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Must we forget our Confederate ancestors?

Jesse Dukes, Charlottesville, VA. This question was on my mind recently, when I wrote an article for Virginia Quarterly Review about Confederate reenactors at the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg. I don’t actually have any Confederate ancestors I’m aware of, but most of the reenactors do. All of the reenactors I talked to considered slavery to [...]

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I’m surprised you speak so well.

E.C. Boyd, Canton, OH. I was not born, but I was raised in a predominantly white neighborhood because the school system was better in Perry Township than the low-income, mostly black Canton City Schools. As the only black person on my school’s debate team, I dealt with a lot of people surprised that I could [...]

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I always think “don’t be threatening”.

Kevin Moses, Logan, UT. As a 6’3″, young, Black man, at all times I am painfully aware of my presence in a room and the constant strain of worrying about being perceived as threatening is exhausting. I’m incredibly friendly, and the dissonance that comes from people assuming otherwise hurts.

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Wow, I can’t believe you’re black!

Kelsi Evans, Williamsburg, VA. Growing up in society I have always been questioned about my race. I come from two very, very light-skinned African-American parents, so therefore I am very light, have soft curly “white people” hair, and don’t necessarily “talk black”. Being this kind of person draws attention to myself because people always make [...]

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But where are you really from?

Christopher Lee-Rodriguez, Boston, MA. We don’t live in a post-racial society. We live in a post-race society. We live in a country where in a short amount of time, there will no longer be a majority race. And race is continuing to be reshaped and redefined. I am half Chinese and half Puerto Rican. I [...]

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Stop talking like a white girl

Jasmine Baker East Lansing, MI Growing up I was placed in the gifted and talented program in my elementary school. I learned to speak what this society refers to as “proper English.” Because of that, many Black students would tease me and tell me that I’m black, stop talking like a white girl. What does [...]

Bi-racial means you are nobody’s baby.

Silvija Singh, Pittsburgh, PA. Unlike my sibs, I do not look white, altho I have a white mother. I do not get treated like a Latvian, the way the blond-haired blue-eyed cousins on this side of the family do. Complexion-wise, I look more like my father, who was from India. But among Indians, I am [...]

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People ask B, “What are you?”

Basmin, St. Louis, MO. This question has been asked since I began my earthwalk as though I am something other than human, that I don’t fit recognizable category. As a woman of color in seeking healing for my racial wounds I embraced my spiritual nature, cultivated peace within and embraced each who breathes as a [...]

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Only been victimized by other whites.

Michael Ponsler, Brooklyn, NY. I’ve enjoyed an extremely diverse social life, dated & married interracially and on countless occasions have been the only white person within a crowd, community or family gathering. I have never been harassed, harmed or threatened by a person of another race. However, I have been rejected, assaulted and/or threatened several [...]

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I’m Black, I’m Beautiful, I’m Proud!

Unique Martin, Murrieta, CA. I say I’m black because that is how I identify myself. It’s just that simple. I say I’m beautiful because for many years in my childhood, I thought I was ugly. No one ever said I was, but how I was treated, discriminated against because of my skin color, the diversity [...]

Three degrees, still remember stones thrown.

Akua Lezli Hope, Corning, NY. As a child in the great City, I was stoned and jeered as I made my way to Opportunity classes at PS 156, Laurelton Queens. The only black children were in these classes for intellectually gifted children — not among those whose parents demonstrated against our presence. I had seen [...]

Begin: Befriend someone different than you.

Karen Fritts, USA. We talk and talk about race, but most of us stay in their own corners during the discussion. We cannot begin to understand each other from a distance. We cannot begin to trust one another without understanding. Are you willing to foster a friendship with someone different…a friendship that you are comfortable [...]

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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 [...]

Stop awaiting apologies just do it!

Roberta Smith, Boston, MA. During the conversation, once the white guy spoke about self responsibility a lot of black people were visibly upset and I feel, most black people in the audience stopped listening because they were “offended”. The black rapper basically encouraged black people NOT to get involved in government. What if Obama felt [...]

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A divisive dividing line against commonality…

Anonymous, Summerdale, AL. To fully understand the reasons why race is such a hot button topic in my opinion,is that one must look at the historical basis that set the foundation for the racial discord in this country and beyond its shores.We will never be able to get beyond race until we are truly able [...]

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I have failed my biracial daughter.

Michele Malmstrom, Charlottesville, VA. My daughter has always had very low self-esteem. I tried her entire life to address the problem by complimenting her and giving her the tools for building her confidence: cello lesson, in which she excelled, girl scouts where she achieved the silver award, college educated with a B.A. and at 24 [...]

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But you don’t look Italian

Katie Rotondo, El Segundo, CA. I’ve been learning a lot about race and ethnicity lately. Looking back, it bothers me how many times I was asked what ethnicity I am, responding by saying I am Italian, and getting the famous saying, “But you don’t look Italian!” This is a daily response. Just because I don’t [...]

I don’t fear for my brothers.

Kari Pennington, Chicago, IL. I never have to worry that my brothers, my husband, or my white friends will be violently harassed, assaulted, or killed by the police, the court system, neighborhood watch vigilanties, or any other person or institutions. It happens so rarely to white men that those fears for their safety never keep [...]

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White interracially married sudden paradigm shift.

Barbara Young, Stockton, CA. I’ve realized my own white privilege for some time now. But being the white female half of an interracial marriage, I suddenly experience America in a new frightening way. My husband is a 6’4″ 300 lb black man. I have a plan worked out in my mind of how I can [...]

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Not Racist, Not Privileged, Just White.

Francis Skony, Chicago, IL. Being an almost 40 year old man from Chicago, I’ve always grown up with a melting pot of friends, acquaintances, co-workers. I do not judge anyone by their race – I will have an opinion based on how some present themselves to the world. If you have no respect and no [...]

Racism stops when we respect everyone.

Kathleen E Lo Pinto Vignolini, Long Branch, NJ. No other group, except maybe the Jews, have had such a long period of discrimination against them. From Slavery, to post Civil war (the North won the battle, but lost the war!) of Jim Crow, “separate but equal” led to Segregation both de facto & legalized, all [...]

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Colombian? Where is your accent?

Yessica Guarin Arias, Boston, MA. Yes, I don’t have the same accent as the actors and actresses on TV. The reason to why is because they were born in a specific part of the country in which I am not from. However, people only hear these people speaking “Colombian Spanish”. When in reality Colombia has [...]