Being An African American Feels Powerful

Chelsea Delaney, Baltimore, MD. I have read different race cards that elaborated so much about the downsides of being my race, about being an African American and the disadvantages of it. I do believe that both sides need to be explained, but I want to focus more on the positive. Focus more on how liberating [...]

I don’t see you as Black

Adrienne Crew Los Angeles, CA I’m always troubled about the concept of being an “Oreo” and not really projecting an “African American” identity but rather always being the upper middle class nerd that I was born and refusing to “code switch.” What is “Black” anyways? I get this comment both from whites and non-whites.

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Doctor asked, “What is your race?”

Leslie Lannan, Cincinnati, OH. It’s amazing how desperate we are in America to racially categorize our citizens based on how they look. My six words are a reference to a recent doctor’s visit. After discussing my ailments and general health, the doctor had one more question for me. “What is your race?” she asked. I [...]

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No white dolls for my daughters!

Achilles C., Saint Paul, MN. I am a young African American single father, working hard to make sure my two daughters understand and value their own beauty, in the face of constant imagery and media messages that would suggest otherwise – my oldest was 3 the first time she wanted her hair straight like some [...]

African-American, no. American whose’s black, yes!

Vanessa Minneapolis, MN I HATE the term African-American. I don’t hold citizenship to any country on the African continent so why do people feel the need to call me that. I’m the descendent of people who were forcible sold and brought to the country, raped, beaten, and denied personhood and their rights. They slaved and [...]

I just found out I’m prejudice.

Jenna Roberts Sacramento, CA I was raised in a low income area, primarily white and latino. My experience with African Americans was very limited until I moved to Sacramento, a relatively large city compared to where I’d come from. It was the first time I’d experienced “Urban Youth.” I’ve lived here for 14 years, and [...]

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Finally, a multi-racial option on applications.

James Duvall OUTSIDE USA For the longest time, I’ve always tried to put both my Latin side and my African American side towards the end of job applications. Sometimes they would make you choose one or the other. so when that happens I would alternate between Latino and Black. But now I can finally pick [...]

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You’re lucky; you have good hair

Aminah Columbia, SC Being a light-skinned African-American has afforded me the ability to kind of live on multiple sides of the race coin in terms of my superficial assets. Many people assume that I’m mixed; I’m not. Many people assume that I lucky because, since I’m fully black, I have good hair. Man, if one [...]

Black, Papua New Guinea, curious, adopted

Brittany Barnes Reno, NV I am adopted. I was born in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, now known as Western New Guinea. I don’t really tell people where I was born, because I don’t find it necessary in conversations and it never really comes up. People look at me and automatically assume that I am African-American and [...]

African Americans were slave owners too.

Leonard Henry Atlanta, GA Check out this scholarly book, Black Slaveowners: Free black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790-1860, by Larry Koger ISBN 0-89950-160-5. Also read the book Two Princes of Calibar. This is a true history of two West African brothers who were sold into slavery, won their freedom in the courts and went [...]

North Africans Are clearly not Caucasian!

Lamia Barrington Federal Way, WA Although we (North Africans) are considered Caucasian, I always choose African American or Black. How is that possible that we are white? We clearly are not and what gives the government the right to label us as such? I truly believe that we are the group that’s discriminated against the [...]

I’m mixed, and discriminated by both.

Julie A. Perkins NV I’m 22 years old, half African America, half Caucasian. Because I’m black, I have been racially profiled and discriminated against because of my gender and skin color. But I’ve also had the terrible taste prejudice from many black people due to my mother being white and me not being full black. [...]

Genetically black and white raised hispanic

Veronica Herrera Nacogdoches, TX My daughter currently only 2 months was conceived through a donor who is African American. My wife is Caucasian and I am Mexican/Cuban American. When my wife and I spoke about having kids she wanted to carry the child first because she is older than me. We wanted our child to [...]

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Are both your parents from Cuba?

Barbara Rodriguez, Florence, SC. Yes, they both are Cuban. The look of shock never ceases to amaze me. Is it because I’m blonde and have green eyes…yes! Is it because of where I live…yes! Growing up in New York, everyone I knew could tell me about their heritage. My neighborhood was a perfect melting pot [...]

So ‘Ratchet’ is the NEW Black?

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 [...]

“He’s not really yours, is he?”

Stacey Golden Portland, OR I am Euro-American and my husband is African American. When we decided to adopt children, we adopted children that had bio-parents that were the same race as us, thinking, at the time, that then our children would feel more comfortable in a family that would have been like their bio-family. That [...]

Look like them, Sing like us

Geoffrey Wodell Wheat Ridge, CO Many years ago an African-American Country-Western singer, Charlie Pride, released a live album. After one of the cuts someone in the audience yelled out “Charlie, how can you look like them and sing like us?”. I have remembered that comment ever since and now, as a Norwegian-American Jew who sings [...]

Why African-Americans tolerate racism toward others?

Abraham Wang Chicago, IL I am Asian and I live in Chicago, which has a large African-American population. I’ve been the victim of racial harassment by black youth on several occasions. I don’t judge all African-Americans on the actions of a few because none of my African-American friends behave like that. But I’m disappointed at [...]

Black life is not valued.

Patricia Jones Charleston, SC My husband and I are the parents of an 18-year-old son who just graduated from high school. As we raised him to this point, we were always concerned about his emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Our goal was to get him through high school and his teenage years without ever seeing [...]

I’m actively black, you’re passively white

Demarcus Robinson Park Forest, IL I’ve been thinking about how, as an African-American, I and other minorities actively think about out race as opposed to our Caucasian counterparts. It’s not that I’m thinking “I”m black, I’m black, I’m black” every second of the day, but I know that certain situations force the thought upon me, [...]

You can raise your daughter white

Nicole Minneapolis, MN As a descendant of Germans and Scandinavians, I am termed WHITE. My daughter is is a strawberry blonde with creamy white skin and blue eyes. Again and again I have been asked how it was possible when her father is an African American. I have heard, “he can’t actually be her father” [...]

I’m an American not Afro-American

Kelvin Scruggs Gulfport, MS Is the United States of America the only nation that classifies people by race at birth? At one time it was important classify people by race. The Three-Fifths Compromise was a compromise between Southern and Northern states reached during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 in which three-fifths of the enumerated population [...]

African American Marine New Muslim Traitor

Vincent Simon Fort Worth, TX I’m a new revert to Islam, served in the US Marine Corps. Because of my new religion, I have been called a traitor to my country. The person who called me this doesn’t know me very well and didn’t serve in the military. I have been criticized by “good” Christians, [...]

Why don’t Afro Americans row?

Felix Muhlebach Chapel Hill, NC I was at the Head of the Hooch, 2nd biggest rowing event in the US. More than 1600 crews. More than 5000 athletes. I saw only one Afro American crew. No mixed race boats. Check on attached event picture file. Statistically, one out of 5 athletes should be Afro American. [...]

Who’s directing? It’s HER? No Way!!

Lorna Green Altadenam, CA I am an independent filmmaker, a writer-director, African American, and a woman. This combination confuses some people; it makes no sense to them because most directors are white guys. Granted, I selected a profession that relegates me to invisibility, but what’s interesting is the day-to-day reality of this. Working with new [...]

Why African-American? Why not just American?

Manuel Lluberas Jacksonville, FL Africa is not a country or a culture. It is a continent with almost fifty countries, several hundred tribes and as many languages; and that is only the “black part”. North of the Sahara, Africa is Arab. South of the Calahari is Africaner. Other “identity-labeled groups” use Italian-American, Irish-American, etc., even [...]

“I didn’t expect to see you”

Mensah Cone Livingston, NJ I’m the owner of a start-up Mandarin school. After completing a presentation of my school’s offerings to a principal in an urban school, the principal said, “Mensah, that was a fantastic presentation”. She expressed sincere interest in the program for her students. While packing my materials, she said, “I didn’t expect [...]

White mom, colorful kids, heart ripped.

Tanya Haney Middleton, WI I am a white mother and school employee; my kids are white, Asian and I have been a foster parent to an African-American child. I have been struggling and driven to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem of institutional racism, but I struggle daily. People look [...]

Race means when you run around

Eric Brooklyn, NY I gave my daughter a calendar of notable African-Americans for Black history month. She thumbed through the pages and then announced “hey you know who’s missing from this calendar, Britney Spears”. I told her Britney Spears is not in the calendar because she’s not African American, to which she replied “she’s not?”. [...]

Drowning in generalizations; floating on truth

Alexis Ford Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan As an African American, I have several generalizations placed upon me. Some people just assume who I am. I am rarely asked. While a lot of these assumptions hurt, I know the truth. I know only my own actions and words define me. I [...]

Take away skin bag, spirit lives!

Aku Kadogo, teacher South Korea I am an African American woman from Detroit, MI. I have lived in Australia since 1978. My daughter is African American Australia (Caucasian father). My grand daughter’s father is from Thailand. I am currently living and teaching in S. Korea. I have spent many years with Indigenous people in Australia, [...]

You talk like a white boy

Joseph Washington, DC from an essay I wrote in 2008: IN 1980, THE year I ran for president, the country was mired in inflation, the malaise of the Carter administration was about to be overtaken by Ronald Reagan’s Morning in America, and like a lot of the country, Ooltewah High School was swept up in [...]

Topic: slavery. All eyes on Brooke

Daniel Portland, OR I grew up in a working-class and ever-so-slightly diverse part of a very white city, but I the bus across town with two dozen others to school K-12. As I grow older I sometimes recall classroom memories that make my current self uncomfortable. In 7th grade social studies we discussed slavery, and [...]

I, Woman Of Color Can Articulate

Epiphanie Malloy Inkster, MI This stereotypical notion that women of color,especially us in the African American community, are incapable of orating with yell, screaming, being “angry and black” has become accedingly old hat. The shock an awe I receive when I properly articulate my feelings, ideas and general statements/responses is far more annoying and frequent [...]