grand Rapids, MI. I am writing this for my daughter who is 34 with Autism. She became my daughter in 1980 when I was living in Norway. We returned to the USA in 1983 but my daughter even after 30 years is still not an American citizen. Here’s part of her story…. My […]

Why am I still called ‘exotic’?

Scarlett Van Damme, AZ. I’m an American, as were my parents and their parents and so on. My sister is blonde haired and blue-eyed, just like my grandma and my uncles. My cousins are various shades of white, brown, and black. My skin color, eye color, and hair color are not too dissimilar from my […]

Dating White Men Saved My Life

Tahani Tompkins, Chicago, IL. Black Dating in Chicago is foray in fuggary like no other. I’ve been cast down, used, and shamed for just being a brown woman that desired basic human respect from black men. Some friends and I decided to stop waiting, and hating,….. and crying and lying about this reality. We said […]

I’m Asian. Don’t assume I’m Chinese.

Gaby Segalla Washington, DC Most people see me and assume I’m Chinese. As an adopted Asian girl most people think “Oh that girl is probably Chinese.” I don’t take offense to that mostly because I have become used to being asked I’m Chinese. I’ve gotten used to people asking me where I am from and […]

White male forties need not apply

Allan Millard Canada As a young, white male I never really considered that I might be privileged for no other reasons than my age, sex and skin colour. As a lawyer, jobs came easily and I enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. However, as I entered my forties and took a job in government I found that […]

You have to choose. Which one?

Aimee Mallery, Rochester, NY. My daughter is Native American on her father’s side. When faced with a form for daycare, I had to choose whether to label her Native American or Caucasian. They insisted she couldn’t be both.

Some Dogs Just Don’t Have Names

Glenn Richardson Wilmington, NC Every spring we would travel from Washington DC to Oktoc Mississippi to help my Dad work the cows. He had about 200 head to push through the mucky shoot to the cattle squeeze where they were tested for brucelllosis, wormed, weighed, pregnancy checked by an arm length plastic disposable glove to […]

You’re Mexican, but your last name…?

Jessica Paxcle, Moreno Valley, CA As for bilingualism it helped me become the person who I am now. However, I think there’s one downside of experiencing bilingualism in school, I realized that when you speak your native language in public and someone does not understands it results in assumptions. This is despite the fact, that […]

I am no different than YOU!

Jason C, Brooklyn, NY People wonder why there is still racism, discrimination, and prejudice in our society today. Its because we don’t do anything to change our past social norms and we continue to be influenced by them. We cannot rewrite our past, but we can rewrite the future to make a better society for […]

We need each-other; tribe, tongue, nation.

Stephen Karst, Overland Park, KS What if we worked to recognize the dignity in one another? What would it look like to celebrate our different races, ethnicities, cultures and embrace the fullness of our humanity? What would happen if we treated each other like fellow image bearers of God & recognized that we were created […]

This is our neighborhood too, sir.

Sarah Natannia, Ewing, NJ When my family moved to a predominantly white neighborhood, we were one of three Black families living on our street. One day, my mother, sisters and I went for a walk to explore our new neighborhood. An old white lady saw us walking and called the cops on us. The police […]

We’re all different, and that’s OK

Denis Mena, Newnan, GA I went to a predominantly white school with not very much diversity. You noticed that people tended to form groups with those they are most comfortable with. But once I got to college and noticed how diverse it really was, it was awesome. People intermingling with one another, regardless of race, […]

I’m more than a white guy

Graham Sudenga, Sioux Falls, SD I never really thought about race until I came to college. I think it’s necessary to talk about. There is a lot of historical trauma in today’s world because of it. But, I caution myself from identifying with race too much because I feel like it shouldn’t be the thing […]

Bad time for Blue; Always Black

Tim Wagner, Fairfield, CT Come from a conversation I was having with friends. One friend saying how it was a bad time to be a cop in the United States. My other friends, who is an ex-cop, said that was true. He then said, it has always been a bad time to be Black in […]

Can I say N****r around you?

Dylan Givens, San Francisco, CA Because I was raised in predominantly white schools and have almost-all white friends, people seem to think that I don’t have a right to be offended when other ethnicities use the N-Word (since I “Don’t really have a black card”).

Is the ticket together or separate?

Taylor Norman, Norman, OK. White man. Black woman. Two babies that look in between. People never really think before they speak when they see my family together. For some reason they can’t deduce that my mother is married to my father and my sister and I are their two girls. Instead their eyes only see […]

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.

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 […]

Stop explaining why black lives matter

Tonisha C., Jonesboro, GA. All lives didn’t matter until black lives mattered. This response is no mistake. It is intended to be dismissive of the perils faced by people of color. It is humiliating and degrading to have to explain why black lives matter. It is a waste of time to explain, time and time […]

Why I Choose To Use Other

Malcolm X. Mosely, Lorain, OH. I started using “Other long ago when they first started putting it on an option and I could start filling out forms when I started entering college in the early 90’s and there after. The reason I have done this is because I am not only Black and White, I […]

They are Canadian and won’t tip.

Robyn, Norfolk, VA. Real Canadians do not tip in Canada because their wait staff is paid an adequate salary. However, black people, in the restaurant world, have been given the nickname Canadians because they normally do not tip. I feel like this is so wrong to stereotype people and give them unacceptable service just because […]

Know this: We are all prejudiced.

Richard Coccaro PhD. Clinical Psychologist Mountain View, CA I am first generation Italian. As a boy my father told me, “What a man has in his heart, is all that counts.” I have conducted racial healing groups and we explored our prejudices. It is important to know our prejudices so that we can prevent our […]

I like rice; one-eighth Chinese

Marlene Resnick Sarasota, FL My Uncle Eddie was my favorite uncle. He took me to every carnival, fair and circus in town. He was Irish, my only non-Jewish relative and he was my hero. Aside from the ethnic confusion he created, he was the kind of mentor, supporter and playful companion that I wish for […]

From a white teenage girl’s perspective

Victoria N. Fortson, GA My ancestors came to America just like many others. Just because I am white, does not mean my family “owned” “slaves”. When an African American girl says to me “you’re so lucky to have that hair” or “I would pay a lot for some of your hair”, it makes me mad. […]

My Family Well Kept Secret Revealed

Mary F. Howard, Stockbridge, GA. I discovered I am one-fourth Native American. My paternal grandfather is full blood Cherokee. I just learned several months ago by eavesdropping on a conversation about race between my paternal uncle and aunt. They had just learned of additional children by their father outside of the marriage. It has often […]

white white white white white white

Anonymous, St. Louis, MO. I truly believe that for me, the down sides of being black would be worth a full sense of acceptance into the beautiful culture of hip-hop and rap that I identify with at the soul level. I’m hated for that and I understand why.

You Look Like Your Dad

Krystal Lopez, San Jose, CA. Being Mexican that’s all I tried to be growing up, but the truth is there is a black hole that I have made with being Native American. Growing up I never knew the man I would call my “Dad”. It was always just me and my Mexican & German mother. […]

Human Spirit – Our One Equal Tie

Kimberly Davenport, Elizabethtown, KY. Irregardless of our containment, the color of our skin, our heritage, our social structures…one element binds us all and that one element is that which cannot completely be embodied.. the human spirit. I just ordered a dna test..so once and for all I can clarify to some degree what my exterior […]

Discovering others judgments after finding love.

Lauren Bing, North Canton, OH. A little over two years ago, my eyes were opened to the unspoken opinions of the people closest to me. I met a guy who had such a great personality, we got along so well and he treated me like I deserved nothing less than being treated right. I couldn’t […]

Slavery is chickenpox, racism is shingles

Tian McPherson, Baltimore, MD. …and these recent events are the visible rash. If a country practiced slavery, the racism problem is already inside it. It’s been there, largely unseen or easy to neglect… but it’s starting to burn and crackle now.

Race is just a subjective word.

Matthew Harding, USA. This is a difficult topic to address. 75% of my heritage would be considered to hold an advantage over 25% of my heritage, and the R word (which is just a made up social construct) is supposed to somehow for some reason classify us into a definable category. This can ultimately promote […]

Mexican really? You dont look mexican.

Priscilla Esparza, Riverside, CA. Living life as a Mexican American is best described by Abraham Quintanilla,”Being Mexican American is tough. Anglos jump all over you if you don’t speak English Perfectly, Mexicans jump all over you if you don’t speak Spanish perfectly.” “we got to prove to the Mexicans how Mexican we are and we […]

You are smarter than you look

Amanda Sperow, Chehalis, WA. Oregon State University Because I am a young woman with blonde hair, and I take pride in the way I look most people presume I am a “bimbo” or dumb blonde. It’s sad our minds don’t extend beyond the sexuality of an individual, and we can only see as deep as […]

I see my intellect surprises you.

As a young African American male, I have learned, through very personal experiences, that many do not expect me to be as wise or as knowledgeable as I am. My knowledge and opinions on complex issues as well as my level of articulation often catch people off guard. I am often expected to act and […]

Educating Myself on My Own Privilege

Rhiannon Emma Farr, Minneapolis, MN I haven’t lived a great life, nor a terrible one. I suffer depression and anxiety and other mental illnesses and physical ones too that make everyday living extremely difficult. Though my life has been tough, I acknowledge that my race or gender has nothing to do with the pain I […]

My daughter isn’t a “China Doll.”

Debra Cope, Alexandria, VA. Adoption is beautiful, and I really don’t mind helping others navigate the awkward preconceptions that accompany it. But this phrase just burns me because it equates my spunky, lively child with an object . She’s not my toy — she’s my daughter!

The Real Tragedy of 9-11

Chloe, Denver, CO. Sure. 9-11 was an incredible tragedy against the American nation. What was more tragic is the way many white Americans reacted, and the sudden rash of violence against Muslims and Sikhs within our nation. Xenophobia has never worked for us. It’s time to get over 9-11 and acknowledge the hurt we have […]

White immigrant = not an immigrant.

Linda M Larsen, Hudson, WI. Hungarian+British +Canadian = American. I’m an immigrant, a ‘legal alien’ from Canada, with Hungarian and British parents, living in the USA. I’m supremely aware of the fact that no one sees me as ‘immigrant’ because I’m white. I moved from a very visibly multi-racial large Canadian city to small-town, lily-white […]

Pick ’em up & lay ’em down.

Anonymous, Seattle, WA. My five-month-old Ameri-Kenyan daughter and I were part of a group of 300 Americans with the National Parks Service who commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights March. For five days, we marched from Selma to Montgomery. She rode just over my heart, clapping and singing as we went.

Stop saying I can’t be offended.

Becky Watts, North Little Rock, AR. I am an African American, and I am often told by White People when I can and can not be offended. This is extremely hurtful, because I am treated as if I am a 5 year old child who’s hyper imagination created racism. You can not tell me not […]

Dirty roads ahead. We will overcome.

Connor F., Upper Arlington, OH I am eleven years old, in fifth grade, and we are reading the novel Chains in my language arts class in Tremont Elementary. It is about a young slave girl trying to protect her sister and find her way to freedom. It is a really good book, and it inspired […]

Strange fruit in a Plum Tree

Ronnie Dunn, Cleveland, OH My family was the third African American family to move on my street, Gay Avenue, on Cleveland’s Eastside in 1964. I was three years old and the youngest of three children. My siblings, a sister and brother, respectively and four years older than I, had already started school. The grandchildren, a […]

I was always different growing up

Julie Long, Pioneer, CA. When I was 8, we moved from a big city to a small country town, where there were, maybe two other families that weren’t white. I had no idea at 8 years old what race was. I never even differentiated a difference based on appearance, but I remember being suddenly shocked […]

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 […]

I knew one side of racism.

Joyce Goodluck, East Lansing, MI. On Location, MSU. Before coming to MSU I knew one side of racism from media. Whites discriminating Blacks. I even once experienced that when I passed by Akers Hall and some one shouted at me from his window black and African. I was like he is a racist.But whom am […]

Soul Surfer is Light without color

NanJo Carter, Richmond, CA. I grew up in the fifties and sixties. We moved to Japan when I was 2. We moved to Montgomery, AL when I was six and I attended Capitol Heights Elementary School. These were intense times with the National Guard escorting us to class and the school. We experienced discrimination and […]

Outside does not match my inside.

Sheila L. Davis, Spring Valley, CA I identify as Filipina-American. But, rarely do people see the Filipina in me. I have to declare it or speak Tagalog. A co-worker described me as ethnically ambiguous. In the U.S. I may be “ethnically ambiguous” but in the Philippines I am “mestiza” and just by virtue of my […]

Dear Ebenezer Baptist: I still cringe

Elizabeth Rodriguiz, Ypsilanti, MI. In the early 2000s I tagged along with my husband to his professional society meeting in Atlanta. While he went to lectures, I explored the city. I took the Metro to the stop nearest Ebenezer Baptist Church and walked through the neighborhood to get there. At the church, I actually asked […]

“Dad, please tell Emily I’m adopted”

Barney Rush, Chevy Chase, MD. Ours is an adopted family: my wife and I have two daughters, both of whom are Caucasian, as we are. We adopted them through agencies, the older when we lived in New York; the younger when we lived in Florida. After living six years in Europe, we returned to the […]

Blond hair – can’t use Afro Sheen

Diane Smith, Anchorage, AK. I was the only white girl in my 6th grade class at Windsor Hills Elementary School in Los Angeles. I wished so much that I looked like my classmates. My greatest compliment back then (the 1960s) was that I might be white on the outside, but I was black on the […]

Why didn’t we talk about this?

Madison Martin, Ewing, NJ. Growing up in a predominantly white town, race was not a topic of much discussion in the classroom. My parents were good role models to me and my brother and did not hide us from the world outside the “bubble” of our town, but the rest of my town seemed to […]

I was a white tobacco farmer

Helen Nelson, Saxonburg, PA. I grew up working in the tobacco fields. Cutting tobacco with an ax. Piling the plants. Stringing plants on a wooden lathe with a spear. I was a dying breed, is what they told me in college. No one believes me now that this is who I was and who I […]

51 years of history was unlearned

Brandon M. VerBurg, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI.   I love to study the past, and history is filled with turning points. Points that change the world. One that is being missed often is Civil Rights. Back in 1964 the movement was passed. It was passed so that race wouldn’t be an […]

I love love love my Blacks.

Renée Quarterman, Philadelphia, PA I used to fantasize about how active I would have been if I were an adult in the 60’s. I imagined that I’d march and sit in and boycott, doing what I could every day to advance the cause of Civil Rights. Then I realized about five years ago that the […]

Terrified, we watched them set fires

Sarah Martinez-Helfman, Philadelphia, PA Every key decision I made in my life seems to go back to that defining moment, when I walked away from a racist joke. That triggered years of violence from my neighbors. Marybeth beat me with the stick of a rake and chipped my tailbone of which I’m reminded every time […]

White until someone tells me differently

Megan Forrest, Chicago, IL Living in suburban Chicago is always weird because I dress the same as the rest of my peers, talk the same, and I just almost blend in, but not quite. Even though a quarter of my school is Asian-American, just like me, I stick out like a sore thumb. Or rather, […]