“You remind me of my mother.”

Susan Boyer, Decatur, GA. These words were spoken to me by a young black waiter. I’m an old white woman. “We got a connection”, he said. And I felt it. I was so touched by his generosity of spirit. I walk around my diverse city, aware of my racist culture and upbringing and practice looking […]

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OSMONDS BETTER THAN JACKSON 5, WHY?

Juleah Richards, Chippewa Falls, WI. BORN IN 1960; ST.PAUL MINN. LIVED IN WONDERFULLY MIXED NEIGHBORHOODS IN SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS UNTIL I WAS 10YRS OLD. MY MOM MARRIED A FARMER FROM RED RIVER VALLEY. WE MOVED TO SPOT 10 MILES FROM NORTH DAKOTA AND 90MI FROM CANADA. THERE WERE ONLY SCANDINAVIANS AND FRENCH FOLKS. NONE OF MY […]

Will you still talk to me?

Susan Duncan, Bristol, NH. When I was in the fourth grade, my family moved from Concord, North Carolina, to Leaksville (now Eden), North Carolina. Our street, Patrick Street, was parallel to Henry Street and the dividing line between the “white” neighborhood and the black/African-American neighborhood. Our next door neighbor, Miss Mary, had a large yard […]

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Never Visited the Country I Claim

Joelle Kanyana, TN. When people ask me where I’m from, my answer is always, “I’m Burundian.” However, there is often an identity crisis in my mind because I was born in Ghana and have spent most of my life in the United States. Furthermore, I never learned Kirundi, Burundi’s native language. But Burundi is the […]

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I survived the white flight.

Misty Johnson, Lilburn, GA. I moved to Georgia in 1988 when I was 8 years old. My father left his job on the oil rigs to start his own landscaping company in Lithonia, Georgia. I was a minority at my elementary school back in Texas, which was predominately Hispanic. The move to Atlanta was different […]

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I will never really ‘get it’.

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 […]

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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 […]

So I Am an ALIEN, Apparently

Repeka Touli, Murray, UT. “Alien” is the one word I grew up hating because when I was old enough to carry an Identification card (for having a job), I thought it was the coolest thing ever because it made me feel like I‟ve grown up and I get to own one just like the adults […]

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I’m not allowed to be country.

Rhonda Gilbert, Crowley, TX. I’m black and grew up in the rural south. My experience was very much small town, and I interacted primarily with other blacks until college. Although a large part of my perspective is influenced by my country upbringing, I don’t feel welcome in that “country” space.

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Black business is GREAT business too!

Anika Dixon, Little Rock, AR. The color of my skin should not determine the type of house I can sell you or the type of properties I can manage for you! You allow me to manage your ‘hood properties’ but you allow your own to manage your ‘no problem’ properties. REALLY??

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Free Black since at least 1820

Sherryl N Weston, Denver, CO. I was an adult before we learned the full scope of my mother’s complete ancestry story. Timbuctoo, NJ was co-founded by my 5-generations ago grandfather. Looks like he was a part of the 1860 Battle of Pine Swamp, where the residents beat the tar out of slave catchers who had […]

How many people in your party?

Tsvia Tabuchi, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I am married to a Japanese man for 30 years , and have two beautiful children. Every time we go out to a restaurant or theater other people think I belong to a different group.

I don’t plan on changing ever.

Zahnyah, Philadelphia, PA. I am me, I act the way I act because that’s just me, I am going to be me forever so if people don’t like it they need not talk to me or they might as well as just get used to it. I’m not going to change unless I feel as […]

What happened to the word “negro”?

Amy Connelly Provo, UT In teaching about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to my high school students, I had to pause and do some research when I ran across the word “negro” repeatedly used by Dr. King in both his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. I did not know […]

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Out of Appalachia, into the world

Katie Pickard Fawcett, McLean, VA. Grew up in Eastern Kentucky in a county that is in the bottom 5% economically in the country. I have done social work in Appalachia, tutored students for SAT prep in VA, worked at the World Bank for 10 years, and am the author of To Come and Go Like […]

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Only whites can end racism

Gay White, W. Bloomfield, MI. I am a product of the civil rights movement and I watched racism go underground until we had a Black President then it all started to rise to the surface we are only seeing what had always happened the difference is that we are going to have to teach then […]

My generation should know better

Ann Marie USA I didn’t understand how much racism still existed in America until I moved to Missouri for college. As a white female, second year college student and only 19 years old, I am absolutely disgusted with the racial slurs I still hear today. Coming from San Diego, I grew up with Latino friends […]

I was there, so were friends.

Daniel Cohen Stroudsburg, PA I am so grateful that you have this exhibit. The sixties and the political movements of that time were so exciting to be part of. We could sure use that passion and commitment today. In spite of King, would anything have happened without blood? Is that what it will take today?

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Strength in pedigree proud of race

Tory Robinson, Omaha, NE. I refuse to be fearful growing up in Texas, I learned fear is an obstacle. I now live in Nebraska a state that hides its racism but I won’t be broken because of the strength in my pedigree.

Spoke about King, classmates shunned me.

Kit Arnquist Longville, MN In 1968 I was a senior in high school. The day after Dr. King was assassinated, the principal asked if anyone would like to speak about him over the intercom. I did. My friends would not sit with me on the bus that afternoon.

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I wish that Race meant EQUALITY.

Becky White Feather Riney, Quincy, IL. I am Native American and Caucasian. I hate knowing that there are people out there that simply because of the color of a person’s skin means (to them) they think someone Black (African American) or any race OTHER THAN WHITE is less than or undeserving of their acceptance, love […]

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Still figuring out my six words.

Rob Moore, Oak Park, IL. I was raised in Southern California, born into a military family. I’ve lived most of my life in a white–or beige–bubble. Recently, because of an important and loving relationship, I’ve been thinking a lot more about race as it affects us today. Reading Claudia Rankine, Patricia Smith, many others who […]

Me, white child on Black bus.

Rebekah Porter Birmingham, Al I was an 8 year old white child in the Fall of 1972. In August of that year was the first time I set foot in Alabama, in a small town, home to a white writer who had had cross burned in his front yard. I didn’t know that famous author’s […]

Blacks beat me, I forgave them

Bob d West Chester, PA It happened in the summer of ’68. I was alone at a concert at the city stadium in Glen Cove, NY. There was chanting, black kids -some of them friends from school- surrounded me and I was beaten unconscious. It wasn’t personal. Dr. King had been murdered, it was summertime, […]

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“We” – Muhammad Ali

Kelly O’Brien, Carmel Valley, CA. Muhammad Ali used to say that this is the shortest poem in the world… He stood at the microphone and turn both hands first to himself, and he’d say “Me”. Then he reverse his gesture toward the audience and say “We”. I’ve always loved this incredibly astute and simple act […]

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The young are not naturally prejudiced.

Adam Jones, Chaska, MN. I am a para in a special education class, and the high school in which I work is very diverse. The longer I work in this field, the more I have come to see that kids are kids. People are people. I am frustrated, elated, encouraged, concerned, and inspired by all […]

I’m white I’m not white trash

Madison, West Bloomfield, MI. I don’t have much to say. But I am a white girl, and I have been called white trash before, I walk into a public place and people my age who I have never met before start whispering and laughing at me, I had just happened to hear the phrase “white […]

I Never Know How to Feel

Anonymous Plattsburgh, NY I grew up in a rural upstate NY town–hating everything that seemed bigoted or prejudiced. I loathed a lot of the people I knew in adolescence who held tight to old racist values. I went into college with an open mind and an open heart. I don’t know what happened next. Our […]

Model minority myth perpetuates our oppression

Kristy Luk, Cambridge, MA. I am an Asian-American woman, and my racial identity is not to be used as a weapon of oppression against other people of color. My story, and that of my immigrant parents’, will not be held up as examples of how “some folks can make it, if they try hard enough.”

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Your soul is deeper than skin color

Melissa Pierce, Bowling Green, OH. As people, we need to start seeing each other for who they are rather than what they are. People have personalities, souls, and feelings that we are not taking account of when we only see skin color.

I’m afraid I’ll hurt your feelings

Eileen Morgan, Durham, NC. #afterferguson I’m part of the “dominant” race with privileges that I did not earn. I’ve been listening and learning about racism a long time, but many times I still “goof up” and say stupid things that hurt the feelings of people of color. I’m really tired of this separation and am […]

Doubling Down on the Race Card

Cheryl Head Washington, DC President Barack Obama has too much grace or perhaps it is too much political presence to play the race card. So, I’m going to play it for him and raise the ante. From the “you lie” shout during the State of the Union Address to the terrible debacle of legislative gridlock, […]

Identity is fluid; context is everything.

Zoë McLaughlin, USA. Waiting in line for the Chinatown bus in New York City, a man approached me and began speaking Spanish. I squinted at him and briefly pondered my response. This was not the first time someone has expected me to speak Spanish. As soon as I began making forays out of my predominantly […]

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Haitian-Irish mix? That’s a first!

Josh Benjamin, Philadelphia, PA. Almost nobody ever guesses me to be a black-white mix. This has led to numerous identity issues for me in the past. Now, however, I feel blessed and enjoy my background without calling attention to it.

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I speak better English than you.

Nicole Huber, Colorado Springs, CO. I am Asian American. Being an Asian American, no one clutches their purse tighter when I walk by, and no one finds it surprising that I teach at a university. But despite Asian Americans being perceived as the “model minority,” we are not seen as “real” Americans. I was adopted […]

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Why steal when you’re already looking.

Michael Swanegan, Chino Hilla, CA. Im a 22 year old African American male who lives in California. Whenever I enter a store, gas station, or even a movie theater. I feel an unwanted vibe as if I’m on the radar by all the managers and floor workers. A negative vibe as if I’m being looked […]

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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.

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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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Wear a suit? He’s a “pimp”.

Chris Thompson, Rochester, NY. I have been an engineer for 13 years, and I notice that when I don the regular business casual attire, colleagues not directly in my department think I’m either in food or custodial services. Now I wear a tie daily, and the “compliment” I get is that I look like a […]

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Mexican Irish Girl: agnostic and dry

Joan Socorro Sullivan, Minneapolis, MN. I’m a quarter Mexican and over half Irish, I don’t attend church and I don’t drink. My hair is dark brown, my eyes are blue, I freckle like no one’s business; there’s the black Irish. My hips and bosom refuse to fit in anything smaller than a medium since I […]

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Sicilian urged to embrace black roots

Charles Aloisio, Atlanta, GA. An African-American friend at the Y has encouraged me to get in touch with my African roots since I’m Sicilian Italian as well as Neopolitan. I have often thought of my roots since Sicily was occupied by the Moors for several centuries.

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My husband and I won it.

Victoria True, Bethesda, MD. 15 years of my Miscegenated marriage have come and gone. I married a man who is beyond color blind. Case in point, I came by his place 1 month before we were getting married, and joked there are xxx,xx1 inter-racial couples in the US, and on June 12th there will be […]

Marble faced ghost appears, Racism denied.

Kathy Maloney Johnson, Ormod Beach, FL. Racist rants lightly veiled stringently denied. Actual face appears in marbled swirl. “Take back our country” racism deniers. Racism deniers family of holocaust deniers. Unto the fourth generation eugenics theorists.

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The consequences of hegemony are blinding.

Alba Isabel Lamar, China. The idea of beauty has, for many years, been defined by western ideology and western media. Women of color are both fetishized and rejected but seldom has my experience been that those in power look to judge us based on the content of our character.

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East Europe substitutes Roma for Blacks

Harold Svignor, New York, NY. Humans inherently think in “Me up – You down” terms. We are innately tribal, and somewhat hostile to “the other”. That proclivity has created not only tribal strife, but war, sport, and many other human traits. It is universal and cannot be overcome….except by religious self denial. Non-caucasians have yet […]

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Mzungu: Kenyans say, white skin human heart

Crystal Gregory, Kenya. An American by birth, I live in East Africa. Here my neighbors assume because of my skin I am rich, beautiful, or have extra love to share. I offend neighbors when I refuse to have a househelper or a driver or even, really, detest having a security guard or the other ‘helpers’ […]

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I am the token black girl

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 […]

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Adoptive parents see teachers judge brown

Lynn Schilaty, Snohomish, WA. when attending a teacher parent conference my husband and I didn’t expect what we saw on the faces of teachers when they realized WE were the (white) parents of our adopted daughter. We could see in their split second recalculation on their face as that they struggled to take our daughter […]

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Seven ways to think about race

Fa’aumu Kaimana Elsea, Seattle, WA. The 7. One of the more dangerous routes in King County Metro’s transit system. Never mind that, it’s the stigmas that’s brought about by this statistic. Are we unconsciously becoming afraid of the people in that route when after all, we are just ordinary transit riders?

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We are all spirits of human race.

Katarzyna Smirnov, Longmont, CO. Yes, to expound I am tired of people misusing race or interchanging it with ethnicity. There is not one single genetic marker that distinguishes one ethnicity from another. The only time the color of ones skin should matter if they go missing or you are painting them in which case you’ll […]

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“Race” is fake; I am not.

Dennie T, Atlanta, GA. “Race” is a human-concocted, cultural construct that has nothing to do with biology and everything to do with (negative) cultural conditioning in racist societies. Human DNA produces a single species of humans – not multiple races of humans. If we are to have an honest discussion of “race,” we need to […]

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You can’t be mixed your dark

Myla Ledesma, Westbloomfield, MI. My mother is African American and my father is Puerto Rican. Me and all my siblings are biracial, we all look alike the only difference is their light skin and I’m brown skin. We all have medium length hair. Anytime I’m with them we get ask are we mixed and when […]

No Heroes for Poor, White Males

Francis Lafayette, NC. Much like modern Germans, lower class white males in America have been granted a shame about their past. We’ve been told the History we learn in school is Eurocentric, but as a former social studies teacher, I can tell you that most Americans cannot tell you who Louis IV was. Or John […]

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I know rap, not black people

Toby Johnston USA. I grew up in Los Angeles the 80’s, rabid fan of all things rap. I am white and for many of my friends (Mexican, black, white, lower/middle/upper class, whatever) rap was the music of rebellion. I got called ‘wigger’ by my white(r) friends and heard a lot of hate spewed. And yet […]

Alright if I look at you?

Margaret Snyder, South Portland, ME. I live in a predominately “white” city, but one where there are over 60 languages spoken. I see people of all colors around the city, and I find the languages, clothing, and colors to be enjoyable to experience, but I often feel it is not okay to stop and observe […]

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Yes, you can touch my hair.

Jarae Farrell, Poughkeepsie, NY. My father is West Indian and my mother is black. I grew up in a very diverse town in the northeast, so when I was younger I knew there were people who looked different than me, but race wasn’t really a thing for me until I was in high school. Even […]

The look they gave us! Not love.

Robert Falcon Birmingham, AL Grew up in Birmingham in the 1960’s. My father never gave me cause to judge anyone else because of skin color. He always emphasized that it was the content of their character that really mattered. When I turned 16 one of my good friends introduced me to his family, his neighborhood, […]

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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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Mugged…Most assume black mugger…wrong

Lynne Moffitt, Virginia Beach, VA. When I was living in Louisville, I came home from work and was mugged when I got out of my car. I had looked around before I got out and this nice young man was walking down the sidewalk. He looked like a typical University of Louisville student which was […]

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Born privileged, living poor. Gained perspective.

Elizabeth Foster, Little Rock, AR. Growing up in a mostly-white suburb of Chicago, I was isolated from cultural and socioeconomic differences. Through my privilege, I was able to travel to countries both more and less affluent than that of my upbringing. Now that I live independently & make much less money than my parents, I […]

Hispanic white woman discriminated by every race.

Bridget, Washington, DC. As a child growing up in the Texas Hill Country I was often told to go back to Mexico. I didn’t speak Spanish, and I’m half white. German, Irish, and Finnish to be exact. My dark, curly, frizzy hair and olive skin won me no favors. Years later I live in DC. […]

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My father is racist, I’m NOT

Matt Schoch, Viroqua, WI. I’ve always felt guilt and shame having grown up in a racist household. Even as an adult I’ve felt awkward around people of a different race, as if I’ve done something wrong. My hope is that my race card will help me shed the guilt and shame of being taught to […]