Will I ever meet my Mom?

Colin McKearnan, Missoula, MT. A question that my 8-year old son (Ephrem) asked me on the way to school. We are white and my wife and I adopted Ephrem and his brother from Ethiopia seven years ago. We also have two birth children.

The suffix “ism” ruins everything.

Dallas Yates, Dunwoody, GA. Race is merely a form of innocuous classification used to identify and group individuals of a common heredity. The concept only becomes socially divisive when people begin to erroneously assume that their own race is inherently superior to others and act in accordance with a such a belief.

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Speak Spanish? You don’t look “Mexican.”

Kristiane Valenza, Vicksburg, MS. After moving to rural Mississippi from New York to teach Spanish at the high school level, I’m frequently met with confusion as to how I have an “ethnic” name and can teach Spanish, but I have fair skin and European features. When people ask me, “Are you from Vicksburg?” they really […]

His Parents don’t like white girls

Rebecca Corby, Honolulu, HI. I have encountered this many times dating other races. I have white (well really pinkish) skin. I’m attracted to all ‘races’. Many times when I have dated other races, I have been told that they are afraid to introduce me to their parents because their parents don’t approve of them dating […]

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Post-Racial? Stop. Look. Listen. Racism’s Here.

Kyle Alexander, Rochester, NY. Coming from a position a white privilege and having a large peer network of other white individuals. I hear a lot of quite muttering of “post-racial” society, and “I don’t even think about race, we’re all the same”. No. We’re not all the same and the only reason you are supporting […]

The black kids made fun of me

Bryant, Chandler, AZ. I was raised in a family that didn’t think about race. I didn’t connect that I was white and others were black. My family just didn’t think that way, I wasn’t raised to think about the color of someones skin. Only the merit of their actions. The shock that would stay with […]

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Seasonal confusion; your problem not mine

Courters, Bay Area, CA. I grew up in a latin home, of a first generation born parent. By DNA–I am native-american sicilian. I was raised with latin catholic, tibetan, native american, and sicilian culture. As a child, in my desert neighborhood, I stayed dark and it was rarely noticed that I was not “technically” latin […]

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Not all Latinos are Mexicans

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.

White people, it’s not about you.

Jaqui, Bremerton, WA. So often, when having a conversation about race white a white person they are unable to step outside themselves. They are either A) focused on how they personally never owned slaves/lynched someone etc or B) more worried about their own hurt feelings, because somehow pointing out that the system of oppression that […]

It’s Okay To Talk About Race

Courtnay S., Arlington, VA. Why are we so uncomfortable talking about racial privilege? Does anyone shy away from saying they are privileged because of their income, sex, language, or education? Western privilege exists. English-speaking privilege exists. On that same token, white privilege exists. It is okay to have money, to be male, to be American, […]

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You are still someone without it.

Clarence Butler, Canonsburg, PA. Humans are humans are humans. Race does not exist. I think that people will not let go of this idea, because it gives their ego something easy to cling to, that helps to buttress their esteem.

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Wearing your difference on the outside.

Mona Khadr, Washington, DC. “But where are you from, originally?” is a question I get a lot. When I was younger, I answered proudly (“Egyptian!”) because my heritage was something that made me unique from my mostly white-American peers in the suburbs of MD and PA. As I got older and entered high school, college, […]

I’m an expat, he’s an immigrant.

Anonymous, Omaha, NE. Born and raised in the midwest, I studied Spanish and went to live in Latin America. While there, I met my now husband, we wed and have two children. I was always considered an expat (expatriate) while living abroad and my white-privilege was amplified during my time there. Now that we have […]

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Are you sure you are Hispanic?

Olivia Rose Castillo, Sanger, CA. I am constantly asked if I’m sure of the racial group I belong to because the color of my skin. I am light complected, I’m a lot lighter then most. Doesn’t mean I should be defined by my skin color. All of my are similar in our faces but all […]

What about the white people?

Anonymous, CA. Why isn’t there scholarships for white people? Why is there scholarships based on race anyways? Why isn’t there white history month? Why aren’t white people referred to as “white” but black people are generally referred to as “African American?” Why do they get often times get offended by being called “black” but white […]

Focus not on how we differ

Emily, San Francisco, CA. I love how there are so many different cultures, and I want for people to keep celebrating their cultures. However, when it comes to deciding who has it harder or who is to blame for present issues, I think that we should focus not on how we differ, but how we […]

No, my dad is not Filipino

Stephanie Delgado, Sanger, CA. Both of my parents are Mexican but my dad has lighter complected skin while my mom has darker. I’ve been asked before many times if my dad is Filipino. When I tell people he’s not, some ask “Are you sure?” Yes, I’m sure I know what my dad is. I personally […]

I am American no qustions needed

Demetrios Pathammavong, Sanger, CA. I am an American, although my grandparents are from Laos. It is often a repeated questions of where I am from. When I answer that I am from America, people then ask the same question. Sometimes I say ”Oh, I am from Laos.” in reality I was born in California. This […]

I am Mexican, I am American

Ricky Quezada, Sanger, CA. I don’t really embrace beng Mexican. I don’t speak Spanish. English is my only Language, but my father was born in Mexico so I know I am Mexican, but he was raised in America so Mexican traditions aren’t really pushed upon me and my family. We are more American than anything, […]

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What race are you? JUST HUMAN!

Mika Derifield, Wadsworth, OH. It’s so sad that we live in a world that requires labels. Applying for a job, home, or even a social media account? In the first few questions you will be asked race, gender, age? WHY? I AM JUST A HUMAN.. aren’t we all?

Nickname Joe real name is Jose

Jose, Sanger, CA. My name is Jose im 17 years old as a child growing up in school I was called by Joe by my peers. Ever sense kindergarden my teachers and friends called me Ioe I never knew why until now. I’m a Mexican-American but my skin color is more on the lighter side. […]

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I am who I am, unique!

Eric Medina, Grand Terrace, CA. I have always been unsure about what nationality to identify with. I have resolved to identify with the human race. I think we are all human, right? I enjoy the diversity of this race. CBU His311

Wait, But You Don’t Look Mexican

Chloe Servin, Miami, FL. I’ve gotten that phrase countless times. Pupils, teachers, when I meet new people. I currently am pale with slight color, but when I was younger I’d go outside every day and I was active, so I had a much darker color, plus I’d also go to the pool almost daily. One […]

Police reports had the notation TND

Lois Norder, Atlanta, GA. One of the experiences that forced me to shed my naïveté about race. TND in Urban Dictionary: Police jargon to be used for the really shi**y area of town which is usually primarily ococupied by races of “color”.

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I knew one side of racism.

Joyce Goodluck, East Lansing, MI. On Location, MSU. Before coming to MSU I knew one side of racism from media. Whites discriminating Blacks. I even once experienced that when I passed by Akers Hall and some one shouted at me from his window black and African. I was like he is a racist.But whom am […]

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You’re lucky you look ambiguously minority.

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 […]

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I’m black; I didn’t experience that.

Terri Davis, Cleveland, OH. I don’t discount the experiences of other black people, I just haven’t had the same encounters. Why do people think that I should have? I suppose I avoid confrontations by not doing things to draw attention to myself. I don’t pay attention to others who may be watching me and waiting […]

“Asian” to whites, “white” to Asians

Anonymous Being of mixed race can make a person feel out of place, and lacking of identity. My friend and I were talking about which race we feel closer to and he said to me, “white people think I’m Asian, Asian people think I’m white.” of mixed Asian and white I do feel similar. Being […]

Poor little middle class white girl

Nina Haug Richardson, TX While applying for college, I realized that I have no “hook” – the box, story, or line that might make me more than just another high-achieving middle class white girl applying to too many schools. And I had absolutely no right to complain about this – I grew up in a […]

I am me, do not panic.

James Eliot Griffith Stillwater, OK It’s irritating how in this day and age if I just tell someone I’m Mexican (which is the side of my family I identify with a bit more since I grew up on the border in South Texas) everyone is perfectly fine and its all cool. But if I happen […]

What would the neighbor’s think?

Dolly Szymanski Fort Wayne, IN Both of these quotes are things my mother heard or said. The second quote – My mother said to me when I wanted to invite some college friends to our home. Some of the friends were persons of color Grosse Pointe, MI in 1959.

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Latinas with fros are sexy too!

Jeanette Ruiz, Atlanta, GA. Growing up I learned to hate my afro hair. I was the only one in my family with course African hair texture. Although there were others in our Hispanic neighborhood with course hair and dark skin, my mother with straight silky hair made it seem like a problem. She would take […]

You don’t look like you’re Mexican.

Alyssa Ortega, Fresno, CA. I was born into a Mexican family, with parents who were BOTH born outside of marriage as a result of infidelity. They are both still Mexican, but much lighter than the rest of their families (They are also BOTH part Spaniard) and were not taught Spanish unfortunately due to circumstance. I […]

“They’ve never heard of us before”

Lucy Moua, Fresno, CA. My name is Lucy and I am Hmong. “Hmong” some may question and say as most people are not aware of this particular ethnicity. Growing up, I’ve always thought my ethnicity was well known and familiar to people as I grew in a community where people embraced the Hmong culture even […]

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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.

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Mom said I never saw color.

Corrine Ferrell-Macatee, Baltimore, MD. Me, bad bangs, my best friend, little girl with braids, my cousin, cute little Japanese girl. My nana and sister are here too, it wasn’t til I was in my early teens I even realized we weren’t all white, black or Japanese.

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White Supremacy has colonized our minds.

CB Terry, Ojai, CA. Racism and White Supremacy are not socially understood concepts. If we only submit to these forces mentally, it must mean that it is a system of thought influence and control, far greater than most are capable of addressing.

We don’t serve Your Kind Here!

Pilar Leano, San Francisco, CA. This was said to me in a small town of Fremont, Ohio. In fact, they got my nationality wrong also (they thought I was from Mexico). I still get comments like, you speak great English (even though I just told them I was born and raised in San Francisco). And […]

Blind eyes don’t see a problem

David Q. Booker Chula Vista, CA This is a fantastic project. For some time I have been trying to come with my 6 words but I’ve struggled. Not sure what happened but as I was listening to a segment on Morning Edition, regarding the March on Washington commemoration, it just came to me. I was […]

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 […]

“Is that mud on your face?”

Anna Shaw, Deltaville, VA. This is the question that my brother and I were asked by native children in the Bahamas. Each member of my family has freckles and these are not the cute sprinkle over the nose—these freckles, especially during the summer, become large dots that cover our entire bodies. At the time I […]

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My white girl braids ignited confusion.

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. […]

You’re the doctor?! Not a nurse?!!

Nima Scott, Madison, WI. I’m a Black, dreadlocked woman who works in a psychiatric facility. My first week on my unit a Black patient incredulously yelled that he had NEVER seen a Black doctor in the hospital in all of the years that he lived there. Apparently, neither had my peers whose sole framework for […]

I didn’t know Mary was black.

Carolyn Kay Conover, Harrodsburg, KY. It was 1964 and Mary and I had been friends since starting 1st grade together. We’d buy milkshakes at lunch. I’d buy chocolate and she’d buy vanilla. I really liked Mary. This year, Mary and I were going to go to 4-H camp together. We were so excited. We signed […]

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Speak Spanish Poorly? Then Don’t Speak.

Robb Pérez, San Clemente, CA. My mother didn’t speak Spanish to us when we were growing up in the Bronx, but I took enough Spanish in school to develop a decent accent. By now, however, I have what could be considered a six-year-old child’s vocabulary. Hence, it’s easier to tell people that I don’t speak […]

Who are you without racial identity

Greg Johnson, Maineville, OH. After all is said and done, we are each individuals who live and breathe. We happen to occupy this or that body, but that body is not us. It’s not who we are. It can have a tremendous effect on who we are, but it does not have to define us […]

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“George Washington was white, you’re black.”

Aaron David Snipe, Falls Church, VA. It was one day before the 4th of July parade at the summer camp I had attended each summer of my childhood, and the campers and counselors had all congregated outside to discuss our cabin’s float for the parade. Summers at the camp in rural Pennsylvania were filled with […]

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No white Barbies for this one.

Samantha Williams, Pensacola, FL. My father is black and my mother is Filippino. I was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada where the majority of my mother’s family lives, I was not as well acquainted with my father’s side of the family. My father stated that they weren’t going to make the same “mistakes” with […]

The plantation haunts my gay marriage.

Erik Shawn Frampton, Charlotte, NC. I am the descendant of a line of plantation owners in South Carolina. As a gay man, my upcoming marriage will finally occur on our 20th anniversary together. My larger southern family struggles to see my identity as sacred, just as they struggle still to see minority life as sacred. […]

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Amendment becomes law Crenchaw ascends Denali

James Edward Mills, Madison, WI. On this date 51 years ago the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (enacted July 2, 1964) was signed into law. In a White House ceremony in the presence of Martin Luther King Jr and other dignitaries President Lyndon Johnson administered the passage of legislation that ended legal discrimination in the […]

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Proud white son, loving Chicano family

JB Tellez, Seattle, WA. All my remembered life I have been fortunate enough to be raised by a loving chicano father (and grandmother, great grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins too!) Here’s a picture with my abuela/grandmother and primo/cousin. She called me ‘Jonny Ojos Azules’ (Jonny Blue Eyes). Sometimes people will be surprised when I tell […]

I’m white; I fear the South.

Leighayn Green, Nutrioso, AZ. When I see the Confederate flag on something, I am wary and a little fearful of the person who put it there. My dad and his dad are from Texas. I remember my granddad exclaiming in awe and admiration a run Tony Dorsett made for the Dallas Cowboys back in the […]

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Your fear is not my fault.

Lawrence Dortch, Vienna, VA. I’m tired of smiling all the time to alleviate other people’s fears of me. I am not a monster and I shouldn’t have to dress a certain way or smile when I don’t feel like it to make white people feel comfortable.

Being Black In America is Hard

Shay Smith, Kansas City, MO. So the other day, a friend of mine, myself, and other friends, got into a very heated discussion about the plight of blackness in America. Essentially, one friend made the point that black men have a greater struggle than black women. I immediately became defensive. As I spoke with vehemence […]

Fear and reconciliation: oil and water

Dirk Elting, Honolulu, HI. People cannot reconcile their differences when they do not feel safe. We scare (and anger) one another not only through our acts, but through our criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt. What psychologist John Gottman has shown to be true for couples, I believe to be true for race relations. I have […]

Blue eye, brown eye, eye opening.

Keith F Thompson, Brookline, NH. Growing up as a white male in generally liberal surroundings, I assumed so much. I assumed I knew what racism looked like, and I assumed I would never witness it firsthand.Seeing the Oprah Winfrey Show do the Blue Eye/Brown Eye experiment on their audience was very revealng to me. Overt […]

You’re not like other Asian people!

Julie Phan, San Jose, CA. Hey, what are you? Uh, I’m Asian…? Really? You don’t look Asian. You’re tan, and chill, and not like other Asians. And you’re kinda ghetto. Honestly, you look Mexican or mixed. 1. My skin color does NOT identify my race, nor does it identify anybody else’s race/ethnicity. 2. Is not […]

No job because his name was Mohammed.

Vicki Parrish, San Jose, CA. My engineering graduate student from India had the family name, Mohammed. He is in the top of his software engineering class but couldn’t get an internship although all his Indian classmates did. I suggested that he only put his first and middle name on his resume. Within a week he […]

Nobody knows I’m NOT the enemy!

Marlene Krantz, Miami, FL. I’m lily white with blonde hair. I have black children and black grandchildren. In 1980 I married an African American man and we had 2 daughters. I lost custody of my 10 year old son because of discrimination. I really feel sad about all this discrimination around the world.

Dred Scott. Oil on canvas by Louis Schultze, 1888. Acc. # 1897.9.1. Missouri Historical Society Museum Collections. Photograph by David Schultz, 1999. NS 23864. Photograph and scan (c) 1999-2006, Missouri Historical Society.

The Civil War Was About Slavery

Tim Fall, Davis, CA. There are still people – in the North and the South – who will tell you the Civil War was fought over states’ rights. They are wrong. It was fought over slavery. Any other issue comes in a distant second: http://wp.me/p2EmLc-1Kx

Showing my black daughter the cabins

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 […]