Joe Fricke Greenwood, IN My mother’s Great-Grandfather fought for the 121st Illinois Volunteers in the Civil War, was shot and killed in action against the Confederates near Resaca, Georgia. He is buried in an unmarked battlefield grave. I guess he gave his all for the cause too.
Chinna Ford, Vallejo, CA. It’s hard work being the token. You must learn to lighten the mood with an acceptable race joke every so often. When slavery is mentioned in classrooms you must ignore the peering eyes of your classmates. You must, sing, dance and excel at sports because in the words of my white […]
Matt Gilbert, Penfield, NY.
Brianne Hittenberger, USA. It is the end of me, and I of it. My German last name belongs to me, my disabled brother, and my female second-cousin. My brother and I do not necessarily expect that we will marry, or that our cousin will keep our name if she does. When my brother and I […]
Chris Wooten, Rowlett, TX.
Roxanne Darling, Haiku, HI. It’s my personal belief that it’s incredibly challenging to not be racist, regardless of one’s race. Not wanting to be, think, or act racist is not the same as not being racist. So I hereby present myself as a work in progress, as I unplug decades (centuries?) of neurological programming that […]
Samantha Larson, Sandu, UT.
Susan Cooper Alexandria, VA I’m not black, but I really wish that more Americans would show some respect for our first black President.
Jesse Hernandez-Oliver, Modesto, CA. I’m Mexican, African and Native American (Apache and Cherokee soecifically) with ringlet curled hair that resembles finger waves of the 1920s when brushed. Growing up I remember everyone always asking to touch my hair. I can speak some Spanish too so that also through people off,which I always found to be […]
Lauren, Fairpoint, NY. I was required to do this for a MSW course on ethnic diversity. As a white, Italian-American woman, it was very difficult for me to think of an example of a racial micro-aggression that I have experienced. I have coarse, curly black hair. The statement was meant to be an insult.
James E Washington, Rochester, NY. The ego thrives on identification and separation. We seems to be a nation that thrives on dualism, having an “other” a “they or them” as a means to distinguish ourselves from. White, Black; Rich, Poor: Republican, Democrat; Christian, Jewish; Fat, Skinny; on and on. The problem appears to be “ego […]
Michael Havis, Brooklyn, NY. I think the word racism no longer defines the conversation we should be having. The image of racism in America is of the KKK or southern slave owners with whips. Being racist and being a good person are not mutually exclusive. Racism today isn’t being a part of lynch mobs or […]
Margaret Metobo, Chicago, IL. I feel that anywhere I go people look at my race first before I’m human and that’s the way I carry myself out of security.
Lj Johnson, Middletown, OH.
Heather Dalby, Baltimore, MD. My Little was 9 years old when she asked me this question while we colored with crayons. She is a brilliant character with an abundance of self confidence, so her question surprised me. Her family is from everywhere; the US, Great Britain, and the Caribbean to name a few. Her skin […]
Stewart Ketcham, South Royalton, VT. Out of the mouth of my five year old adopted African America son. I am white. We were eating chicken and my skin was crispier. Relief at the simplicity of innocence!
Ryan Gonzales, Vacaville, CA. Everyone looks at my last name and think that I am Mexican because my last name is Gonzales. My family came from Spain not Mexico.
Gabrielle Hainley, Caledonia, MI. I understand that there is discrimination and racism in the United States. But, I also see many people of all races, ages and upbringing that use their race as an excuse to get away with things or as a way to make other people sound like people, when in fact, they […]
Ilana Gorelik, Brooklyn, NY. I’m looking to the cookie, myself.
Katrena Kennedy, Kaneohe, HI. This was a question the Asian (american?) H and R Block representative asked me when she looked at my W2 form and saw how much I had already paid in Federal taxes ($51,000.00), the inference being ” You’re a black female. It is not possible that you could be making that […]
Jeremy Jones, Chicago, IL.
Danielle Giese, Cheverly, MD. This is what my white neighbor called a group of African American young men who were congregating outside of the a local grocery store. Apparently, one of them was showing off his new baby. I wondered if that will be how my sons will be described years from now. Will they […]
Patrick Kenyon, Hamilton, OH. There is a black family living next to me. They would play the stereo loud at night and wake my kids up. They would bang on the walls, leave knives in the front yard, trash etc. After a short while I knocked on their door and asked them to stop banging […]
Kenneth Hosto, Tucson, AZ. I grew up hearing words and observing ideals that I will not share with others. I still hear those words and see those beliefs in practice when I visit with my elderly parents. I am glad that I can change what my family represents as I pass on new words and […]
Jan Spooner, Tucson, AZ. As a white American, I don’t have a strong feeling of culture. My African American, Jewish, Native American and Hispanic friends can all talk about a strong cultural background. Their stories reflect their heritage and what it means to belong to their ethnic group. What is my culture and what are […]
Ivan Vazquez, Sacramento, CA. Although I was born and raised in San Diego, CA ; I grew up in a household that comprised of both the English and Spanish language, about 60% English and 40% Spanish. I am a child of second-generation immigrants and even though I received my entire education in English, I came […]
Bryan Chapman, East Haven, CT. I feel like so often when people of color tell their stories and experiences with racism and injustice some white people are quick to dismiss or deny the validity of those experiences and stories because they themselves have never experienced anything like it.
Tiana, Wildomar, CA. Typically I get complimented on my hair that I have inherited from my mother’s side. As a mixed breed people struggle to figure out what I am exactly, but my hair is a tell tale sign that I am not white. Aside from various compliments I always get that one girl that […]
Elizabeth Swenson, Hacienda Heights, CA. I went to school in NC were it was predominately black & white in2006. My husband and the majority of my friends are Hispanic or Spanish descent. I never really though racism exist coming from LA, CA were its divers. But here I saw people say nasty things, dirty looks, […]
Shannon M., Killeen, TX. My fiance is black. My son is mixed. At THREE years old my son has already encountered racism. Every time my fiance walks out of the house, I worry. When he gets angry at someone or something in public, I get scared and try my hardest to calm him down – […]
Jordan Summers, Bowling Green, KY.
Alexander Calica, II, Carlsbar, CA. This phrase was often used by adults when I was growing up after hearing my answer to their question, “What nationality are you?” I would always respond by saying, “My father is Filipino and my mother is Dutch.” The initial inquiry would be posed after having heard me speak at […]
Taylor Bailey, Huntington, IN.
Nell Haynes, Chile. Sometimes it’s hard being the person that always stands out in a crowd, especially in an impoverished city in the middle of the Chilean desert (the driest place on earth). I get catcalled daily. I’m charged more for public transport and at the market. But I’m always surprised when people ask if […]
Nicole Reynolds, Virginia Beach, VA. Race often goes hand and hand with self worth. Who am I in the world? What does that answer mean? How does it affect my life? Is there anything I can do to change that? I have Ugandan Blood, Taino Blood, Spanish Blood, Past African American Slave blood. What race […]
Paige VandenBrink, Holland, MI. The worst question I have ever been asked is, “Do you love them the same?”. This was a question I was asked when I got a new adopted black cousin. I almost cried because I was too young to understand why anyone couldn’t love someone the same just because of a […]
Mehdi Ettehadulhagh, Norway. Being born in Cameroon, having a Russian father that’s born in Iran, and a mother from Cameroon, and living in Norway but schools in Romania really makes one feel mankind is One. And all of the citizens of earth are one. But it will take others a lifetime to see the world […]
Jan Kappes, Arcola, IL. I have almost no personal experiences with non-whites, just by virture of where I was born & raised, so my ideas about people of color come from the media. Consciously, I know that my fears & suspicions are irrational, but subliminally, they are still there.
Tony DellaCrosse, Jacksonville, FL.
Betty L. Wilson, New York, NY.
Chloe Kandel Wong, Douglaston, NY.
Gwen Montgomery, Dallas, TX. This country took a race of people and turned them into second class citizen. Many of our problems are a result of the oppression we went thru for hundreds of years. I’m afraid that the results of those actions may never be changed. We have been fighting every since we got […]
Roslyn Jefferson, Albany, NY. I grew up in a majority white city, so this was the story of my life! When younger, didn’t know how to address racial issues or topics, when they popped up, with my white friends. Thank goodness I feel comfortable with that now!
Shree Antwanette Bostick, Montgomery, AL. Although I am proud to be an African American I am not proud of the actions and the way we carry and present ourselves as a whole in my community alone.
Moyo Myers, Washington, DC. In that split second when someone (of any race or ethnic origin) sees me (White) standing with my husband (African-American), they decide so much about the quality, depth, and reasons for our relationship. And that shows, in the expression on their face and in the way that they interact with us.
Maynard Hearns, Santa Cruz, CA. The black story in america is very simple: we were slaves, and then we weren’t. We were never given freedom, or equality. When we begged for it, we were lied to. When we Marched on Washington and pleaded our case, we were shot in the back of the head. When […]
Joyce Moody, Windsor Mill, MD.
Martín De Greiff, Winchester, MA. Just because I am hispanic, does not mean I should be working on your lawn… I was walking one day early in the morning after a run and I noticed some hispanic guys working on a lawn on a house with an odd machine. So I stopped and asked what […]
Jaden Miskowiec, Memphis, TN. I went to homecoming with my best friend, who happens to be black. One woman asked my mother if we were dating because she was concerned about our relationship. First time I experienced racial discrimination (though not the first time I had seen it).
MK, Baltimore, MD. A few moments in my “coming into adulthood” stand out as I am navigating the world of race. I remember probably 10 years back now that in conversation with my mother-in-law in a less-than-intellectual blue collar town her speaking of how racism towards white people was apparent in the area. She noted […]
Michael Murton, Bowling Green, KY.
Bruce Brown, Port Jefferson, NY.
Teshlon Chevae Chakravarthula, Fort Worth, TX.
Aubrie B., Moscow, ID. I am an 18 year old adopted Chinese girl. For years, I’ve endured the disgusted looks of onlookers whenever I go out in public with my adoptive father in the most harmless places; the grocery store or a restaurant. Even when my adoptive mother is there, many still glare at me. […]
Felix Zavi, Bellingham, WA.
Ima Oduok, Houston, TX. As a bi-racial child who grew up with her white family, I always wanted to look more like them. When I watch the movie “Belle” and saw Dido try to rub and beat out the darkness of her skin, I cried. I spent my childhood doing the same thing, hoping to […]
Celia Beasley, Seattle, WA. Being an upper-middle class white woman, I know I will never truly understand what it feels like to be a person of color in America. Despite my attempts to be aware of racism in this county through conversations, news stories, interviews, books, this website, etc, I know that I will never […]
Matt Henegar, Jonesboro, AR. I think the we should quit focusing on minor labels, like black, hispanic, asian, and all of the other skin tone variations, and focus on making the world better for all of us.
Arthur Wright, Englewood, CO.
Bryce, Denver, CO. ha•pa (hä’pä) adj. 1. Slang. of mixed racial heritage with partial roots in Asian and/or Pacific Islander ancestry.
Melissa Renner, McAllen, TX.
Colleen Schwab, Seattle, WA. I grew up in a very diverse area of CA where many children were first generation immigrants, and many children were of multi-racial backgrounds, mostly middle to lower class families. And my whole family has grown up with and around people from many different backgrounds. So I had no issue trying […]
Amani, Jamaica. Caribbean born Americans are way more disciplined than African Americans so they should not be put in the same category.
Sanpreet Samra, Canada. Awareness and understanding are the way to fight racsim and this is done by educating everyone.
Ashley Kirkwood, Chicago, IL.
Renata Martello, Media, PA.
Ben Nally, Bowling Green, KY.
Tim McGovern, Chicago, IL. I live in a racially integrated neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. You go to the playgrounds and there are kids of all races playing together, parents talking over coffee and bonding over the crazy things that four-year-olds do. The public school kindergartens, first grades, second grades, third and fourth, […]
Vanessa Pinkney, Joppa, MD.
Maranda, Colorado Springs, CO. My mother says she isn’t prejudice, yet she has negative comments towards me dating a white male. I am Native and Alaskan Native and African American.
Barbara Racca, Austin, TX. When I was younger, that question would immediately cause my shoulders to hunch and a look of hunted suspicion to cloud my features. Today my embracement of otherness is shadowed by so much more than a child’s rejection of being different– Am I rejecting aspects of my race by qualifying that […]
Dave Parnell, Carrollton, TX. Our kindergarten daughter wanted to go to her friend’s Halloween party. I saw that the address and the protective father in me did not feel safe letting her go. But I called and the black man I spoke to certainly heard the fearful white father on the other end of the […]
Diana Emiko Tsuchida, New York, NY.
Nicholas Ellis, Somerville, MA. Being referred to as simply “white” strips me of my ethnicity, of which I am very proud. I look Slavic, I am Slavic, why should I be OK with being referred to in any other way? My people were also slaves, in fact the word “Slave” comes from an old French […]
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 […]
Karen Sturdivant, Lansing, MI. When it comes to matters of race- Stevie Wonder can be seen as the great equalizer. His messages in song are universal and his soul is colorless.
Sharon Bandlow, Haslett, MI. I loved hearing you speak at The Wharton Center on the MSU campus. Best wishes with your project!
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 […]
Holly Wenninger, Malden, MA. I’m white, but for the past six or so years I’ve worked out at n athletic center whose focus is primarily on the POC community — so when I’m there, I’m usually the only white person in the room. A couple unanticipated side effects of this are (a) now when I […]
Anderson Brown, Jacksonville, FL.
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.
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!
Tania Rose, San Francisco, CA. Super-cool, interesting, important, vital conversation. Thank you.
Lauren Maldonado, Athens, GA. I’m white, I know that. But, I have no idea what race I am. I can’t include myself in a certain group. I cannot sympathize with a certain group of people and I cannot judge a group of people because I might be the same race as they are. I’m in […]
Anastasia Peterson, Pittsburgh, PA.
Michelle, Norfolk, VA. When I tell people my father is from Denmark most people in America always ask me why my hair is not blond. Scandinavians have just as many different natural hair colors as they do blond.
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 […]