Elizabeth Swenson, Hacienda Heights, CA. I went to school in NC were it was predominately black & white in2006. My husband and the majority of my friends are Hispanic or Spanish descent. I never really though racism exist coming from LA, CA were its divers. But here I saw people say nasty things, dirty looks, […]
Shannon M., Killeen, TX. My fiance is black. My son is mixed. At THREE years old my son has already encountered racism. Every time my fiance walks out of the house, I worry. When he gets angry at someone or something in public, I get scared and try my hardest to calm him down – […]
Jordan Summers, Bowling Green, KY.
Alexander Calica, II, Carlsbar, CA. This phrase was often used by adults when I was growing up after hearing my answer to their question, “What nationality are you?” I would always respond by saying, “My father is Filipino and my mother is Dutch.” The initial inquiry would be posed after having heard me speak at […]
Taylor Bailey, Huntington, IN.
Nell Haynes, Chile. Sometimes it’s hard being the person that always stands out in a crowd, especially in an impoverished city in the middle of the Chilean desert (the driest place on earth). I get catcalled daily. I’m charged more for public transport and at the market. But I’m always surprised when people ask if […]
Nicole Reynolds, Virginia Beach, VA. Race often goes hand and hand with self worth. Who am I in the world? What does that answer mean? How does it affect my life? Is there anything I can do to change that? I have Ugandan Blood, Taino Blood, Spanish Blood, Past African American Slave blood. What race […]
Paige VandenBrink, Holland, MI. The worst question I have ever been asked is, “Do you love them the same?”. This was a question I was asked when I got a new adopted black cousin. I almost cried because I was too young to understand why anyone couldn’t love someone the same just because of a […]
Mehdi Ettehadulhagh, Norway. Being born in Cameroon, having a Russian father that’s born in Iran, and a mother from Cameroon, and living in Norway but schools in Romania really makes one feel mankind is One. And all of the citizens of earth are one. But it will take others a lifetime to see the world […]
Jan Kappes, Arcola, IL. I have almost no personal experiences with non-whites, just by virture of where I was born & raised, so my ideas about people of color come from the media. Consciously, I know that my fears & suspicions are irrational, but subliminally, they are still there.
Tony DellaCrosse, Jacksonville, FL.
Betty L. Wilson, New York, NY.
Chloe Kandel Wong, Douglaston, NY.
Gwen Montgomery, Dallas, TX. This country took a race of people and turned them into second class citizen. Many of our problems are a result of the oppression we went thru for hundreds of years. I’m afraid that the results of those actions may never be changed. We have been fighting every since we got […]
Roslyn Jefferson, Albany, NY. I grew up in a majority white city, so this was the story of my life! When younger, didn’t know how to address racial issues or topics, when they popped up, with my white friends. Thank goodness I feel comfortable with that now!
Shree Antwanette Bostick, Montgomery, AL. Although I am proud to be an African American I am not proud of the actions and the way we carry and present ourselves as a whole in my community alone.
Moyo Myers, Washington, DC. In that split second when someone (of any race or ethnic origin) sees me (White) standing with my husband (African-American), they decide so much about the quality, depth, and reasons for our relationship. And that shows, in the expression on their face and in the way that they interact with us.
Maynard Hearns, Santa Cruz, CA. The black story in america is very simple: we were slaves, and then we weren’t. We were never given freedom, or equality. When we begged for it, we were lied to. When we Marched on Washington and pleaded our case, we were shot in the back of the head. When […]
Joyce Moody, Windsor Mill, MD.
Martín De Greiff, Winchester, MA. Just because I am hispanic, does not mean I should be working on your lawn… I was walking one day early in the morning after a run and I noticed some hispanic guys working on a lawn on a house with an odd machine. So I stopped and asked what […]
Jaden Miskowiec, Memphis, TN. I went to homecoming with my best friend, who happens to be black. One woman asked my mother if we were dating because she was concerned about our relationship. First time I experienced racial discrimination (though not the first time I had seen it).
MK, Baltimore, MD. A few moments in my “coming into adulthood” stand out as I am navigating the world of race. I remember probably 10 years back now that in conversation with my mother-in-law in a less-than-intellectual blue collar town her speaking of how racism towards white people was apparent in the area. She noted […]
Michael Murton, Bowling Green, KY.
Bruce Brown, Port Jefferson, NY.
Teshlon Chevae Chakravarthula, Fort Worth, TX.
Aubrie B., Moscow, ID. I am an 18 year old adopted Chinese girl. For years, I’ve endured the disgusted looks of onlookers whenever I go out in public with my adoptive father in the most harmless places; the grocery store or a restaurant. Even when my adoptive mother is there, many still glare at me. […]
Felix Zavi, Bellingham, WA.
Ima Oduok, Houston, TX. As a bi-racial child who grew up with her white family, I always wanted to look more like them. When I watch the movie “Belle” and saw Dido try to rub and beat out the darkness of her skin, I cried. I spent my childhood doing the same thing, hoping to […]
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 […]
Matt Henegar, Jonesboro, AR. I think the we should quit focusing on minor labels, like black, hispanic, asian, and all of the other skin tone variations, and focus on making the world better for all of us.
Arthur Wright, Englewood, CO.
Bryce, Denver, CO. ha•pa (hä’pä) adj. 1. Slang. of mixed racial heritage with partial roots in Asian and/or Pacific Islander ancestry.
Melissa Renner, McAllen, TX.
Colleen Schwab, Seattle, WA. I grew up in a very diverse area of CA where many children were first generation immigrants, and many children were of multi-racial backgrounds, mostly middle to lower class families. And my whole family has grown up with and around people from many different backgrounds. So I had no issue trying […]
Amani, Jamaica. Caribbean born Americans are way more disciplined than African Americans so they should not be put in the same category.
Sanpreet Samra, Canada. Awareness and understanding are the way to fight racsim and this is done by educating everyone.
Ashley Kirkwood, Chicago, IL.
Renata Martello, Media, PA.
Ben Nally, Bowling Green, KY.
Tim McGovern, Chicago, IL. I live in a racially integrated neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. You go to the playgrounds and there are kids of all races playing together, parents talking over coffee and bonding over the crazy things that four-year-olds do. The public school kindergartens, first grades, second grades, third and fourth, […]
Vanessa Pinkney, Joppa, MD.
Maranda, Colorado Springs, CO. My mother says she isn’t prejudice, yet she has negative comments towards me dating a white male. I am Native and Alaskan Native and African American.
Barbara Racca, Austin, TX. When I was younger, that question would immediately cause my shoulders to hunch and a look of hunted suspicion to cloud my features. Today my embracement of otherness is shadowed by so much more than a child’s rejection of being different– Am I rejecting aspects of my race by qualifying that […]
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 […]
Diana Emiko Tsuchida, New York, NY.
Nicholas Ellis, Somerville, MA. Being referred to as simply “white” strips me of my ethnicity, of which I am very proud. I look Slavic, I am Slavic, why should I be OK with being referred to in any other way? My people were also slaves, in fact the word “Slave” comes from an old French […]
Jesse Dukes, Charlottesville, VA. This question was on my mind recently, when I wrote an article for Virginia Quarterly Review about Confederate reenactors at the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg. I don’t actually have any Confederate ancestors I’m aware of, but most of the reenactors do. All of the reenactors I talked to considered slavery to […]
Karen Sturdivant, Lansing, MI. When it comes to matters of race- Stevie Wonder can be seen as the great equalizer. His messages in song are universal and his soul is colorless.
Sharon Bandlow, Haslett, MI. I loved hearing you speak at The Wharton Center on the MSU campus. Best wishes with your project!
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 […]
Holly Wenninger, Malden, MA. I’m white, but for the past six or so years I’ve worked out at n athletic center whose focus is primarily on the POC community — so when I’m there, I’m usually the only white person in the room. A couple unanticipated side effects of this are (a) now when I […]
Anderson Brown, Jacksonville, FL.
Kevin Moses, Logan, UT. As a 6’3″, young, Black man, at all times I am painfully aware of my presence in a room and the constant strain of worrying about being perceived as threatening is exhausting. I’m incredibly friendly, and the dissonance that comes from people assuming otherwise hurts.
Debra Cope, Alexandria, VA. Adoption is beautiful, and I really don’t mind helping others navigate the awkward preconceptions that accompany it. But this phrase just burns me because it equates my spunky, lively child with an object . She’s not my toy — she’s my daughter!
Tania Rose, San Francisco, CA. Super-cool, interesting, important, vital conversation. Thank you.
Lauren Maldonado, Athens, GA. I’m white, I know that. But, I have no idea what race I am. I can’t include myself in a certain group. I cannot sympathize with a certain group of people and I cannot judge a group of people because I might be the same race as they are. I’m in […]
Anastasia Peterson, Pittsburgh, PA.
Michelle, Norfolk, VA. When I tell people my father is from Denmark most people in America always ask me why my hair is not blond. Scandinavians have just as many different natural hair colors as they do blond.
Kelsi Evans, Williamsburg, VA. Growing up in society I have always been questioned about my race. I come from two very, very light-skinned African-American parents, so therefore I am very light, have soft curly “white people” hair, and don’t necessarily “talk black”. Being this kind of person draws attention to myself because people always make […]
Christopher Lee-Rodriguez, Boston, MA. We don’t live in a post-racial society. We live in a post-race society. We live in a country where in a short amount of time, there will no longer be a majority race. And race is continuing to be reshaped and redefined. I am half Chinese and half Puerto Rican. I […]
King Kellz, Fayetteville, NC. We only learn what America has taught us about our specific race.
Jasmine Baker East Lansing, MI Growing up I was placed in the gifted and talented program in my elementary school. I learned to speak what this society refers to as “proper English.” Because of that, many Black students would tease me and tell me that I’m black, stop talking like a white girl. What does […]
Denali Lukacinsky, Honolulu, HI. People look at me and assume all kinds of offensive things about what black people are supposed to be like, they come up to me and explain all the ways that I’m “different”, and “better” and “not like them.” Well guess what, I am like them. Don’t lift me up by […]
Bria Williams, Keswick, VA.
Cameron McCall, Fontana, CA. The reason I choose these six words is because I don’t like how I am stereotyped to be un-educated and ghetto. I am a proud African American male in college and I am proud of the proper english that I use.
Silvija Singh, Pittsburgh, PA. Unlike my sibs, I do not look white, altho I have a white mother. I do not get treated like a Latvian, the way the blond-haired blue-eyed cousins on this side of the family do. Complexion-wise, I look more like my father, who was from India. But among Indians, I am […]
Briana Duarte, Albuquerque, NM.
Basmin, St. Louis, MO. This question has been asked since I began my earthwalk as though I am something other than human, that I don’t fit recognizable category. As a woman of color in seeking healing for my racial wounds I embraced my spiritual nature, cultivated peace within and embraced each who breathes as a […]
Isaiah Spencer, Pittsburgh, PA.
Abigail Macy, Zimbabwe. I am a white American living in Zimbabwe. It never ceases to amaze me how much racism I experience, how much prejudice there is against white people. It bothers me that things such as a dance are classified as “white” or “black”. I hear things like, “Oh, you can’t do that, you’re […]
James Moore, Sterling, VA. No one told me when I adopted my baby girl that I was no longer white. I had to find out the hard way. One friend at a time. Sadly.
Lynne Shotola, Waukegan, IL. I’m a white woman. It was a Sunday night right after Ferguson. I had spent a host, sticky day doing chores. When I went to take the used cat litter out to the dumpster, I very obviously swerved out of the path of a black man. All I could think was […]
Benjamin F Friton, Brandywine, MD.
Michael Ponsler, Brooklyn, NY. I’ve enjoyed an extremely diverse social life, dated & married interracially and on countless occasions have been the only white person within a crowd, community or family gathering. I have never been harassed, harmed or threatened by a person of another race. However, I have been rejected, assaulted and/or threatened several […]
James Ducey, Loves Park, IL. When I watched #AfterFergusonPBS I couldn’t help but come to your project. Keep up the good work. Thanks for your efforts.
Ryan Mearig, Fountain Valley, CA. School does a great job of giving you the surface level depiction of slavery. It took 22 years to learn that every foreign race was oppressed, and that we thought it was ok.
Nzingha Shakur-Ali, Dallas, TX. First week of college, 1999, Abilene Texas. went to an off the way antique shop. The store owner didn’t want me there, and let me know it. About 5 other people in the store, all white, glaring at me.
Unique Martin, Murrieta, CA. I say I’m black because that is how I identify myself. It’s just that simple. I say I’m beautiful because for many years in my childhood, I thought I was ugly. No one ever said I was, but how I was treated, discriminated against because of my skin color, the diversity […]
Riley Redman, Pittsburgh, PA.
Juan Carlos Quevedo, Albuquerque, NM.
Denise Noboa, Norfolk, VA.
R. Johnson Jackson, MS I love this place I call home because my family’s roots are strong here; however, it seems like the more things change, the more they stay the same! #WHATTHEHELLISGOINGONANDDOESANYBODYELSENOTICE?
Chiyoko, USA. I am one quarter Japanese. I have auburn hair, light brown eyes, and freckles. I am five foot nine, and my skin is paler than even my white friends’ skin. But my name is Japanese, which leads people to ask me where I’m from, no, where I’m REALLY from. I’ve been called J*p, […]
Matthew Scotti, Pittsburgh, PA.
Anne Decker, Virginia Beach, VA.
Paula Gaehring, Haddon Heights, NJ. Have taught in Philadelphia and now have students from Camden, NJ. So few of them have good male role models in their lives. Most are raised by moms and grandmoms doing their best but it is not the same as having dads, granddads and uncles in their lives. I wish […]