The house I did not build

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. […]

We are lazy, we shouldn’t be.

Gil, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I believe that discrimination and racist attitudes derives from human nature to be lazy. Because we humans are so lazy, we do not spend the effort and time to learn about the individual but instead, discriminate people by their skin color. This attitude is wrong, […]

Being blonde isn’t always more fun.

Heather Raymond Grand Rapids, MI Understanding Race Project – University of Michigan People say that “blondes have more fun,” but having light hair isn’t what it is cracked up to be. Many times I find myself at the receiving end of stigma when I have a “blonde” moment: dumb, human mistakes blamed on the color […]

At the hospice, everyone is blue

Debbie Taylor, Ann Arbor, MI. My mother passed away on December 14, 2012 of liver cancer at the age of 80 and she spent her last afternoon and night in Ann Arbor Hospice. The staff was loving, kind and professional. One nurse in particular examined my mother with such tenderness and care that I was […]

41496_100000657735231_6635_n

How to protect my black son?

Michael Bolton , Scottsdale, AZ. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Dad Caucasian. lived life in black neighborhood mostly. studied black history–college+leisure. love black culture esp music, classic jazz. slave narratives. am black myself but cannot pass as such. other dad, my partner, black, died. am now single dad, not planned. bringing up son in […]

IMG_1962

THE reason I have a scholarship.

Marilou Ingles, Romulus, MI. I am American Indian, I grew up in poverty, and I am from the South. I often joke that I received a scholarship to U of M because of my heritage. I do not believe that I would have been admitted based on academia, talent, experience, or personality; I am here […]

Where’d you go to high school?

Jules M. Marquart, Louisville, KY. In Louisville during the pre-busing 1960s, this “screening” question was based on assumptions and generalizations about race and class. A high school in the West End of the city–African-American (Negro or Black back then) and poor; in the South End–white and red neck; and in the East End–white and privileged.

No One Can Stop Chinese Kid

Sean Ji Ann Arbour, MI The reason I said these 6 words is because ever since I came to the U.S at the age of 2 years old, I never really grew up around other Asian people. My hometown is Ypsilanti, Mi, which is really close to Ann Arbor, but much derided by those in […]

Why is being white so bad?

Tiffany Kosakowski Grand Rapids, MI I feel like I am constantly walking on egg shells because I am white. I have to be careful how I joke, who I like or dislike, even places I go. It is getting a little tiresome to hear people accuse white people of being racist because they do not […]

Why do you look like Casper?

Melanie Lindgren Grand Rapids, MI I was living in Florida for about four years. Most of the girls I met down there were rich, spoiled, tan, beautiful girls. My grandparents came here from Latvia towards the end of World War 2 and as such, I have blonde hair and extremely pale skin. I would always […]

My Hair is NAPPY and HAPPY

Cynthia Detroit, MI Growing into my African heritage in America, I love to wear my hair how it naturally grows. I get the stares of disapproval but we all must remember i’m not here for your approval. Please, ask before you touch.

Skyward Sprouting Despite American Cultural Miasma

Bomani Kyasa Detroit, MI We are Designed to Benefit from the Fruits of Our Own Labor. Anti-Life forces structure socio-economic conditions to to turn People and Specific Races into drones via a pernicious objectification process. Living is about pushing or obliterating the boundaries of the imagination; so that, that the Creative Human Spirit can Soar […]

Pats-Phoner-007

Ashamed of the power given me.

Patrick Casey, MI. Being a white man, from birth, power was bestowed on me. As I did not earn it, I need to acknowledge the unfairness of this birthright in America, and set about the task of sharing this power with others lower on the pyramid.

Nation built on racial discrimination, exclusion

Georgia Ann Arbor, MI Think about it. The building of this country was facilitated by making it ok to destroy or enslave someone who was not white to get what they had or could provide to advance this country. Genocide was committed on a people to get the land. Enslavement was committed to get free […]

We must live with our ghosts.

Carl Dunker Grand Rapids, MI I have friends on all sides of this issue, from advocates of a “post racial” society to people who angrily speak out against the “white hipster gentrification.” The way I see it, no matter how things shake out or what the solution to our problems is, we’re going to somehow […]

Painful regret about an assumption made.

Anonymous Ann Arbor, MI The year was 1997. I was part of a small committee selecting MBAs for highly sought-after internships in China. I wasn’t prepared to be tested on my passionate belief that skin color doesn’t matter. But I am white. And when another white colleague said, “this candidate is African American, he might […]

Afropean-American, I made it up.

Laura Kupe Ann Arbor, MI My parents are originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, I was born in Germany, raised in Luxembourg and Metro-Detroit. I am a German-speaking black American, and people would never make that assumption about me.

My grandparents met in the KKK

Alisa Rose Ann Arbor, MI I didn’t know that until recently. My aunt found my grandfather’s robes in a trunk when he died. My grandmother was a little embarrassed. The times have changed in my home town–the KKK is not active anymore that I know of. But the town is still less than 2% African […]

They were asian and left 20%!

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 […]

I am one of ‘those people’

Mary Donaldson Ann Arbor, MI When said out loud, ‘those people’ must be said like something of nasty flavor is on the speaker’s tongue. When I hear people say ‘those people’, I know they are referring to a nameless-faceless group, but have sooo many criticisms they have identified, no less, in vivid detail.

Acceptance, like art, comes in all colors.

Harold Rice Ann Arbor, MI The University of Michigan has the 8th most international students in the country, which causes all of it’s students to be both accepting and interactive with cultures far different from their own. I came to the university from a town that was 99% white, and I had only one friend […]

Didn’t know I was so prejudice

Christy Moeder Ann Arbor, MI While taking a college course, we were challenged to learn about other ethnicities. As well, we were asked to reflect upon ourselves in our views of other cultures and whether we are diverse or not. During this course, I realized I was not a diverse person at all. I have […]

In the space, I mark human!

Elizabeth James Ann Arbor, MI Being of mixed ancestry and believing in only one race, human, it’s very difficult to be yourself in a country where determining “who” you are is so closely connected to your ethnicity. I am Elizabeth and that should be enough.

As weak as you are white

Sam Nola Ypsilanti, MI The (perceived) availability of a support structure with little stigma attached make ‘whiter’ people seem less capable than those who must do on their own. Of course this is only one of many stereotypes, seems like most groups think other groups have it easier.

My heart is blinded by experience

Ava Dupre Ann Arbor, MI Though I am real with everyone I meet regardless of appearance or origin, my experiences from growing up in a multiracial home often misguides my heart. I identify as a Mexican, White and Black Woman. When I see a white man, I see the absent father of my mother and […]