Walter T. Pearson, Jacksonville, FL. I’m a black man, of many various ethnicities, Fifth American generation, from a family of military veterans,including my children who are currently serving in the Afghanistan region wars. I have no relatives from Africa (that I know of),so I wonder WHY must anyone that is not white, have to be […]
Rachel Rodrigo, Chalfont, PA. Instead of blood on my hands, I have white on my hands. There are days when I read or hear people who are also white like me saying or doing terrible things to people different races and cultures. Some days I feel guilty that I’m white even though I didn’t choose […]
Emily Einhorn, Beachwood, OH. Whenever there is talk about racism, a part of me feels guilty. I have lived in a small suburb my entire life. In this town, people joke you’re either black, Jewish, or Asian. I have never witnessed a racist act and I feel as if I’ve missed out on being a […]
Hyosim Nancy Collins, Beaverton, OR. My middle name is Nancy. I was born in South Korea and arrived in the United States when I was 4 years old with my Korean family. Soon after we arrived in California, my father decided we should all have “American” names. When I became a Naturalized Citizen at the […]
Shanyla, Beachwood, Ohio. I hear these words way too often and I always get more and more offended each time. What am I supposed to think when I hear this?
Berthetta Lynne Hill, Kansas City, MO.
Jasmine Shabazz, Beachwood, Ohio. So, never once have I blamed the white kids and there families for slavery. Never once did I say there ancestors enslaved mine. And I hate to look like the girl who always plays the race card, or who always wants to cry about the struggles my ancestors went through. But […]
Celest, Lakeland, FL. Southeastern University, Understanding Human Diversity Class. For everyone living in today’s society; we can all grow if we are honest with our choices, words, & actions. Honesty; that time when my a group of my white friends and I changed the letters on a church sign to say, “church of the nig,” […]
Susi Matthews, Kansas City, MO. I am 1/4 Navajo plus Cherokee and Mohawk. I am also English, Irish, Scots and German. I LOOK white; my full sister looks Native. I experienced the reactions she got when we were kids on vacation. A small restaurant in Colorado thought she was Native America and refused to serve […]
Amber Halverson, Eugene, OR. “Oh good! He doesn’t look like he has any white in him at all!” My first real encounter with my own race that I can remember was when I was in middle school. My white godparents had just adopted a black baby. They “kept his black name”, DiMario, as his middle […]
Tonisha C., Jonesboro, GA. All lives didn’t matter until black lives mattered. This response is no mistake. It is intended to be dismissive of the perils faced by people of color. It is humiliating and degrading to have to explain why black lives matter. It is a waste of time to explain, time and time […]
Ashley Seidl, Lakeland, FL.
Kenneth L. Selmore, St. Augustine, FL. As long as AA’s misuse our economic power in America we will get no respect and our children will continue to die.
Kelly Le, Chelsea, MA. Sometimes I feel like the only way I can feel beautiful is if a white person tells me I am.
Jamal Wills, MD. People often say that black kids need black role models. I sort of cheated. The wild hair, thoughtful eyes, the chin and the smile always reminded me of my grandfather. Yet, Albert Einstein was a German Jew whose prominence in the scientific community reached celebrity status. Even then, he still had to […]
Celeste Havis, Jacksonville, FL. Science and religion alike informs us that the concept of race is an illusion. Why do we continue to hang on to this antiquated concept when it only serves to divide us? I have dedicated my life to building positive human relations and now it appears to me that we are […]
Mckenzie C, Sacramento, CA. Science tells us that race cannot be found in our DNA. There is not one person that could find out about an individuals race based solely on DNA, because it is simply not there. The cool thing about this; DNA is the one and only thing that contains our whole genetic […]
Coco Smith Salem, OR A phenotype is not a race. There is only one human race. What people are calling race, is actually ethnicity. That is a cultural binding construct. It is that diversity that makes the world an interesting place. Without it, none of us would be here.
Shaniah Bartlett, Burlington, VT. I feel that on my college campus, I am not invited to speak out when it comes to race. Sure, they have the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, but I only see one race in the office. We have plenty of diversity events on campus, and I have attended several. I […]
Stephanie Wichowski, Mount Olive, NJ,. I’m proud to be Polish and part Irish but because I’m white and a girl I automatically get grouped into other categories. I get told I can’t dance “because I’m white” and I’m told to prove that I can dance. (Mind you I’ve been training at a dance studio since […]
Bill Dunn Wichita, KS As a white male with almost exclusively conservative Southern roots going back many generations, I am proud of my ancestral heritage. This pride is not diminished by my awareness of and sensitivity to the experiences and feelings of others with a different racial background. In fact, the ability of many in […]
Elizabeth Gonzalez, Hodgkins, IL. I am proud of living in my neighborhood. I did not choose to be born a Latina or living in this neighborhood but no matter how bad it is I still love it. I wouldn’t change a single thing about my life.
Daniel A. Rodriguez, Philadelphia, PA. Hello, my name is Daniel A. Rodriguez and I am 15 years old. I am of Mexican and White descent. My parents came from Mexico shortly before I was born here, in the United States. My father is a construction worker and my mother is a house cleaner, which many […]
Naomi, Grand Rapids, MI. I am an American, of Mexican decent… No, I don’t speak Spanish, no I don’t know where my family is from in Mexico… My Grandparents and Great-Grandparents were born in Texas… I grew up in Gary, IN around mostly Black people… people don’t know what box to put me in. How […]
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 […]
Daniel Martin, Jr. Mayfield, PA. In 2007, I was working in a bakery. For whatever reason, I happened to be one of very few white people that worked there. The large majority of the employees were people of color. I had no problem with this as I had been exposed to many different types of […]
Lateefah Torrence, Brooklyn, NY. At the corner bodega, I’m one of those Black Girls who the Middle Eastern owner must watch from his elevated podium behind the bullet-proof glass. On the subway, I’m a Black Girl on WIC who can give Russian ladies directions to the welfare office. In the taxi, I’m the Black Girl […]
Yilan Miao, Selinsgrove, PA. Maybe we should improved the inaccurate term “racism” with the much more accurate and potentially productive term “stereotype”. As American people always think, I am really good at math and this is the beginning of the third month for me to study in a small town of America. As you can […]
Mohamed Abdallah Italy I have received this backhanded compliment in my adopted home, the US, and around the world many times, and I have commiserated with many African-Americans, Hispanics — substitute any race, creed or nation for “Muslim” — about how grating and disheartening it is. Despite what you have achieved, if you don’t fit […]
Ricardo Chavira, San Antonio, TX. Actor who splits time between SA and LA. Alumnus of TV series Desperate Housewives. Id say I was shocked that industry can’t tap into Latino market, but I’m not. I also realize that we as Latinos have a tendency to get in our own way.
Dr. RW Hall, Fort Scott, KS. It’s good to have pride in yourself and in your heritage but ignorance turns pride into prejudism.
Caitlyn Rize, Ann Arbor, MI. As a waitress on a college campus, the people I work with constantly stereotype their tables before even walking up to them. Oftentimes the other servers will “give their table away” — meaning they don’t want to serve them — to us other servers who give everyone the chance to […]
Jessica Anderson, Denver, CO. I grew up in the Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee, but I now live in Colorado. People always ask ridiculous questions when they find out where I’m from, including, “Did you wear shoes?” and “Where are your overalls?” Being a white, M.A. holding, middle-class woman doesn’t shield me from these stereotypes. […]
Cyerra Hawkins Riverside, CA I’m a African American female and I am irritated behind the fact that people associate African american women as loud and verbose. people are people we all have different personalities and ways of expressing ourselves. Stop with the categorizing and that is for any race or ethnicity. Vicious stereotypes have been […]
Kimi Redd , Submitted via Twitter: @alaKimi.
Betty Rosenda Green, Chino Hills, CA. With the recent controversies of Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone in blackface and Zendaya Coleman having been cast originally to play Aaliyah, I believe it is important to see how deep mainstream media like Hollywood work to erase Black Women, particularly with darker complexions specifically in this case, by […]
Matthew Hartter, Seattle, WA. The feeling of uselessness leads to a desire for superiority.
Kehinde Yemen I sat down at a store today in the middle of Mumbai and a cute little girl about two years old was walking by with her grandma. She took one look at me and refused to come any further. I smiled at her encouraging her to take the few extra steps but she […]
Jeremy J., Denton, TX. I hate when people are talking crap about a race or group of people and they feel like they have to mention “there are good ones out there.” Who do you think you are.
Cayla Olson, Duluth, MN. I have always felt that I had to qualify my racial identity with those six words. I am part native, my mother being Ojibwe and French, and my father being Oneida and Irish. We lived on my mom’s home reservation, and it was never any mystery to me as to what […]
Lashauna Vaughn Warren, MI What is a mad black woman people look at it being loud, angry, violet but I think it is misunderstood for confident, determination ,and strong verbal skills. All these requirements are asked in a job application so who is mad?
Brian Batista Elk Grove, CA
Jeremy Jones, Chicago, IL.
Rita Slowinski Phoenix, MD
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 […]
Lenzy KB, Tulsa, OK. Like many Native Americans, I’m mixed and frankly, don’t look like the stereotypical “Hollywood” Native. I have to balance the Native world — both its contemporary and traditional components — daily with life in modern society.
Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. As a mixed child, I have never felt at home with any culture. My mother was born in the Philippines and my father was an airman stationed there. They are wonderful parents who are absolutely in love with one another. I am one of three children, the middle child and only […]
Eleanor Williams Maplewood, NJ My name is white, my skin is dark. Torn between my minority & majority roots I don’t know who I am.
Amelia Ketzle, Carbondale, IL. I was at a Halloween party no more than two years ago, hosted by a girl I had lost touch with recently, when some new arrivals showed up. Everyone had been having a harmless, normal, good time, when this (white) couple came in carrying axes and machetes and covered in fake […]
Cat Washington DC If I speak in my normal voice, I get ignored and spoken over. If I speak loudly, people look embarrassed (but they still don’t hear what I have to say). I’ve gone through silent periods over the years. It’s tiring, wearing a mask of charm and cultural whitewash. Why is it so […]
Fernando Martinez, McAllen, TX. Some people assume I don’t speak Spanish because I have light skin. But others assume I don’t speak English when they find out I lived my entire childhood in Mexico and English is actually my second language. Little do they know that I can speak both!
Anonymous Athens, GA Centuries ago, on the Horn of Africa, where my parents originated, Arabs crossed the Red Sea then crossbred and/or raped the indigenous Africans. This event has confused generations of “my” peoples’ sense of identity. I pose the question to my mother, “What are we?”, to which she responds, “Look in the mirror. […]
Jeff Marks, Mountain View, CA. I have been hearing about the importance of “seeing race” a lot lately. What does this mean for my life? It can’t mean I should TRY to categorize people, should it? I often meet people that don’t easily fit in a standard racial category. For me, I will take it […]
Cassandra Young, Norfolk, VA. Often times when filling out a survey or application we are asked to select our race. Many of the times the directions state to only choose one. I am biracial and one race does not define me.
Malikah Black, Urbana, IL. Based on stereotypes and neither are my sisters. The media instantly judge African American Women on their many failures, but what about their success? You’re most likely to hear about the statics of African American Women getting pregnant in 2015 on social media than those who graduated from college or trade […]
Skye Kincaid, Tucson, AZ. I may be Asian but I hate math. By suggesting all Asians should be good at math, you imply that I am not good enough. That is not okay.
Delaina Peek, Sarasota, FL. One’s culture and Race is important and defining, but Love overcomes all and we all are the voices of Love
Nicolette, Alpine, WY. “You’re not black.” “No, I’m not.” “Then why do you have black-girl hair?” “I just like braids, that’s all.” When I had my white-girl hair professionally braided by an African hairstylist from Togo, I never expected I would lead people to such confusion. Why did I do it? I just like braids. […]
Annabelle Peoples, Eugene, OR.
Paul Audette , Submitted via Twitter: @wisereturn5m.
Tessa Schultz, Wickliffe, OH.
Mark Cooper Lafayette, IN In elementary school, my best friend turned to me and said, “Mark, I don’t even think of you as asian anymore!” I knew he meant that our friendship had stepped beyond perceived race, but the phrasing could not be anymore alienating. I have family that trace back to the Mayflower, to […]
Irlena A. Rodriguez, Tucson, AZ. Mexican is not a race, and not all Latinos are Mexicans. We have different cultures and ethnicity across Latin America. I am Latina and I am Colombian, Not Mexican. there’s a big difference.
Benjamin Baugh, Athens, GA. I am a white man and my daughter is a black girl. One day, I will have to walk with her down into the woods behind the old family farmhouse and show her the place where the short row of cabins once stood, and I’ll have to own that ancestral sin […]
Cristina Gonzales, Denver, CO. All throughout my life I’ve worked hard to succeed only to wonder if any success, any award, any accomplishment was truly earned, or if I am just helping someone make a quota, create a statistic, or justify an extra dollar or two. The worst is having a seed of doubt planted […]
Nora Woodman, Fishers, IN. What one Jehovah’s Witness said to the other when I opened the door and had yet to say hello.
Adam Paberzs, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Here are some other 6-word essays that you may use under my name (I know that’s probably breaking the rules – just wanted to share if nothing else). Whiteness. Welcome to the real world. Not who I thought I was. Fear. Guilt. Shame. Courage. […]
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 […]
Greg S. Furman, Vancouver, WA. They will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Except white males. Your privilege predetermined your only value.
Eric Chesapeake Beach, MD 1974, I was 14 years old; my dad was in the Army, we were moving to Ohio from Weaver, Alabama. The house we lived in we rented. The owner was selling the house and the realtor was in the driveway talking to my dad one day. The neighbor came over to […]
Thomas C. Hofstra, Los Angeles, CA. My spouses six words are “I try to understand our world”
Daniel Harrison, Auburn, AL. What do I mean by neglected? I don’t just mean the easily targeted racists who are the enemy to be removed or reformed. Nor do I mean to target anti-racist activists who may unknowingly add fuel to the fire with false accusations. I mean the moral problem deep within the human […]
Laura Brengel Clifton Park, NY This is something a “friend” said to me as we dropped the kids off at her house so we could go out to dinner.
Drew Middleton, Summerville, GA. My six words are about people thinking that they are different but they are all basically the same in one way or another.
Ardean Orr, Syracuse, NY. All four of my grandparents immigrated from Italy, so I’m pure Italian, but also white. My father was a jazz musician who often played with musicians who happened to be black, so I grew up in a tolerant home when it wasn’t popular. Growing up in America it seemed like blacks […]
Arleny, Riverside, CA. I am of no race other than myself. My parents are both Mexican, but being judge wrongly for something I’m is not fair.
Bryan Fishkin, South Orange, NJ. As a white male who reaps the unfair benefits of institutionalized racism, I must make it an absolute priority to find actionable ways in which I can help alter the system to better promote actual equality. Acknowledging that the system is broken but doing nothing about it is just simply […]
Ismail A., Minneapolis, MN. My name is Ismail and I live in Minneapolis. I am Somali and I live with my family in an apartment building. A lot of different people live in my building, Latinos, Asians, Africans, African Americans and white people. The manager of the building is mean to the Somali people. She […]
Evelyn Ingram, Leesburg, VA. Yesterday, I cried typing these words and I couldn’t click Submit. I think I’m stronger today. I can’t wait to pass this along. -Evelyn
Tamara G. Cincinnati, OH When thinking of which six words I would use for The Race Card Project I had to ponder for a bit. I automatically thought of the fact that I am Jewish. Being so, I often get questioned about what holidays I celebrate or why we do certain things. Going to BGSU […]
Elizabeth Cook Pittsburgh, PA A white female with all minority students and friends, I am saddened and disgusted that race bias permeates every facet of our culture. What we think of as American culture is actually white culture, and others who challenge it are seen as complainers. Why is BET the only place on TV […]
Sammy Bell San Francisco, CA Blazing Saddles is a satirical comedy by Mel Brooks that mocks racism, elitism, class-ism, cronyism, and sexism in a western spoof. One part of the movie that was most telling to me about the experience of racism for Blacks included the line “I want the very sight of him to […]
Rusty Shackleford Arlen, TX
Karen Jericho, NY Racial discrimination towards asians is unfair. We deserve the same treatment in the media, politics, and college application process. It makes me wish I was black.
Desh Bagley, Tampa, FL. Yes. I am the owner of the science and technology center that offers Java, C++, Arduino, Robotics, and Engineering workshops for students. Yes. I do wish that more girls took classes here. No. The young guys who take classes aren’t surprised by me. Yes. It’s their parents who often ask to […]
Jason Peter Thomas, USA. I did not realize it was a good thing to be proud of my white heritage until gay marriage was legalized in the U.S. I looked up gay rights and found out that white societies provide the most advanced human-rights legislation around the world. This lead me to understand that white […]
Ethan Lowell, Lakeland, FL.
Dakota Jenkins, Lexington, KY. While we may say that “oh I’m colorblind when it comes to race”, we all have those initial reactions that are different for different people. It’s just how we are as human beings. That doesn’t make us a racist. It’s the actions we take after those thoughts emerge that determine that.
Heather Mast, Houston, TX. I’m tired of not being able to express my own opinion for fear of being labeled a hate monger or racist! Im sorry for injustice done but I did not victimize anyone. Many are too fearful to “do anything” to help one another of a different race because then, in turn, […]
Tamara Feiertag, Austria.
Dee Oh, TX. Why isn’t it racist for other people to say that because I’m white, I’m a racist? I am attacked solely because of my skin color from black people. Only from black people. Why isn’t that racist? I add to a conversation that statistically, more blacks are killed by other blacks than by […]
Caroline Ford, Kailua, HI.
Lexie Nobrega, Norfolk, VA. I was never “black enough” to fit in with the black kids, but I am not white either so I obviously did not fit with those kids either. I was called an “oreo” often-black on the outside but my personality was equated to that of stereotypical whiteness. I always embraced being […]
Ladaja Kennedy, Norfolk, VA. Growing up, I went to a predominately white school with mostly white friends. Because of this I was usually not hanging around with people of my same race and ethnicity, thus not sounding like the others or having connection like everyone else did when it came to it. Then later when […]
Anthony Taylor, Norfolk, VA.
Rev. Paul Nulton, Vernon, NJ. I grew up in a very racist family and church. My grandfather subscribed to magazines like “The Cross and The Sword” – John Birch society rants about how African-Americans, Jews, Hispanics (all foreigners) were less human than white folk. I remember the minister ranting about Dr. Martin Luther King in […]
Christine Bunker, Riverside, CA. It is almost that time of year when the weather changes and the tamale pot gets taken out of storage. It is the one time of year when the sound of Linda singing, “Canciones De Mi Padre,” fills our home and our hearts. We feel close to her because she sings […]