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.
Nicole, New Orleans, LA. Black women are so obsessed with their hair that it can totally consume their life… “I can’t get in the pool ‘cuz I can’t get my hair wet”. “Girl, I can’t work out and sweat and mess up my hair”. “I can’t buy that. I gotta pay to get my hair […]
Tamera, Evans, GA. I still hear this comment from people even after being in a 32 year long loving marriage, having 3 children, and 5 grandchildren. I have heard that comment or a similar one from whites and blacks and that is truly sad to me. Love has no color boundaries in my eyes and […]
Philip Harding, Chesterfield, MO. Let’s build communities that are strong. Let’s have dialogues. Let’s become each other, let there be empathy, learning and understanding. Break down walls, build up culture. Create. Communities where we educate our children, eat well, and build lasting bonds. Let’s make our communities racially diverse. As long as we segregate ourselves, […]
Randy, Richmond, TX. Dividing ourselves is counter productive. It will not be easy, not everyone will be on board. Love, respect, communication, and unity has to be the formula for change.
Christian J. Collier, Chattanooga, TN.
Anita Gardner Farrell Huntington, WV
Jane Meacham, Washington, DC. My dad is a lawyer in Kansas City, MO, who always had mostly black, working-class clients. When the city school district started to decline in quality in the early 1970s, we moved away to a nearly all-white suburban school district nearby. So I realize now, all these years later, that his […]
Courtney Chandler, Roseville, CA. The inherent racism our society exists with is devastating. It’s been more apparent since Trump became president, but that doesn’t mean we can become complacent after he is out office.
Luis Toro, Denver, CO. They try to tell us Hispanics are either white or black but my family’s ancestry is definitely Native American, we even know what tribes.
Diondra Hogan-Ansong, Fontana, CA. Self love is important and I love me. I look in the mirror at times and I say to myself “You’re freaking amazing” and so is everyone reading this. CBU HIS311
Peter Smucz, USA. The concept of race is actually a manifestation of a very old and fundamental human process, that of ingroup and outgroup identification. It developed for a single purpose, to facilitate harm against the outgroup, in this case the race in question. But hatred doesn’t come out of nowhere, their needs to be […]
Joseph Brown, Lake Elsinore, CA. Being a black male in America is complex. Not only do we have to fight systemic racism, we also have to overcome various obstacles that present themselves in our in communities. One example of systemic racism is what we’ve recently been witnessing from police officers murdering people of color and […]
Brent Pappas, Cooper City, FL. Normally, I feel it is prudent to forgive others when they wrong us, and to remember their previous actions in order to predict how they will act next and best prepare for it. Increasingly however, I have begun to feel that perhaps it would be for the best if everyone […]
Patricia Burns, Los Angeles, CA. Thank you.
Jeri Grigsbay, Magalia, CA.
Jessica, CA. I am a white female living in California with my white family. I grew up in an area where I was one of a few white girls in my school. I made friends of all different races and came to understand the benefits of diversity, however, it wasn’t always a pleasant experience. I […]
Adrian Headley, Roslindale, MA. Thanks for the wall!
Julie Kendall, Duncan, OK. I feel stereotyped and judged just because I was born a white female and am considered a conservative, and am older. I didn’t choose my ethnicity any more than the next person. What’s this term “privileged” that I keep seeing posted everywhere in conjunction with being white? That’s kind of offensive. […]
Travis Crawford, Visalia, CA. NFL players (and others) are kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and other injustices toward African Americans (that is my understanding of the situation). First, they are free to do so, as is their right. I feel that (mostly white) people have the right to complain about it […]
Taylor Yarbrough, New York, NY.
Jenna DeBell, LONGWOOD, FL. Race doesn’t exist, we create it. The concept of race has always baffled me. Judging a person’s character, intelligence and abilities merely by the color of their skin does not correlate in anyway. In fact, it seems ridiculous. Race is referred to as “groups of people who have differences and similarities […]
Spencer, Wilmington, NC. Everyone dies. And when we do die, there will be no color, just bones and dirt. It’s funny that race is so important when it doesn’t last forever. We only have a short time on the earth and yet we spend so much time dividing ourselves based on something superficial, that no […]
Anne Gruel, Canada. My partner is from Jamaica and identifies as mixed race. His parents are black, but he has very light skin and has many white ancestors. I hate it when people ask: “Is your boyfriend black?” Yes, he is black. No problem with that. What they are really asking me is why am […]
Terri F. Reilly, St. Louis, MO. I don’t only teach white college students, but many of them come into the classroom with blinders of privilege that need lifting.
Annabel Knight, Austin, TX. We were talking about SS Disability, and he said “No, it’s not hard at all to get on disability–all you have to do is be a fat Mexican.” So wrong, I just couldn’t be silent. My husband backed me up, most of the rest of the table squirmed uncomfortably. Why is […]
Rob Bockman, Columbia, SC. Neutrally, “race” is a series of classifications designed to serve as a shortcut. Realistically, it’s a way to ignore, drown out, or cause harm to others. Charitably, it can also be a deep and abiding source of self-awareness and understanding. It’s not inherently negative, but it is, at base, reductive.
Nedra De Lima, White Plains, MD. Experienced “minority status” when we moved stateside from Hawaii in the 70s. I was most often identified as Hispanic/Mexican. Was also identified as generic Native American or African American. Also Inuit or Louisiana Creole. Too many times, I only became acceptable after I identified as Hawaiian Chinese. Then I […]
Robert Symens Bucher, Oakland, CA. Aspen X I am a white man, and I realize that the concept of race was created by people like myself a long time ago. The purpose of race was to create a tiered society in which white people had superiority to the other races. It is important for all […]
Mary Karpen, Grand Rapids, MI.
Danielle Guevarra, Honolulu, HI. Everyone has different cultural beliefs and norms and they should be celebrated.
Eryne Tinajero, Honolulu, HI. I am biracial. I wasn’t raised with much knowledge of either culture. It’s always tough to visit the two different sides of my family. I feel as if they don’t see me as one of them. I feel like an outsider because I don’t know the cultures. I don’t know the […]
Dee Johnson, New York, NY. To start, I should say that I do not think that African-Americans should leave America. I think that the U.S. is still the land of freedom and opportunity for everyone, regardless of skin color. My question is for those African-Americans who feel that the U.S. is intolerably racist and that […]
Elizabeth Clair Winslow, Denver, CO. No one from my immediate family showed up when George and I were married. But when Olivia was born, all that changed. George was from Jamaica… a brown man. I was from Maryland; Mom said black Irish. Olivia teaches us about Intersectionality and Bias, twenty years later.
Janet Davis, Huntsville, AL. I live in the South where we have always had a larger black population as long as I can remember & we have always gotten along. It’s insulting when I see so many people talking about the Southern states being such a hotbed of racists. No place is perfect, but I […]
Stephanie Lucianovic, Menlo Park, CA. My words come from Hamilton, and they have become even more powerful for me to remember and say to others since the recent election.
Kristin Barker, Washington, DC. Thanks for this project. Love you, Michele!
True Native, Vacaville, CA. It is sad to say that racial discourse in America has degraded into a petty fight for blacks first, all others, well who cares about all others. The level of fatigue with black-centric race politics is extremely high. No other race is given such accord in the theater, the movies, sports. […]
Deirdre Stoelzle, Casper, WY. In Rwanda there were times that I was the first white person some Rwandans had ever seen. Mostly people wanted to touch my skin, my hair, but at one prison there were two little girls with their mother, bringing food to their imprisoned father. They saw me and screamed in horror. […]
Madison Martin, Ewing, NJ. Growing up in a predominantly white town, race was not a topic of much discussion in the classroom. My parents were good role models to me and my brother and did not hide us from the world outside the “bubble” of our town, but the rest of my town seemed to […]
Kenzie Raulin, Silver Spring, MD. It gets harder and harder to awaken to the pain caused by ‘white’ folks, out of ignorance, pain, greed. It’s not our fault, but I do feel it’s our responsibility to help change the world.
B B, Flathead Indian Reservation, MT. One may change; one may relinquish imposed ideas of self. Maybe every day; maybe every hour. Maybe never. I searched the Race Cards for the keyword “sorry”. Of the 32 six-word uses of the term, 22 were ironic, 8 were apologetic, and 2 were preceded with the word “not.” […]
Dustin F. Hecker, Needham, MA. Identity politics will be the death of the grand American National experiment. In my humble opinion, we need to stop focusing on the 2% of our DNA that makes us look different than others and focus on the 98% of our DNA that makes us really quite similar. That does […]
Lois Ann Knezek, Sanger, TX. I was born and raised in Hawai’i to a Hawai’i born Japanese woman and an Irish Bostonian. Luckily, in Hawai’i, everyone is mixed so I didn’t feel any different. Then I married a haole from Texas and moved to a culture where people didn’t know what I was. I wasn’t […]
Jaclyn Huelbig, Edison, NJ. I’m white. When I was a child, I lived in a city (the type that hipsters remain uninterested in!) and I had friends of all races and religions. I had the benefit, for example, of having a conversation with my friend when she chose to don a hijab (her older sister, […]
Jolynne, Chino, CA. If someone makes me nervous it’s usually because they’re different to me. Different than what I’ve been exposed to. It’s hard to emotionally stay with the difference regardless of what that difference is. The brave ones of us stay.
Mark Parker Baltimore, MD I write this as a white person myself. And as someone who has always lived and worked in incredibly diverse communities and cities. I am the leader of a religious community, and a leader in a neighborhood, which includes a healthy percentage of folks that fall into this category. I feel […]
Lani Broederlow, Salt Lake City, UT. I am Polynesian. I have been told that my appearance does not reflect my last name. It is of Dutch descent and the funny thing is, it’s not even my last name; it’s my husband’s. It’s strange how we tend to sort each other into categories and labels. I […]
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 […]
Chuy Benitez, Houston, TX. When you grow up at the collision of two countries, of two cultures, of two identities, you learn very quickly the different nuances between the two cultures and you adapt to appease whichever culture you have to encounter. It makes you more observant, but of course it doesn’t occur without making […]
Brian McAllister, Barre, VT.
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 […]
Oliver Parr, Tuscaloosa, AL. Being white in the state of Alabama automatically means that most people assume the worst. I was raised in the State of California where race truly is not even a topic of discussion. I grew up not looking at the color of a persons skin but how tough it is. I […]
Arlene Arias, Waterbury, CT. As an adult, I am an educator and social worker who fights for equality and promotes the value of diversity.
Jason Williams, Nashville, TN. Take pride in this great nation, remember those who built it.
Robert S. Davis, Hanceville, AL. My southern blue collar father said that he never voted for the party but only for the man. Most of his life he voted for Democrats but in his last years he voted all Republican. He always voted for the biggest bigots running, even if only by party association, Dad […]
La Toya Plummer, Greenbelt, MD. Although I have lived with three strikes for more than twenty years, the color of my skin always has been and always will be fundamental to who I am. When you are colorblind, you do not see me. Overlooking a portion of me that is susceptible to the brutal ignorance […]
Derek Haines, Fort Walton Beach, FL.
Nicole Turek, East Lansing, MI.
Adrienne Davis, Durham, NC. I feel like white folks want to consume our pain and oppression but don’t want to commit to be accomplices in the work. Our pain is suppose to “help them grow”. No. That’s not how this works.
Tina, MI. These six terms are my experience as it relates to every work environment I’ve encountered. I’ve been successful whereever I’ve worked and am now busy doing the “enterepreneur thing” (successfully). My employment experiences have all been the same. Single black female, alone in a sea of white as if no other qualified blacks […]
Rachel Masilamani, Pittsburgh, PA. I was eating lunch alone in the break room on my first day at an office job when 3 of my new co-workers peeked in. “Are you Hispanic, or just Italian?” one of them blurted out. Neither, actually. This lady just laid down her line for White and Not White and […]
Stefanie Bernosky, Houston, TX. I was raised as an All-American girl to an All-American family in an All-American town. I even looked “All-American”, proudly featuring my braces and American Flag sweater in this dated family photo (circa 1994). We can trace my family (both sides) to the United States prior to the United States Revolution. […]
Nicholas Howe, Northhampton, MA. Smith College I attended a mixed-race suburban public high school in Connecticut, where I competed on both the swim team and the track team in the late 80’s. Only one member of the swim team was African American, and his race was the elephant in the room that nobody would talk […]
Aimee Mallery, Rochester, NY. My daughter is Native American on her father’s side. When faced with a form for daycare, I had to choose whether to label her Native American or Caucasian. They insisted she couldn’t be both.
Mark Steensland, Elk Grove, CA. Mark provides a link to: When Readers Do Get It by: Nicholas Kristof, featured in the NY Times to illustrate his 6 words.
Nvizaboman, Syracuse, NY. Pointing a gun in the face of a Black boy or choking a Black man, is not a common cultural practice in the Black community. I just feel that needs to be said. Please stop killing us because our lives are an appointment we don’t want to miss. Thank you.
Reesa Motley Reynolds Annapolis, MD
Theresa Muir, Brooklyn, NY.
Mike Cruickshank, England. As an an Afro person, I feel that the dominant society (people who call themselves White) have subtle and blatant ways to say “You are other”. Perfect example… These things called micro-agressions are the new way to say ” this is the society. You will always be outsiders, tolerated only”. When it […]
Jen Davison, Seattle, WA. I am White. When I voted for Obama I said “I don’t see color.” Well, I do now–and I feel ashamed and flabbergasted that I’d not realized my privilege before. Trying my best to dismantle my own White-Supremacy beliefs and behaviors and to be an ally–or at least to hurt people […]
Catherine Moses, Port Arthur, TX. Let it be known for posterity’s sake that I am white, but I want equality, too. We’re on the same side. Why don’t we use that instead of talking about how I can’t possibly understand? You’re right, I can’t understand. I’m sorry. Let’s move beyond that and work together for […]
Kate McFerrin, Oak Park, IL. I recognize we need to change; the US is, without question, systemically racist. However, as one individual, I don’t feel like I have great power to change much. It’s hard to feel hopeful.
Greg Bryan, San Francisco, CA.
Kevin Johnsrude, USA. If you feel unwelcome or unheard or afraid, hang out with me. I promise to listen fully and lovingly to what you have to say.
Kathy, Philadelphia, PA. I saw a student I work with wearing a baseball cap and a hoodie tied tightly around her face and I said “You’re rockin’ your perpetrator look today.” I didn’t realize I’d upset her until another staff member told me. I was mortified.
Jessica H, Seattle, WA. A society which chooses to live with such oppression and misery becomes a society without trust or hope: a nation of desperate confidence men hoping they too will not be nothing, despised, a thing without hope.
Paula Trucks-Pape, Wisconsin Rapids, WI. What a fantastic and simple writing prompt, exercise for students, all around thought provoker! Thank you.
Treylieus Curry, Denton, TX. Everyone has a story and their road my not be pretty or easy to navigate but the destination is freeingly beautiful.
Chuck, Portland, OR. It’s that look. The look I’ve seen all my life. Like you just found a gross bug in your house that you don’t want to deal with. I don’t think that the look is intentional but it’s the first thing I see when you see me, and I immediately know that you’ve […]
Dustin Fife Blanding, UT. My other would have been…No one wins where I live.
Eric Flores, Lubbock, TX. I am a Mexican-American or simply put American. I was born and raised in a conservative town. I was too Mexican for the Whites and too White for the Mexicans. I was stuck in the middle. I always wanted to be white but now I am glad that I am Mexican. […]
Sophia Carroll, San Antonio, TX.
lowernine.org, New Orleans, LA. lowernine.org is engaged in the long-term recovery of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward after Katrina and the levee breaches of 2005. While this historic community enjoyed one of the highest rates of black homeownership in the nation prior to the federal flood, the pace of its recovery has been glacial.
Anonymous, St. Paul, MN. “O’Hare had a little notebook with him, and printed in the back of it were postal rates and airline distances and the altitudes of famous mountains and other key facts about the world. He was looking up the population of Dresden, which wasn’t in the notebook, when he came across this […]
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 […]
Carly Mayer, Portland, OR. Often I hear white people say that they are not privileged because they aren’t wealthy, or because they aren’t straight, etc. But white people have a privilege that most of us are unaware of. We don’t get pulled aside at airports or pulled over by police officers or verbally assaulted solely […]
Robin Fisher, Boulder Creek, CA. I identify with people in marginalized demographics who have experienced victimization at the hands of the social majority since I suffered abuse there as well; not the same kind, but abuse nonetheless. I watch their journey carefully to discover clues on how to move beyond victimhood. I understand the rage […]
Isabella Garcia, Portland, OR.
Ayvee Verzonilla, San Francisco, CA.
George Days Jr., Newark, NJ. I think when you do, you’re see the reflection of your own image & needs…….
Claire Olson, Portland, OR.
Patty Hall, Alexandria, VA. I have a precious bi-racial blessing; My Grandson. He doesn’t see color either, but sadly he knows other people do. There’s a song that many of us sang in Church growing up. “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and Yellow, Black and White they are […]
Dhani Slater, Houston, TX. Great expression idea (the Race Card). I believe our differences should draw us together out of a healthy curiosity, and a thirst for learning about the diversities of humanity & nature that make things special.