Loving me = easier to love you

Makeda Zulu-Gillespie, Minnepolis, MN. “The balance in trying to give your children an open road to follow their dreams and making sure they recognize the dangers signs is HARD. It is a complex conversation already then add the dynamics of faith! I see progress and hope beyond my understanding AND I see the reinforcement institutionalized […]

My eloquence should not surprise you.

Angie Cruz, Los Angeles, CA. The fact that I am a Latina should not make you assume I am not intelligent. I am college educated, I am well-spoken, and I have undergone experiences that have created a foundation for my intellect and my ability to communicate. Don’t be surprised because I can use “big words”.

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“Black-Looking” Female, White Father, Glaring Eyes.

Kayla Doering, Statesboro, GA. My father is of Irish descent and my Mother is Native American. Something I’ve always dealt with while being out in public with my father is people staring at us like we were a rare species. Growing up, while running daily errands with my father, I remember older women asking if […]

Diversity’s a condition. Equity’s a goal.

Kevin Moreno, Baltimore, MD. When they happen at all, discussions about race too often devolve into indictments or defensiveness about one’s individual experience. But combating racism has as much or more to do with examining legal, policy, and other systemic structures than with changing individuals’ minds or attitudes.

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My actions aren’t different from yours.

Navid Mehrabkhani, Hyattsville, MD. The purpose of choosing these words involves how my race impact and influence the ways others see me. People assume that’s because of my race, because I’m from Iran, people assume I’m a terrorist. I believe my race should not influence the way others interpret my life or my actions.

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I am Mexican when its convenient

John Heath Olguin, West Orange, NJ. Before you get all worked up about my 6 words. Let me explain. I watched a little boy of Mexican-American decent sing our national anthem and thought nothing of it. The next day I read about all the negative comments that came about of his performance (see link) and […]

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I pray for my son everyday

J Hill, Canton, OH. I am the proud mother of three children, two girls and a boy. They are all adults now. Every mother worries about her children. But I feel especially concerned for my son. He has done everything well so far in his life, entering his senior year in college, no kids, hardworking, […]

Isolation left me all mixed up.

Tad C., Overland Park, KS. With very little exposure to other races while growing up I found myself faced with 2 stereotypes for blacks; pigeonholes of overachiever mascots and dangerous thugs. But I did not realize my isolation fostered prejudice until my son fell in with a predominately black group of friends. Now I’m uncertain […]

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You are an white person undercover.

Tricia Jenkins-Roberts, Watsonville, CA. I was a 20 year old indigenous childcare worker at a Salvation Army in South Phoenix which was a predominately Black and Latino neighborhood. Apparently the father of one of my students felt I wasn’t “Black” enough and said this to me as he picked up his son and I was […]

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Black lesbian CPA, it’s really me.

Andrea Hyson, San Francisco, CA. About two months ago, I finally met a new employee in another department. This woman and I had numerous phone conversations but hadn’t yet met. I decided to stop by her office to introduce myself. Another employee was at her door as I approached. As I turned into her office, […]

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Biker gangs have love for me

Richard Haynie, Oakland, CA. I walked into a roadside tavern near Allentown PA that had several motorcycles parked outside. Loving bikes, I thought nothing of it. Inside, a motorcycle “club” were the only patrons on that Sunday morning. I ordered some food and, despite a warning from the proprietor, decided to stay and eat there. […]

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Wanted to be a black teenager

Elizabeth Hess, New Haven, CT. That photo is the end paper of my yearbook, Weaver High School, Hartford, Connecticut, 1975. I was one of about 15 white kids in a huge city school. I loved the laughter in the hallways, the treasured friendships, the “take me as I am-ness” of the classmates I most wanted […]

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When will the next one go

David Rotenstein, Atlanta, GA. In April 2012, I sat in an elderly African American woman’s Decatur, Ga.,dining room with a digital recorder asking her questions about gentrification in her neighborhood. For more than a decade, developers have been buying small homes and tearing them down to build large new homes some people call “McMansions.” The […]

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How to protect my black son?

Michael Bolton , Scottsdale, AZ. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Dad Caucasian. lived life in black neighborhood mostly. studied black history–college+leisure. love black culture esp music, classic jazz. slave narratives. am black myself but cannot pass as such. other dad, my partner, black, died. am now single dad, not planned. bringing up son in […]

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“But you’re not like other Mexicans.”

Tom Vásquez, Seattle, WA. I was in high school when this happened. I’m a son of a Mexican-American, so I’m 50% Mexican blood. 50% French-Canadian and English. When I was in high school, I was struggling to understand what it meant to be Mexican-American. The other Mexican kids in my school … well, the ones […]

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Hmong American muaj lub siab tawv

Janes Lee, Minneapolis, MN. I am a Hmong American male, residing in the most Hmong populated state though we are still very unseen. The service our people provided during the Vietnam War, known to the Hmong people as the Secret War, has been invisible to the public eye. How fitting of it for the invisible […]

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Wow, you don’t have an accent!

Angelina A., Allentown, PA. I myself always get asked about questions about my racial and ethnic background and it never has bothered me. I usually always say I am half Dominican and half Chilean, then I go on to explaining that my dad is from Chile and my mom is from The Dominican Republic. Although […]

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Yes, I can comb my hair..

Shaunise Allmond, Baltimore, MD. Society assumes since I am a black woman with natural hair I cannot do simple tasks like combing my hair. My hair texture is extremely curly and what some consider nappy. I have broken combs in the past and will continue to break them in the future. My problem with people […]

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Differences never change but opinions do

Molly W., Denver, CO. I am a 6th grade teacher and my class has been reading Fire From the Rock about the integration of Central High School in Little Rock in 1957. This six-word story was written by one of my students in response to our reading. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/fire-rock

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“Do you speak Chinese?” *face palm*

Amanda McClendon, Houston, TX. For starters, I’m Korean, so no, no Chinese for me beyond “ni hao” and “xie xie”, which I learned from TV travel shows. Secondly, I was adopted as a baby by parents I like to refer to as American Euro-mutts–English, Irish, German, French, and a touch of Choctaw, and that’s just […]

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“Fair you entered before my son?”

Heidi Adelsman, Minneapolis, MN. Working for 12 years as a Pipefitter in Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota, I saw few to no people of color or women working in the construction trades unless a large contract required “minorities” to get the contract. One father of a Dunwoody trade school classmate asked if I thought it […]

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Life experiences shape our daily lives.

Kristine Yager-Rushton, Statesboro, GA. Our life experiences make us who we are. I grew up with a chronic disease that led to me having an organ transplant several years ago. In my volunteer work, I get to share my story as I help mentor future organ transplant recipients on what to expect. I often find […]

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Family contrast black white shows beauty

Sherry Weaver, Woodstock, GA. Our family is a beautiful rainbow. We are pink with brown spots and brown with pink spots. We are just a family. I didn’t “rescue” anyone-we gave each other gifts. I was given the incredible gift of love and diversity, and they got a family who loves them and can appreciate […]

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Like religion and law historically advantageous

Warner Squire, Bartow, FL. I’m convinced that much of our society and standards are based on perpetuating manufactured truths in order to manipulate people who have become way too busy to do their own research in SO many areas; not only do they have little time and resources, but they are taught from a young […]

The lies of my skin color.

Kitt Smith, USA. I have white skin, green eyes and brown hair. I appear every bit a homogeneous American white. I am not. I am a first generation American born to a Mexican illegal and a Irish immigrant. My family has no history here and no part in the oppression of black people. Both sides […]