Standing on the shoulders of my forebears

Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins, MD, MSc, New York City, NY. Manhattan. Collected from The Race Card Project, On Location: The Brooklyn Museum My grandmother came from Grenada in 1926 and got a job at the Waldorf-Astoria cleaning because she was light enough to pass for white. My grandfather had no work until WWII broke out (he was […]

I don’t know what I am.

Jasmine Perry, Cleveland, OH. When it comes to race I honestly don’t know what I am. My families backdrop is kind of patchy, no one in my family knows, my grandma recently found out she was adopted she found out that she wasn’t related to anybody she grew up with. Which means the only clue […]

“Hush, Child, they’ll take Grandma away!”

Robin Greeley St. Louis, MO This is what my relatives said to me at a family reunion in the 1950s.They were afraid that if it was known that Grandma was Choctaw, she could be sent to a reservation – something that was done in those days. In Pueblo, Colorado, the hatred and direct discrimination of […]

For Me, Racism Started at Home

Sarah S., Washington, DC. My Puerto Rican grandmother used to call me “muchacha fea,” while calling my dark-haired, dark-eyed, darker-skinned, curly-haired sisters, “muchacha linda.” That woman treated me like Cinderella. When we were kids, one of my sisters took my grandmother’s cues, and decided to torment me by saying that I was adopted (I wasn’t), […]

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 longer want to prove worth

Milicia, USA. Growing up I received the message that I had to be better than Whites. I didn’t want to embarrass my ethnic group, this I must strive to be better than “them”. I worked hard to prove that I was better. I’m an adult and must say that I don’t know what all of […]

Armenian, Tagalog, Ilocano, no. Wolof, yes.

Anoosh Jorjorian, Santa Monica, CA. My paternal grandmother came to the U.S. to escape the Armenian Genocide. My maternal grandfather jumped aboard a U.S. submarine during World War II because the Japanese Army put a price on his head. When they raised my parents, they wanted more than anything for their children to assimilate into […]

I don’t care about blacks anymore.

Paul Rojas, Tulsa, OK. I’m going to come out and say it…the same thing thousands, probably millions of people in this country are feeling, at this point. I don’t care about black people’s problems anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I care very much for the black people I known personally. I care about them as […]

I want to be like Mom

Susan, Boulder, CO. I’ve been going through something of an identity crisis recently. I’m 31, of mixed race (1/2 Mexican and 1/2 a mix of European). Although my mom was born in Mexico and is fluent in Spanish, I wasn’t raised much in the culture because I grew up on an Air Force Base in […]

We can always change the channel.

Audrey Lee Cho, USA. My parents immigrated to America in 1973, with my older brother Lee Wan Young and my sister, Lee Shin. I was named Audrey when I came along a couple years later, and our little brother Tom was born in 1978. My mother tells me they carefully watched American television, sitcoms and […]

I grew up in the 98118

Guy Godefroy , Seattle, WA. Submitted via Twitter: @mrfatlace Additional information for the 6-WORD ESSAY: http://southseattle.komonews.com/ news/arts-culture/ 445093-census-bureau-98118-most-diverse-zip-code-us

Am I from here or there?

Laura Martinez, Hays, KS. I was born in Mexico and came to the USA as a child. I am so proud of my culture and love Mexico, but I also love the US. When I visit Mexico with my mom people in Mexico see me as not a “true” Mexican, because I haven’t actually been […]

Latin, Bald, Tattoos = Thug = Mistaken Identity

Eduardo Meza, Albany, NY. I get it! I look like the typical thug you will find in disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout most of California. I know I am immediately judged by my cover. People mistake my form of self-expression for some sort of territorial gang branding. I am gay, latino, well-educated (Master’s Degrees), family-oriented and a […]

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!

Who invented the “race card” anyway?

Kathryn Terry, Katy, TX. I hate the term “race card” because when I hear it, it tells me that the person using it doesn’t have any desire to listen to or understand anything about the experiences of racism that people of color face. If you think there’s a “race card”, who do you think put […]

I’m Romanian, no I’m not a Gypsy

JD, Canada. Being located in Eastern Europe, there is a common misconception that Romania comes from slavic lineage, when historically, and factually we are Latin people. Most Romanians have many Middle Eastern features as well and many people associate Romanians with being gypsies. Western European countries are quite negative and borderline racist when it comes […]

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 […]

Finally, a multi-racial option on applications.

James Duvall OUTSIDE USA For the longest time, I’ve always tried to put both my Latin side and my African American side towards the end of job applications. Sometimes they would make you choose one or the other. so when that happens I would alternate between Latino and Black. But now I can finally pick […]

I blend in, wherever I go.

Brenda Footer Silver Spring, MD I live in a very diverse neighborhood, where many El Salvadoran and Dominican families live. People are always trying to speak to me in Spanish, because I have olive skin and dark hair. I’m as white as can be, but it’s always been this way. Italians assume I’m Italian, Latinos […]

My Ancestors Bones Not For Museum

Sonya Williams, Baltimore, MD. I grew up in a unique area of North Carolina in what is referred to as a ti-racial community. My Indian family are the Cheroenhaka Nottoway and Meherrin Indians of Southeast, VA & North Eastern, NC. When I went to college, during a lecture in my anthropology class, the professor was […]

I don’t understand, lets love instead

Megan, KY. Where to start. I have no clue. I guess I’ll start with some background about myself. I am a person full of love and I give it to anyone it doesn’t matter to me race, income, your past, how you treat me – what have you. If I ever get to the point […]

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 […]

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 […]

Heart isn’t racist false accusations anger

Kevin Antonelli, Vienna, NJ. I remember the riots of the 1960’s yet at the time as a young child didn’t know the reason behind them or what was going on in the world. I was raised by an Archie Bunker and lived in a W.A.S.P. town with one black family. I was a racist but […]

We are more alike than unalike

Emily Patten, Phoenix, AZ. I grew up in a city with a substantial lack of racial diversity, yet my parents and teachers were able to instill values of acceptance and empathy. In my adult life, I’ve found that those two beliefs go pretty far in the way of understanding those who don’t look like me. […]

White America Has Lost Too Many Jobs

David Johnson, Chicago, IL. As a Black man when I saw a lot of empty storefronts inside of the strip malls throughout Chicago’s suburbs, I began to understand why Whites are angry, bitter, and resentful. Poverty is spreading rampantly throughout White America more so now than has in a lifetime.

White grandchild adoptive Native American grandparents

Charlie Cook, Sacramento, CA. My dad was born from a White Russian and American couple. At 6 days old, he was placed into the wonderful home of my grandparents, one of the Cherokee tribe and one of the Mohawk tribe. Race doesn’t define you, your history, culture, and family help you grow into the person […]

The word racism is used dishonestly

Howard Hilliard, Grapevine, TX. Dialogue can’t be honest about race when the use of the word racism isn’t even defined. People that have different values than racialists are demonized even if they couldn’t care less about about the color of someone’s skin. Not believing in a certain form of multiculturalism has been conflated by the […]

Wish I was not a racist

Brian Smith, Sugar Land, TX. Part of me wish I wasn’t racist. I did my best not to be like my parents when I was growing up, but as I grew up I kept noticing common themes. I’m 28 now, grew up in middle class conservative Houston, Texas. I watched my dad created a business […]

Ignorance of history, convenient or willful?

Emily Green-Cain, Nashville, TN. I grew up in the city where James Lawson led teach-ins for non-violence that led to sit-ins throughout the Southeast. No one in my schooling, neither my parents, my church or the local education system taught me anything about these events. I did not know the specifics of what happened here […]

Boat after the Mayflower; who cares?

Merrill Mason, Philadelphia, PA. Being descended from early WASP settlers made my mother feel important and entitled. But I believe that suffering and endurance are human experiences, not racial ones. Stories of grit and survival should bring people together rather than create hierarchies.

Black Fathers Love Black Children, #Shutup!

Nvizaboman, Syracuse, NY. Pointing a gun in the face of a Black boy or choking a Black man, is not a common cultural practice in the Black community. I just feel that needs to be said. Please stop killing us because our lives are an appointment we don’t want to miss. Thank you.

As Mutt as a Mutt Gets

Christi Perkinson, Red Wing, MN. My mom is full blooded German so I’ve always known that I was half German, but the other half was a mystery. My dad’s side is quite the mystery. His Father was born in the south while his Mother was born in Canada. Both sides came over to the U.S. […]

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 […]

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?”

“Beauty Inside Shines through the Outside”

Matthew Powers, Riverside, CA. “Growing up Irish and being raised by a single mom in the 50’s and 60’s in Omaha I saw racial tension and acts all around the city, but I can’t say I understood anything about it until my younger sister and I were transferred to a different school because mom couldn’t […]

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 complexions, anyone from any race can develop it, and at the age of about 30, I became one of the 1% […]

Prejudice is perpetuated by our silence

Joe Niehaus, College Park, MD. Like most conflictsusceptible, resolution begins with simple communication. Both sides of the racial divide are often too willing to disregard the other perspective of the other side. We need to work to acknowledge the merits of all peoples speech- regardless of color or background. Everyone can contribute to this conversation.

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 […]

I Shouldn’t Get Benefits For Whiteness

Emily Bertot, Clarksville, MD. I grew up in Florida in an extremely non-diverse, middle-class area. Moving up North was a big culture shock, but it forced me to realize how many different types of people there are. I was also made aware of my privilege.

The only race without a country

Denise Smith, Birmingham, AL. Who am I, and where do I belong, Who am I and why can’t I sing my own song, Why in order to be accepted, must I talk like you, Why must I walk and sing your song too, Who am I and where do I belong, Did you not know […]

I look white & I’m not racist.

Lynn, Great Falls, SC. I tend to look white; especially when not in the sun. I’m actually a mix of: European (German, Irish, & British), Native American (Seminole, Cherokee, & Muskogee Creek), Black (African -sub-sahara regions- and Melanesian), and Middle Eastern (Syrian, Turkish, Indian (India) & Iranian)…….Somehow I ended up looking more European instead……I hate […]

Well How Black Am I Really?

Carnesia, Aurora, CO. As far back as I can remember I’ve always been told by past educators that I am very “well mannered” unlike the other students in my classroom who were all Black. At the time, I saw this as a wonderful compliment. I wasn’t loud or disruptive like the others. I didn’t play […]

Not Enough to be Either One

Dellyna Ochoa, San Bernardino, CA. Its hard to try and be apart of both worlds when everyone says you’re not enough to be apart of either one. I have to learn how to find my own rhythm in the madness. I give a shout out to CBU HIS311 for an opportunity to.

I am Mexican American and proud.

Amber Martinez, Denver, CO. I have been emotionally abused just because my family comes from a certain background. I didn’t get to choose where I came from, but it also doesn’t matter. I’m a person and so is everyone else.

I am not white, or caucasian!

Heather Sanchez, Upper Lake, CA. As the world gets more politically correct, I have turned to study my own roots, as a ‘white’ person. What I have found has debunked many of the world’s stereotypes for white or caucasian people. This makes me proud. Is that wrong? I find great pride in the troubles and […]

No way, Miss, you’re not white!

Joan Evans, Lawrencevillve, GA. And I am 100% white. But (far too many of) my students associate “white” with oppression and bigotry. When they tell me I’m not white, they are trying to tell me I’m not a racist. Telling me I’m not white is a compliment. Pretty damning, huh?

Chicana Falsa I Am Not!

Amber Nicole Gutierrez, Hemet, CA. Everyone grew up with a different life-style, just because I look of Mexican decent does not mean I am the same as every Mexican stereotype. I am an American and have grew up in the middle of both worlds of “American” and “Mexican”. I understand Spanish and speak some. I […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

What can I do about it?

Erika Peterson, Eugene, OR. Systemic racism and socialization feel so deeply seeded in our society that it makes me feel like there is nothing we can do as individuals, or even as a group, to ever overcome it.

All races in family equals love

Val Andrew, Overland, MO. My parents taught us early on to accept all people and invited international college students of different races, religions, and nationalities to stay with us during holidays. During the Vietnam War we hosted an AFS student from Vietnam for a year. I grew up a few miles from Ferguson and taught […]

It’s okay to be black, Promise

Maureen Shaw, Durham, NC. Thank you for doing this. This is a photo of my mother’s family, this is the reason why I wrote it’s okay to be black. I look at it an feel so proud of this photo. We let ourselves believe we are a people are people with shattered history. I’ve discovered […]

Just another Mexican from Los Angeles

Daniela Rubio, Downey, CA. Just because their are a lot of Hispanics/Latinos in southern California, specifically to Los Angeles, it doesn’t mean we are all the same. We are all not illegal immigrants, we don’t eat beans and rice everyday. It does not give anyone the right to judge us or lump us all together.

Black men obsessed with white girls

Andy Anglin, Cleveland, OH. Not really. Just that black men would sooner spit on a black woman and step on her throat if it meant getting near a white girl. They hate white men but they are obsessed with white girls and place all of them on a pedestal.

Every human being is entitled to humanity

Erik, Netherlands. Obama said in Athens: “To see different cultures and meet different people is important to understand ourselves and our place in the world. Here, so many ideas about democracy, notions of citizenship and rule of law began to develop. That is something of value.”

I’m “too white” or “too black”

Edison LaCour, Orange County, CA. I am a product of a biracial marriage, or now with my newfound knowledge from my Biological Anthropology class, a multiethnic marriage. While race is a social construct, this has not stopped me from feeling it’s effects from society. Biologically, it is said that behavior is influenced by mostly by […]