The police work for you. Vote.

Alf Newlin, NJ. These six words popped in my mind while watching the national coverage about Ferguson as well as from a multi year experience centered around a community’s effort to materially improve community friendly public safety. Oddly the demographics for the referred to community are so very different than those communities currently in the […]

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Learned your culture you not ours

Michael Greene, Philadelphia, PA. Kudos to Ms, Norris for bringing the kindling for when it comes to race there have been, are, and will be fires figurative and literally of every imaginable combustion. Growing up I watched and was part of the Civil Rights Movement from the first time I was stopped and frisked by […]

Then he died in our alley.

Sue Blanshan, Okemos, MI. My family lived in segregated Georgia when I was young. A playmates mother called the police to report a black man smelling her clean laundry on the back yard clothes line. The police came and chased him three blocks and shot him by our house in the alley. He died there. […]

White men run errands too

Michael Kelley Los Angeles, CA I am a White man and when I am out running errands, some Black or Hispanic person will invariably ask if I am the Police. It’s funny that they still think it even though I grew my hair out because I got tired of being asked this question.

A Forgotten Race: The Human Race

Danielle Dollinger Menlo Park, CA People often struggle to identify themselves with a certain race. Whether it is African American, Chinese, Russian, Native American, White, Brazilian, etc. While searching for an identity within a certain race we are unable, however, to remember perhaps the most important race of all, one in which all humans belong […]

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We aren’t all “Strong Black Women”

Ce Submitted via Twitter: @CelesteAurora Sunday March 11, 2012- 140 character exchanges spark a rich conversation… The Tweets that ignited the conversation… We aren’t all “Strong Black Women” @CelesteAurora     Has “strong” become a euphemism for “it doesn’t matter how we treat them because they’ll survive”? Pamela Upsher ‏ @PupsherLive   It seems so. […]

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A Social Construct, Race Matters Everywhere

Mohammad Salem Shirzad, Sacramento, CA. As an afghan immigrant, I have witnessed the roots of race in different geographical and social contexts, from Afghanistan to the United States. It is sad to say that race do matter in today’s societies all over the world. But this is the truth in today’s world. Cosumnes River College

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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.

Welcomed for work, ignored for rewards

Herman Soon Napa, CA When I was 10 my eye doctor told me “You will have to work twice as hard to be considered even.” At the time I didn’t understand but it has been the ruling truth of my life. Just for the opportunity has always been a struggle. At one job I trained […]

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He’s my dad, not the gardener.

Kelly Stuart, Brooklyn, NY. I was five when my mother married my stepfather, Alfred Brown, Jr. in 1980. My stepfather, or, as I think of him, my father, was 21 years older than my mom and had already raised a daughter by the time he met me, but that didn’t stop him from getting a […]

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“So, what are you?” they ask.

Karen Gephart Altschul, Vernon Hills, IL. I was five, the first time I can remember somebody asking me that question. “What are you? Chinese or something?” Huh? Um, what are you talking about? I’ve been asked this question, “what are you”, on the first day at a job. A girl from China asked me if […]

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Biracial White/Asian Travels to Southern States

Sean B., Riverside, CA. I am half white and half Filipino. Growing up in a melting pot such as Southern California has been awesome. I never truly understood how lucky I was to live here until I traveled to the south (multiple states) to visit family. My wife is Filipina (born in the south). While […]

I am always missing some of me

Yasmin Gill Baltimore, MD My mother is white, American, and my father is Pakistani. Where ever I go, and whomever I am with, I rarely find someone who is at home with *all* of me. I am American, undeniably so, but there are peices of me that are also uniquely Pakistani. Americans see or experience […]

Sometimes angry, sometimes hopeful. Always vigilant

Carl Williams, Chicago, IL. Though I love my city Chicago, racial issues persist. The “Blacklash” of President Obama’s election is real, palpable. At my age, 52, I’ve never felt like I must so vigorously defend myself for just being who I’ve always been, a Black man. I can no longer talk about race without being […]

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Daughters of Muslim father are American.

Suzie Husami, San Diego, CA. My mother and father met in college in upstate New York – he, a Lebanese -Muslim-Republican named Muhammad and she, an American non-practicing Methodist-Democrat named Maureen. They fell in love and had three daughters – Najla, our olive-skinned sister, and my twin sister and me – pale and freckled. My […]

Xenophobia or racism? They are different.

Robert San Francisco, CA Fear of outsiders is not the same as hate for outsiders. Urban cultural stereotypes popularized and promoted by the very individuals in that culture have played an important role I creating fear. It’s not the reason but it is irresponsible of us not to talk about it.

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Always Less Than The White Girl

Danielle Cuddy, Napa, CA. Growing up as an adopted South Korean female in the city of Napa proved a challenging adolescence. I was called, “China Girl” in elementary school, but that was okay with me because the other children would come to realize that they were wrong and I was actually from the opposite side […]

My fear exceeds yours, white people.

Kokujin Cameron Salt Lake City, UT When I was in kindergarten and in class, I had to use the restroom. The teacher had forgotten and I was unaware but there was a girl using the restroom already. The bathroom is part of the classroom and has it’s own corridor which leads down a hallway to […]

How come I was not invited?

Carolyn Hisako Okinaga, Honolulu, HI. I asked this question when I was growing up on Ewa Plantation. Ethnic groups were housed in separate villages on the plantation based on race and position, e.g., Filipinos laborers lived in Fernandez Village, Japanese in B Village, etc. All of the caucasian (“haole”) supervisors/bosses lived in Renton Village; they […]

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How’d your daughter get blue eyes?

Cynthia Moreno, San Jose, CA. Since my daughter’s birth I have been asked why she has blue eyes! I was constantly asked if I was her nanny until she was able to say “mommy”. The most common question, “But how did she get blue eyes?” Do I really need to explain my genetic background to […]

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I’m Pavla Pletkova. And I’m black.

Pavla Pletkova, VA. Looking at my picture you could never tell. Listening to me speak you could never tell. What I’ve been told is I look like a “regular light skinned black girl”. But little do they know I’m far from regular. As far as I know, I have never met another Czech-Ghanaian person, well, […]

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Life’s, Short, So, Talk, Is, Cheap

Jermaine Guevara, San Francisco, CA. Life is definitely short, tomorrow isn’t promised so consider today a gift. I’m a non-conformist which is I say talk is cheap. People are people regardless of their skin tone and it is inhumane to think one is superior due to race.

Drowning in generalizations; floating on truth

Alexis Ford Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan As an African American, I have several generalizations placed upon me. Some people just assume who I am. I am rarely asked. While a lot of these assumptions hurt, I know the truth. I know only my own actions and words define me. I […]

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Brilliance Is Not Determined By Color

Kelly K. Buck, Harrisburg, PA. Unfortunately as events have shown, some still believe that its either the only or contributing factor, as to how others should be treated. The value and potential of life, doesn’t decrease because of the shade of our skin.

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Drop the racism, drop the past

Donnaven Kroenert, Jacksonville, FL. The Civil War is still being fought in the South, whites are being thrown under the bus everyday, people won’t drop the past, and keep bringing up a subject that just causes more problems.

It’s Okay To Talk About Race

Courtnay S., Arlington, VA. Why are we so uncomfortable talking about racial privilege? Does anyone shy away from saying they are privileged because of their income, sex, language, or education? Western privilege exists. English-speaking privilege exists. On that same token, white privilege exists. It is okay to have money, to be male, to be American, […]

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Well, why NOT talk about race?

Lucy Pipkin, Minneapolis, MN. My own white discomfort is much less painful than continuous microaggressions and real racism faced by my fellow undergrad students who are POC. Let’s talk, and not stop until they feel safe again. We’re all different but need to come together in our communities, as shown by my photo of this […]

White Male, Can’t Talk About Anything

Joseph Palmieri, Framingham, MA. As a white male, I feel like I have been subject to a sort of stigma just like people of other races and genders have. Some may think that white men are relieved from a form of discrimination, but this is not the case. I have been told multiple times that […]

I wish I could fully understand.

Hilary E. Cooke West Lafayette, IN I was unsure how to answer “where I am” because I am currently on sabbatical in France, but I technically and a resident of West Lafayette, Indiana. Although I’ve been thinking about the race card project for a while, it is only here, on sabbatical, that I’ve finally had […]

Mon Dieu! Mais vous êtes blanche!

Shari Miller Polk City, IA My junior year of college, I was studying abroad in Paris, France. I had joined a gym while over there, and one day as I was returning from the common shower area with just a small towel to cover me, a French woman said loudly to everyone around her: “Mon […]

We all hurt in different ways.

Christine Farrell, Naches, WA. My dad was an Italian/Irishman who grew up in the Bronx and Harlem areas of New York City. He grew up tough and he grew up mean. He was the only white kid in many of the schools he attended. He was involved in gangs, had been in and out of […]

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My White Half is Erasing My Iraqi Half.

Ollie, New York, NY. I’m mixed – white and Iraqi. It infuriates me that people, of all races, can’t see past my light skin. My Iraqi side is also Jewish and the racism within, and anti-semitism outside, has made claiming a poc identity an uphill battle. I feel like half of me is being systematically […]

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You are cute to be dark

Secunda Joseph, Houston, TX. I’ve always seen the beauty in myself even as a kid. My brother and I were the darkest of all aunts, and cousins besides my brother, and around family ” I was everything good” one of my several nicknames was chocolate drop. Then kindergarten started what I heard was “with your […]

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Yes, I’m white. Inside and Out.

Hayley Burgette, Durham, NC. Some people say I don’t act like I’m white but I’m just an ordinary country girl. Sometimes I can be as southern as it gets and you can tell in my voice but other times I’m out of control.

But we need you to choose….

Sonni Williams Germantown, MD My name is Sonni, and I am 47 years old. I have 3 sons, and all of them have white fathers. When my first two were born, it was clear to everyone that their father was white, or that they were of mixed heritage because of their fare skin and hair […]

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Speak if silence is a privilege.

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 […]

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Deliberately deviant to preserve white privilege

Marcos Cu, Seattle, WA. I would prefer to write about diversity instead of someone else’s prejudices. For example the Mayan’s mathematical wonders architectures. The Kwakwa ka’wakw Pacific Northwest Coast people, totem poles monumental sculptures, the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s literature thus we talk about what matters not what put us down.

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Nothing in common. Everything in common.

Alana Peck Marina, CA People who don’t know me well tell me I look nothing like my sister. If race wasn’t such an overpowering factor, I’m not sure I would hear that as often. It’s hard to have everything and nothing in common with a person I’ve known for almost my entire life.

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Defined by my character, not race.

Kim Hollins, Portland, OR. It’s all about who you are and not what you look like in my book. A person’s character can greatly affect one’s perception of an individual as well as racial groups they may be a part of. What you say and do contributes to racial stereotypes and adversity way beyond the […]

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All humans are a single race.

Kitty Antonik Wakfer, Casa Grande, AZ. Each of us is a unique member of the human race. No one individual is best or worst in everything. In some attribute of the very many humans can have, certain individuals will be better than others. That is the way life is. Groups are abstractions of individuals, but […]

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Messianic Jew Yogi? Pick one fool!

Signe Wendt, Austin, TX. Jewish by heritage when I began to worship Jesus I was told I was no longer Jewish and I had to pick one.Now I try to connect Christians to their faith as a yoga teacher and I am not sure who is more uncomfortable with that. Yogis (at least in Austin) […]

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Mullet. Dashiki. Mom White. Step-dad Black.

Paco Romane, San Francisco, CA. I grew up in an all white racist small town, with a hispanic nickname (paco), a white mom, and a black step-dad who’s last name was White. It taught me a lot including I believe there are two different kinds of white people: those become “black” around black people and […]

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I am always half never whole.

Sabrina Fairchild, Canada. I’m a little disconcerted by how negative this sentence sounds, but it seems to accurately reflect how I’ve been characterized all my life. I’m trying to find new ways to describe myself (as biracial, as Eurasian) that provides a single, coherent identity.

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I am colorblind but ignorance isn’t.

Natalie, Kansas City, MO. I believe ignorance is a key that goes hand-in-hand with fear. We are afraid of what we do not know or what we cannot understand. If we simply educated ourselves on certain topics,we may be less likely to jump to conclusions, opinions and prejudice’s. Ignorance is blind to those who we […]

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I Won’t Choose to Pacify You

Amanda Whitman Tampa, FL All my life people have asked me what I am. I want to right away say American. My father is African-American and my mom is white. I grew up in a military family. In the military it is very common to meet people of multiple races. It was a shock for […]

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Race isn’t based on one person

Jy’Aire O’Connor, Philadelphia, PA. One person doesn’t effect the rest of the people in the race. Just because one did something wrong doesn’t mean we all do that thing or will do it later on in life being thrown into multiple ethnic groups I know how it feels.

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Ashamed that my white privilege stifles others

Suzanne Rogers, Sherwood, AR. I was born with white privilege. I didn’t know true racism until I was married. I didn’t know that supposedly “good” people could be blatant racists. I learned my own white privilege wasn’t because my parents went to college and worked hard. It was simply because they were white. No one […]