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In Indonesia I am asked “Dutch”?

Nancy Deschu, Anchorage, AK. My Dutch ancestors arrived in New Amsterdam in 1624. Now, four hundred years later, I live in Alaska but my roots in New Jersey are strong and deep. While traveling in Sulawesi, Indonesia 15 years ago, locals would ask me, “Blanda?”, or what I learned was a slang term for “Dutch”. […]

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Racism is too weak a word.

Amelinda, New Haven, CT. I am as white as they come… Blonde hair, blue eyes; English, Swedish, Irish, German, French heritage… I grew up in Nebraska, surrounded by the ‘whitest’ people you can imagine. The first ‘black’ person I saw was a professional photographer when I was a toddler, and I was absolutely shocked (I […]

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Being Black and southern, educated engineer

Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. Calling me an Oreo or not really black, or basically a white girl means that you define some part of my personality, attitude, preferences, or demeanor as being owned and attributed solely to white people. Is it my intelligence, my sense of style, or how I speak? Is it because I’m […]

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Too white for my own good.

Lauren Qualters, West Chester, PA. For my race card project I chose the phrase “Too white for my own good” which is most certainly a true statement, in both humerous and negative ways. I am certainly very sterotypically “white” but not in an intentional or discriminatory way. My traits are my own and they embody […]

With Them, I’m Visable. Without, Invisable.

Christy Braddock, Silver Spring, MD. Marc Quarles’ 6 words spoke to me when featured on All Things Considered this morning: ‘With Kids, I’m Dad. Alone, Thug’ I am a white mom of 2 children of color and 2 caucasian children. When I am with my black children, I feel visable in all race communities in […]

Kindergarten without English. I’m still fine.

Vishwa Dhuleshia, Shrewsberry, MA. I started Kindergarten knowing how to say only two things in Enlgish: “my name is Vishwa” and “I have to go to the bathroom.” I spent the first 3 years of Elementary school going to ESL classes while my classmates took spelling classes. Those few years I had to face the […]

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Cautious eye-holding while saying hello.

Mark Loup, Williams Bay, IL. This is one of the reasons I’m glad I left Chicago, one of the most segregated big cities in America. The tension just seems to overwhelm intentions. I live near the resort city of Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, and while I’m sure there’s plenty of racism here, there’s less tension. […]

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You sound like a white girl

Joy Owopetu, Manassas Park, VA. What does this even MEAN? I have heard so many times that I sound like a white girl from the valley. It has caused me to experience unfriendly behavior from coworkers who thought I wasn’t “black enough” and I have gotten outright laughed at in public by ignorant individuals who […]

Impenetrable walls of misunderstanding and grief

The Rev. Kate LUfkin Day, Syracuse, NY. I am a white woman age 60. I chose the word “impenetrable” even though I sometimes experience moments of black-white mutual understanding, because I have found that the divide is so huge and daunting. It is better since my growing-up years in the sixties, but it is very […]

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Define my integrity, not my identity.

Erin Powell, Washington, DC. “Are you sure your dad is really black?” “If you imagine her with curly hair, you can tell she’s mixed.” “You look straight white, nothing else.” “Ugly half n*****.” Just a taste of the both disparaging and conflicting comments I’ve received on my YouTube vlog about my personal experience being biracial. […]

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I’m a bridge between two worlds.

Jazmin Whitmore, Asheville, NC. I am the result of two worlds but I was only raised in one. My father was Jamaican and my mother was European/Native American mix. My mother raised me. Although it was not her intention she raised me to be “white”. I did not realize how devoid I was of my […]

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Managed education despite resistance. Still uncertified.

Sunny G. Sampson, Albuquerque, NM. I managed to obtain one degree, still paying for it. Have attempted two other degrees. The debt and the education happened, but the piece of paper eluded me. In one case because of direct racism, accused of cheating because I had a 3.6GPA. In both, economic difficulties did me in. […]

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Appearing strong. Mending daily. Race matters.

Anthony Charles Bradburn, Crystal Lake, IL. As a Dominican, it’s easy to get lost in nationality. The truth is I have a rich, beautiful Black line of people before me. I am honored to stand with them and cull their strength. The truth is I have white, Spanish Imperialistic blood in me. The truth is […]

Appalachian oppression is a minority issue

Rebekah Epling, Ripley, WV. Appalachian people are treated in this country as second-class citizens. It is perfectly acceptable for mainstream media to characterize Appalachian people in ways that would incite outrage and not be published were it about another minority group. Just because the majority of Appalachian people are white, does not mean it is […]

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Adopted from India lived in NH

Kayla Eckhoff, Denver, CO. I was just a year old when I was adopted, I was born in India and grew up in a small town in New Hampshire. For the most part I had a normal childhood, especially growing up in an all white community. Went to school, made friends, played school sports. Though […]

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Learning I was a white girl

Rachel Robbins, San Francisco, CA. When I was child, we didn’t really have the commonly held words and concepts regarding the identities of biracial people the way we now do. So I was understandably a bit confused by my biracial family. My mom and aunties are biracial, and my own father was out of the […]

White nurse. Inner city hospital. Disaster

Liz Kelly, Cleveland, OH. The big insight happened when I couldn’t understand the language no matter how hard I tried, although it was English. Knowing it was deliberate. Realizing “This is what marginalized people feel all the time– knowing they are hated without anyone knowing their thoughts or feelings or who they are.” Later I […]

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Taught all wrong, now teaching others

Steve Jones, Durham, NC. I grew up in a segregated community and the concept that African-Americans (of course, not the word that was used) were inferior. It took a long time to get out of that mindset and even longer to acknowledge the privilege that comes with my white skin. It’s a privilege to be […]

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Ashamed that accomplished minorities surprise me.

Daniel Robbins, Seattle, WA. No matter how liberal and progressive I might claim to be, no matter how many workshops I’ve been to or essays I’ve read about privilege, I still hear my inner voice express pleasant surprise when I see a minority doing well at something. Whether I see a minority excelling in business, […]