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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 […]

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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 […]

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I carry hope through young musicians

Virginia Jones, Danville, VA. I’m a 54 year old white lady living back in the south after 15 years away from home. Its not the same everywhere. I’ve been an RN in central Phoenix, a wife of a Vietnam Veteran who was terribly discriminated by his own country and I’m a mother of a blonde […]

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Sorry, this AMERICAN sings it better.

Aaron Matthew Villalobos, Norman, OK. While I’m admittedly more apple pie than beans & rice, I have never felt my heritage as a Mexican-American detracted from my ability to honor my country with the gift god has given me–my voice. I love singing our national anthem. I feel like it’s the biggest contribution I can […]

Sir, please check your White Privilege

Andrew S. Philadelphia, PA. To say minorities had it easy in this country would be like saying the sky is green, both insanely false statements. Minorities suffered the most in this country unless you differentiate the Native Americans who never became citizens and were killed by the millions. Were the majority of those in power […]

I’m extremely racist and I’m not white.

Anonymous, UT. I’m not white, I’m not black. I’m a mixed Latina. I honestly despise brown/black people, I can’t stand their ugly skin, noses and hair. It goes from blacks to Polynesians. I don’t like their culture, I don’t like their looks and how they act. I’m racist, and I’m not white. I came from […]

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Listen First. Pray Next. Speak Last.

Eric Nykamp, Grand Rapids, MI. My sense is that as white people, we too often choose to react or retreat from conversations about race because they are difficult to have. If we keep doing this, we don’t really make any progress. Yes, it is painful – for everyone. However, there is more beyond the pain. […]

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I am not your curiosity game.

Victoria, Salem, OR. As a biracial person, people often ask me, “what ethnicity are you?” – aka what race can I define you as? People who first meet me will ask me this question without ever asking for my name. They seem to only care about what I am not who I am. However, I […]

Injustice Should Never Be An Option

Kayla McDermott-Cobbs, Long Branch, NJ. Monmouth University The United States of America is a place that is constantly changing and evolving. We have grown, as a whole, from a nation that was racially intolerant to a place where a black man can have the Oval. It is our job to educate our country about the […]

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Black grandma, White grandpa. That’s weird!

Val’Dionna P., San Francisco, CA. Throughout the years it has been a bit difficult to understand the many emotions and stereotypes being of color and mixed. It is important to understand that how one is raised growing up in a complex world that continues to critique someone on the features or melancholy of their skin […]

I am a bigot toward bigots

Paul Meyer, Chicago, IL. I am a bigot toward bigots. My so-called best friend in third grade gives me, a Jew, a Nazi ring saying, “my father wants you to have this.” My fiancé when I’m 33 hurls slurs toward hispanics. Others throughout my life condemn my race or other peoples’ races. I just disown […]

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Your bar is down the street.

Ronald Zeigler, North Brunswick, NJ. I was stationed at Parris Island going to Personnel school. I was from New York and with my three New Jersey (also Black) friends went into Beaufort, SC. We walked into a bar and my friend said “three beers, please”. I was at the jukebox looking for Motown and finding […]

Little white kids have it hardest

K Russell, Chattanooga, TN. As a little white kid growing up, I was constantly harassed by black boys for no other reason than I was white- and small enough not to be a threat (I only weighed 89 lbs by eighth grade.) Luckily I had a great friend that was also black that saved me […]

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Don’t assume I’m racist like you.

Nicole Moriarty, Tallahassee, FL. I’m white and I’ve been living in the south for about 5 years and this crazy thing continually happens to me: white people see the color of my skin and assume, wrongly, that I harbor the same ignorance and racism that they do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware of my […]

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I didn’t think it was real!

Toya James, Albuquerque, NM. I am biracial (Black/White) and born in Cleveland in 1959. By “it” I mean race. I thought more people knew race is simply a social construct and that racism was something education erased. I have only recently realized how widespread the buy-in is in American society and that race was invented […]

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Veteran Patriot Still White Washed Wetback

Michael Morentin, Los Angeles, CA. Growing up a third generation Mexican-American I find myself walking America as a 30 year old Marine Corps veteran and recent college graduate whom is too brown for those around me who are white, and not brown enough for those around me of hispanic heritage. Being third generation Mexican-American the […]

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Stop pairing my ancestry with race.

Journey Brown-Saintel, Charlotte, NC. So, just because I’m black it’s okay to assume I’m African-American? Or is just easier? My family comes from Haiti; I’m Caribbean for freak’s sake. But there’s no box for me to check besides the Black/African-American one. Why are you grouping me? Historically, I have more of a connection to France […]

Feeling Conflicted about my family history

Romaine Martin II, Richmond, VA. I Think Ancestry.com is very therapeutic. You can spend hours researching your family’s cold cases. One bit of information I found out left me feeling unsure of how to feel at all. “Green Gore was born, in 1816, the son of Robert Gore (1783 – 1870/1880) and Tomsey Jarrel,(1778 – […]

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I don’t know where to begin.

Elizabeth Johnson, Arlington, VA. There are so many things I wish I could say but am worried they will come out the wrong way. I want to say I see you’re struggling. I want to say I see racism among my friends and within my own family. I want to say it’s wrong. I want […]

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Race Baiters Are Destroying Our Country

Kimberlee Collins, Gulf Shores, AL. We as a nation of individuals need to be supportive of one another. Each of us are unique and yet we are all the same, we all have feelings and are proud of our heritages. To hear community leaders instigating racial unrest, is not only unethical but destroying the bonds […]

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You’re you. I’m me. We’re beautiful!

Leah Wright, Cartersville, GA. My mom is my hero because she stood tall against her racist family and refused to pass on the fear and hatred my ancestors clung so tightly to. She raised me with the understanding that we are ALL God’s children. That is why I don’t understand so-called Christianity today. So much […]

Am I Jewish? Ancestry vs. Religion

Alexandra Vogt Crofton, MD Because I was not raised in the Jewish faith, I feel unable to claim my ancestry on my father’s side the way I do with the family history on my mother’s side (Norwegian immigrants.) I wish there were commonly used terms that differentiated Jewish ethnicity from the religion.

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I am mixed, but still white…

Vika Lynn, Las Vegas, NV. I grew up with a Native American father and a German/Italian-Jewish mother…i take after my mother but my father is full blooded Chiriquahua/apache and Seneca…when I started talking about how my culture is amazing, I was ridiculed as a “Wannabe” ….traits are chosen by choice of both parents…just because I […]

“You’re Hispanic?,” he said. “Prove it!”

Irmie S. Bristol, CT I grew up in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. Both of my parents were from Puerto Rico but were of Spanish ancestry, which caused my fair, freckle-prone skin. I looked so different from so many of my caramel-skinned classmates. So, in Junior High School, when one Puerto Rican boy began teasing all […]

Know who you are, be proud.

Cole, Nashville, TN. A lot of my family comes from Spain and Latin America. And I take pride in that. Every once in a while there is one person that is stuck with stereotypes of what Latinos should look like. I’m part Hispanic, the person said to me “You don’t look Latino, your not dark” […]

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Don’t believe everything that you think

Jim Schultheiss, St. Johns, MI. I have always felt that I needed to be very careful and thoughtful on issues related to prejudice. Growing up in as a white, heterosexual male in a community largely lacking diversity, I learned I needed to listen very carefully to the thoughts and experiences of others and not impose […]

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I’m tan, but I’m not Mexican

Gabriella, Delaware, OH. Just because my skin is naturally olive, everyone thinks im foreign, I have gotten many different ethnicity such as, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Moroccan, Brazilian, and Latino, and Hispanic. But I’m white.

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You’re foreign. Not American. No way.

Franke Santos, Los Angeles, CA. Despite being born in the U.S., speaking only English, and being given a white-sounding name, I am routinely asked “where are you from?” When I respond, “Los Angeles,” I get the follow-up “where are you really from?”

We cannot have honest productive discussions

Jay Tee, New York, NY. Seeing as many careers have been derailed, some high profile other less so, because of a hypersensitivity around candidly discussing race, the nation is going to have tough road ahead. “Oppression olympics”, wherein arguments are weight in proportion to the professed suffering of the speaker, fueled by the mob power […]

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You are those girls mother?! Really!?!

Ethel Grigorovici, Mountain House, CA. “You play so well with her. What are your rates?” “Could you please let her parents know.””Are you a family friend or the nanny?” Samples of the many questions/comments I get when I was out and about with my children. I’m the mother of 3 the last two (girls) are […]

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White Slavery & The Myth of White Privilege

DeAnna Calderon, Austin, TX. I grew up poor in the Southside of Chicago. We were extremely poor and even homeless at times. Sleeping outside in the middle of winter when I was a child. When I was 22 I joined the Army. The treatment I faced as a woman in the military felt like it […]

He called my dad a wetback.

Arturo Aguilar Los Angeles, CA My dad was a car painter and during vacation from Jr. High School I would go work as his helper. One day a client of the body shop came in and was unhappy about the time it was taking to get his car painted. He complained to the owner by […]

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Little brown girl, white man’s world

Beatriz Mallory Newfoundland, PA My father was one of the first black men to work at IBM in the late 50’s; my mother a Puerto Rican who migrated to NY to go to college. My father embedded this mantra in my head from a very age. I was a “little brown girl” in a world […]

I forget that they’re not white.

John Mitchell MS As of July 1, our trans-racially adopted twins are one year old. I sometimes forget that they are adopted and not white like me. As my favorite blogger Carlos Whittaker said in a similar dialogue, “I think that’s kinda the point.”

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With kids, I’m dad, alone….thug!

Marc A Quarles, Pacific Grove, CA.   Pacific Grove, I’m African-American my wife is German we have two children a son 15 and a daughter 13. We live in a predominately white affluent area on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Every summer my wife and children go to Germany to visit her parents and other […]

Tiger Moms eat their children alive

Ethan Tsai Boulder, CO Growing up with the stereotypical Tiger Mom supposedly fosters the growth of amazing children, but I have only seen the heartbreak and misery it usually brings. The incredible pressures brought on by parents that want to live vicariously through their children – raising them to only accept being number one (and […]

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You don’t talk with an accent.

Grace Marie Sanchez, Scotts Valley, CA. When I took a room mate to my house after graduating from college this is what she said to my Mother. I was completely embarrassed that she said this to my Mom but she did not seem to realize this was a faux pas. I remember my Mom doing […]

White women kill for that color.

Kavita Charleston, SC As an Indian-American woman working in agriculture, I used to frequently get some variation of this comment when I sold at farmers’ markets. Really? Should I thank you for that comment?

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Who are your ancestors. Be honest.

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 […]

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Lincoln Hills Harlem Renaissance Resort Restored

James Edward Mills. Madison, WI. Often the guidance we need to create a brighter future can be seen through the fading images of the not-so-distant past. And by coming to a better understanding of where we have been we can set a path toward where we most want to go. Less than an hour’s drive […]

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Life is Beautiful Don’t Stop Living

Emma GreenWood, USA. I live by these words. I believe life is beautiful, no matter how difficult. Every day we wake up, we never know what’s in store for us. It’s exciting and wonderful to just be alive, that’s why it’s “being alive”. Being alive is amazing, and fulfilling. Before we know it, life is […]

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Music teacher listening to student cries

Jamie Coppa, Asbury Park, NJ. As a music teacher with an almost entirely black and hispanic student body, I was met with stories of oppression, lack of food, disrupted sleep, abuse, incarceration, and even the murder of the loved ones they so deeply cared for. I will never forget the beautiful music my students expressed […]

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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 English. Standardized assessment. No chance.

Katrina Des Moines, IA As an ELL teacher, this came from when I had to give a student who was new to the country from Vietnam an annual standardized assessment. She hardly new English, had been in the country for less than two weeks yet she was still required to take a standardized assessment in […]

Your German parents started the war

Janice Cooper, MN. My newly married parents immigrated to the U.S. from Germany via Ellis Island during the mid 50’s to follow the American Dream. Growing up in small town Michigan and attending Catholic school, my younger brother and I were constantly accused of being Nazis during our grade school years. Even though my parents […]

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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 […]

Willing to LISTEN, not only hear.

Rochelle Fritsch WI The country’s history and current tension around race and ethnicity create a pull in which some of us need to talk about it, while others of us are so afraid, ashamed and uncomfortable that we only HEAR the concerns of others rather than listening, reflecting and perhaps even learning from them. Some […]

I always knew I was different.

Coleen Owens Katy, TX We (my sisters and I) were often the “minority” – growing up in a military household and moving often – whether it meant repeatedly being the new student or not speaking the language, we had many rich experiences because we didn’t fit in… we were nomadic for a time, and taught […]

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Yes, I was born in America

Yonah Vang, Fresno, CA. Most of the time in high school, students who are not Asian are really confused. They can not understand that the Hmong ethnicity is a type of Asian. They also constantly assume that I was born in a different country.

“You can’t say that stuff here”

Danielle R, San Francisco, CA. Someone in response to their friend’s racial slur at a party… How about you can’t say that stuff anywhere? Racism hasn’t been defeated, it has moved behind closed doors. Change won’t happen if people only call their friends out when they’re worried that someone will hear. Just because there’s no […]

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She’s so basic, typical white girl.

Marryn Hilliker, Strasburg, PA. I chose these words that are jokingly spoken towards me very frequently. I’m a 20 year old white girl, blue eyes, red hair (although my “basic-ness” was worse when I was a blonde) attending college, who just happens to be apart of a sorority, loves Starbucks coffee, participates in the Netflix […]

United we stand,divided we fall

Justin Singh, Cupertino, CA. Race shouldn’t divide us and we shouldn’t split ourselves off based on the color of our skin. If we do that humans in general wouldn’t be strong as we are together. In our ancient past we survived by being together and living harmoniously. If we continue to split ourselves off based […]

I am Latina and I want to prosper.

Angela Cendejas, CA. Too many people suggest that its best that I stay at the junior college in my small town, but I want to go big. I want to go ivy league, East coast, expensive. I can make a difference and just because I have started out low doesn’t mean I can’t prevail. I’m […]

I’m Tired

Christopher McDowell, Columbia, SC. I am tired. I’m tired of having to preface conversations with blacks with ” I’m not racist” because the media has told you all whites are racist. I’m tired of being told I cant have an opinion about race because I’m white, since when is logical thought a minority only thing? […]

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I’m an Arab named Dave Hall

Dave Hall, Brooklyn, NY. I get my name from my Yankee (English-American) father, whose ancestors arrived in Boston in 1630 but I get my complexion from my Arab-American mother. People do a double take when they first meet me after only hearing my voice on the phone. And new friends quickly learn that I am […]

White skin is the best camouflage

C. Badour, MI. In America today, the best way to fly under the radar is to be white. Assumptions are made about blacks, asians, and hispanics based purely upon race, which cannot be said about whites. Non-whites seem to stick out in America, as if being white is considered a social norm and being non-white […]

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Lie. Pretend to be “less Black”

Anonymous, USA. Someone, maybe many people, in my family took on the persona of mixed race Black/Native Americans so they could be, what? Less Black? I don’t know if it was my father’s generation, or his father’s, or even farther back. I grew up thinking I was Indian and consequently less connected to my Black […]

Who doesn’t have a little identity crisis?

Ben, Madison, WI. Every time I think about race, especially when I’m asked to indicate it, I feel three things: anxiety, resentment and shame. Anxiety: Even if I have the option not to indicate my race I feel a wave of anxiety. I have a “White name” and light skin, English was my first language, […]

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Cute when thin, angry when fat

Nicole McFarlane, Fayetteville, NC. I’m a 43 year old black woman who has spent most of her adult life living and working in the South. I notice that when my weight fluctuates I’m perceived differently — as different stereotypes associated with my race, gender and sexuality. At times when I’m heavier, many assume me to […]

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Anymore, afraid of what we represent.

M.W., Brooklyn, NY. We have been in our neighborhood for coming on ten years and in that time it has changed from ‘Bed-Stuy’ to ‘Clinton-Hill’ to ‘Fort Green East’ as the realtors slowly remade and gentrified neighborhoods. Each economic surge carved out new districts and displaced our neighbors. The most recent insurgence of peoples have […]

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Dirty drunk Indians, but not you.

Doey Cushman, Portland, OR. So I am of mixed race Chinook Indian and northern European. Many times white people forget and will talk about natives catch themselves and then say they don’t mean me. This has happened many times over the years even coming from my own relatives. My own children and grandchildren are very […]