David Chen, New York, NY. I grew up in China listening to artists like 50 cent, Tupac, Snoop dogg (lion), and Jay-Z. I have every one of Jay-Z’s songs memorized and for a Chinese kid, that wasn’t easy. For as long as I can remember, I was fascinated by African American (is this the politically […]
Wyndee Holbrook, San Antonio, TX. Mrs. Thicklin was my 5th grade teacher. She was my best teacher and she was my first African American teacher. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She taught me unequivocally that race does not define people, regardless of what my dad said.
Jane Cavazos, San Antonio, TX I have been reading the stories of African Americans for several years–their struggles, triumphs, setbacks and progress…I feel badly about the immense suffering they have endured over centuries of injustice. I will make reparations by volunteering my service in a public library in the African American community.
All my life, people have mistaken me for “races” that I am not: Mexican, Hawaiian, Filipino, Indian, Brazilian. I was always flattered because I thought this meant I looked exotic and “different,” I wanted to look different. I didn’t want to look “haole,” our stolen Hawaiian word for “white.” That’s when I uncovered the implicit […]
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 […]
Matthew Powers, Riverside, CA. “Growing up Irish and being raised by a single mom in the 50’s and 60’s in Omaha I saw racial tension and acts all around the city, but I can’t say I understood anything about it until my younger sister and I were transferred to a different school because mom couldn’t […]
Cooper Shell, Jackson, TN. She’s White in a Black Body….. That is what has ALWAYS been said to describe me—since I was at least 12 years old. My name is Cooper Shell, and I grew up in Choctaw County, MS. I hail from a blended family which is very typical in my town. I suppose […]
Jani Lee New York City, NY I accept what African American friends/co-workers say, I would like to answer, “But it wasn’t me.” I listen, feel and absorb their pain in an attempt to try and make things right.
Kenneth L. Selmore, St. Augustine, FL. As long as AA’s misuse our economic power in America we will get no respect and our children will continue to die.
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 […]
Malikah Black, Urbana, IL. Based on stereotypes and neither are my sisters. The media instantly judge African American Women on their many failures, but what about their success? You’re most likely to hear about the statics of African American Women getting pregnant in 2015 on social media than those who graduated from college or trade […]
Dinah Paulos, San Francisco, CA. My family originates in Ethiopia, and I am the first generation who was not born there. So what does that make me? I am the true definition of African American. My family is from Africa and I was born in America, thus making me an African American. When I tell […]
Marquelle, CA. Don’t believe the hype! I am African American! I am not a violent criminal. I have never been arrested! I am not lazy and uneducated, on welfare, or living in poverty. I am gainfully employed, and I attend California Baptist University! I am not athletic. I cannot play basketball or run fast! I […]
Valerie Elverton Dixon, East St Louis, IL. As an African-American woman living in a society where the standard of beauty is light skin and straight hair, I am so grateful that I came of age during a time in this nation’s history when we started to celebrate and to affirm the beauty of various skin […]
Tanya, Manakin Sabot, VA. My (adopted) son is biracial, his bio-father is unknown. I will never be able to connect him with his biological African American family. There is a void that I will never be able to fill for him . This breaks my heart as his mama.
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 […]
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, […]
Lisa Latten, Richmond Heights, OH. I am more than African American. I am tired of being passed over for positions that I more than qualified to hold. I am tired of working twice as hard to prove my worth when my white counterparts who are less qualified laugh.
Charles Tanner, Midland, TX. I am an American,there is not a pre or post to that I was not brought here I was born here. Yes my distant family came from somewhere else. But as with anyone who truly wants to be an American they assimilated. Just as if I wanted to make any other […]
Kasey Nichols, Clemmons, NC. I’ve known I’ve been adopted since I can remember and never questioned my ethnicity until I reached middle school age because we had to fill out cards with “check yes if Latino, African American, white or other.” Biologically I’m Mexican and Italian, but I was raised white with my dad being […]
Anna Goldstein, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project=- University of Michigan
Journey Brown-Saintel, Charlotte, NC. So, just because I’m black it’s okay to assume I’m African-American? Or is just easier? My family comes from Haiti; I’m Caribbean for freak’s sake. But there’s no box for me to check besides the Black/African-American one. Why are you grouping me? Historically, I have more of a connection to France […]
Cynthia Flynn Bryn Mawr, PA This was mostly not true where I grew up in inner city Seattle, but when I went to the South in 1968, that was my universal experience of African-Americans. It still happens today, even in professional settings.
Dahomey Abanishe, Secrest, FL. As a child in Kansas, I always assumed I was African-American and not because of what I was culturally but because of how I looked. I am Truly a Nigerian American culturally. My father is Nigerian and I was raised eating pepper stew and listening to Fela. No one fried chicken […]
Jeremy Tolbert, Austin, TX. I work in the high tech industry where there are < 2‰ African-Americans at my job. When I meet new people, I always hear, “I’ve seen you around”. I stand out because there aren’t many people in high-tech that look like me.
Clay Terry, Cincinnati, OH. I just want to put it out there that I have a multitude of African American friends, not all black people are ignorant. However, most of them are. I did not grow up racist nor are my parents racist. I developed my way of thinking from observing the black community around […]
Patricia L. Gadsden, Central, PA. As an African American female in the 1960’s, I was discouraged from attending college. It was explained to me that I wasn’t college material. I’m not sure what they really meant since I graduated with straight A’s from high school.
Nic Rossouw, Seattle, WA. My son and I are both immigrants. I left apartheid South Africa in 1983. My family are white Africans who have lived in South Africa since the 16th century, only a few of my cousins and I have left. I sometimes half jokingly call myself African-American, but it is not really […]
Nichole Pettit, Lake Como, NJ. Monmouth University I’m biracial. I’m not just African American, I’m also American, German, English and Irish! Many say “You’re black,” sure but I’m not just that. Do not reduce my race and ethnic background to a single word. I do not belong to a single group, I belong to many. […]
Shirley, Glendale, CA. I find it heartbreaking and appalling when we have the likes of Bill O’Reilly and those in the conservative right say that say “All Lives Matter.” To me, that is as oppressive and violent as Jim Crow Laws. From a Latina feminist perspective, Black Live Do Matter as long as Black African […]
Rewan, New York, NY. I’m 15 years old, and I live in New York. My parents were both born and raised in Egypt and moved here in the ’80s. Let me cut to the chase- I’ve been called white, Hispanic, “light skin,” but I consider my self Arabic, because Egyptians speak Arabic and is located […]
Edgar Montgomery, Brick, NJ. Monmouth University To know the story of my six words, one just needs to turn on any news channel, daily. Or, check the bureau of labor statistics since its inception. Or, check statistics on levels of incarceration for African Americans. Or, view all forms of media open to human consumption. Or, […]
Darryl Harvey Fort Mill, SC
Tracy, Pittsburgh, PA. During the summer I’m darker so I’m African American, during the winter I’m lighter so I’m other. My family comes from a mix of dark and light skinned Spaniards, French and Jews. We are Dominican. I am American.
Terrie, East Palo Alto, CA. Soon after moving to an exciting silicon valley in the first years of the internet boom, it felt like anything was possible in this new world. I was invited by a friend to a party given by a start-up founder, held at his home. We arrived separately from my friend […]
Tre’zure Glover, Banning, CA. Being an African American woman comes with its assumptions and stereotypes. The main stereotype and assumptions deals with our hair. Many people question why is our hair so nappy? Why is it so greasy? How long does it take to grow? do you wash it everyday? Those are just some questions […]
Ernest Fabrizio Garcia New Fairfield, CT Neither of us are African-American, but our children are. There seems to be a conception that doing black hair well is partially genetic.
Susan Kosior, Fredericksburg, VA.
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 […]
Janice Davidsson, Norfolk, VA. You can’t help who you fall in love with and this American girl fell in love with an African boy. So that makes our son African American. Here’s the catch that a lot of people have an issue with… He’s white. He has blonde hair and blue green eyes and is […]
Taylor Butts, Chesapeake, VA. I’m Black. Completely. I’ve tried to trace my ancestry but couldn’t get very far. I’m very light skinned and “talk white” aka speak proper english so I don’t always fit in with my fellow African Americans but my hair never matched the white girls. Needless to say, I had a hard […]
Jessica Cooper, Glasgow, KY. The first time I met an African-American individual I was three years old. My mother and I were walking down an isle in the supermarket and I looked up to see a little girl with the prettiest hair. She had braids with beads and ponytails and I loved it. My three-year-old […]
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 […]
Danya Granado Aurora, CO If you must place me in a racial category, then call me black. And no, I’m not offended when you say it. My family is from Trinidad and Tobago. I was born in England. I have a Hispanic last name. I get a lot of questions. Culturally, I feel as though […]
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, […]
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.
Chevelloni El, Newark, DE. My daughter attends a multicultural festival at her school each year where students share their experiences, cultures and history. She wants to tell about our history an cultures but I would be embarrassed to set up a table that says that we are African Americans- Africa is a whole darn continent. […]
Becky White Feather Riney, Quincy, IL. I am Native American and Caucasian. I hate knowing that there are people out there that simply because of the color of a person’s skin means (to them) they think someone Black (African American) or any race OTHER THAN WHITE is less than or undeserving of their acceptance, love […]
Michael Swanegan, Chino Hilla, CA. Im a 22 year old African American male who lives in California. Whenever I enter a store, gas station, or even a movie theater. I feel an unwanted vibe as if I’m on the radar by all the managers and floor workers. A negative vibe as if I’m being looked […]
Myla Ledesma, Westbloomfield, MI. My mother is African American and my father is Puerto Rican. Me and all my siblings are biracial, we all look alike the only difference is their light skin and I’m brown skin. We all have medium length hair. Anytime I’m with them we get ask are we mixed and when […]
Melanie Cowart, Fair Oaks Ranch, TX. My parents were married in 1934 when miscegenation was illegal in most states. Until I was older, I didn’t realize how much courage it took for them to be together. My mother, who was white, raised her two daughters, now 80 and 62, to be proud African-American women. I’m […]
Brandon Hopson, Portsmouth, VA. Sometimes as an African American, I feel as if I have to work twice as hard to top white people in order to achieve success.
Elhussein Elnefeidi, Mission Viejo, CA.
Tori Collins, Washington, DC. Depression is real and doesn’t care about your race. If you’re African-American and female not only are you expected to be resilient enough to just take the hits and keep going, if you can’t due to emotional or mental illness, you’re considered to have an attitude, you’re a mean or a […]
Eric D., Houston, TX. While my son was in elementary school, I asked what race dose he tells his schoolmates he was. He quickly responded, “White”. When I asked why, he said that his skin color wasn’t brown or black. As he grew older he learned about both his Spanish and African American heritage. Now […]
Jean, Cathedral City, CA. I am a teacher and they try to tell us that we all have bias. In 11 years I have only kicked 3 kids out of class and none have been African American. They told me if I took “this test” I would be surprised, guess what, no bias. Screw them […]
Jeremy Martin, Cincinnati, OH. My 7-year-old daughter about the only African American girl on her cheer team. How do we move past skin color as an identity, even for children?
Jendayi Rachal, California, CA. I am a proud African-American female who is goal oriented and has her priorities in order. I do not follow stereotypes. I like to express myself and be an individualist. And I know how to enunciate and articulate as well. Intelligence does not belong to a specific skin color.
Matthew Garcia, Salinas, CA. I’m African-American, my mother would have my stay at my baby sitters house after school while she was working. One day my mom picked me up from my baby sitters house but before we left my mom and the babysitter were having conversation. I was playing in the living room when […]
Jared Blocker, Gainesville, FL. My name is Jared. And this is my attempt at trying to post a race card. I was born and raised in the US, yet I don’t see myself as just black, I also see myself as an African-American. Whenever I hear the term “black” I think of my brothers and […]
African American professional Kansas City, MO
Justin John Banks, Boston, MA. My ancestors were both Native and African American. The U.S. was molded by the labor of both of these brave peoples and although they shed blood and tears in the countries formation, they left their mark on U.S. soil forever.
Jeff Boothe TX If you were born here you are not African-American, Mexican-American, and Chinese-American. No one says they are European-American, Scottish-American, and Spanish-American. Why do people dilute themselves to being less than American.
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.
Shaunta Whitaker, Lompoc, CA. I am a grandmother and I love being a grandmother but with it comes some heartache because of some of the stares I have to endure when I am out with my grandson. I am African-American with a dark brown complexion and my grandson is mixed with Mexican, Italian and African-American […]
Willis Mackey Jr., Christchurch, VA. I think that race is not a colour, but an ethnicity. I am so tired of being placed into the stereotypes of an African American. I am skin colour is black, I am a Bahamian. Born and raised in the Bahamas I should not have to be classified because of […]
Brian Easterling, Paoli, PA.
Natalie, Seattle, WA. My grandmother never got to pass for white. She was sent to indian boarding school. 50 years later, I grew up in white suburbia, where no one assumed I was Native or even mixed-race. I self-identify as Native, I speak Chahta, I participate as a tribal citizen, I carry on the family […]
Alexis Bishop, USA. Quotas? Oh no, of course colleges don’t have those… or so they say. How else, then, can one explain why an African-American would be accepted in a heartbeat over a White American of equal credentials? Sometimes, this is even the case when the White student has higher credentials. Is this equality? Absolutely […]
Patricia Hogan, Missoua, MT.
Lottie MSF, St. Louis, MO. Born in LA, raised in Compton, became an adult in Bay Area, relocated to MO. Loved by entrepreneur/homemaker grandparents. Raised by entrepreneur, GED, get the job done, courageous, make it happen parents with 50+ years of marriage. I’m a well balanced contributing, career woman, parent, wife, aunt & daughter. My […]
Tierra Wells Holly Hill, SC Personally I have not experience this, but there has been stories told to me about this subject. When an African American walks into a store apparently the sales associate, who happens to be white, begins to look at the African American customer very closely. It’s as if the sales associate […]
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 […]
Andrea Krida Goff, Providence, RI. I’m a teacher in a wonderfully diverse urban high school in Providence. Every year during Spirit Week, one of the days is devoted to cultural celebration. We have African-Americans wearing colorful headwraps, Asians wearing kimonos, Dominicans waving their country’s flag, and me. Every year I struggle with a wardrobe that […]
Anonymous, Washington, DC.
Laura N. Weston, Baltimore, MD. About 80% of the time people assume (mostly men) I am Puerto Rican even though I am half Caucasian and half African American. I stress to everyone who thinks it is important enough to ask me what I am that I am Mixed or Biracial and I state with what. […]
Amani, Jamaica. Caribbean born Americans are way more disciplined than African Americans so they should not be put in the same category.
Tricia Tillman, Portland, OR. I have a funny story about how race and gentrification interact. My son walked out the front door of our house which is in a neighborhood that is gentrifying and yelled back in “Mom, I just saw 2 naked people riding down the street!” When I walked outside, we heard an […]
Queenie, Virginia Beach, VA. I am an African American mother of a 23 year old son. We have seen lots of race issues on the news, on television shows, and on social media in the last year. The response that I see many white people say is that they are tired of hearing about these […]
Phyllis W. Allen, Fort Worth, TX. I am a sixty year old woman who has lived through segregation, integration, Colored, Negro,, Black, African American, segregation, marches, integration, Pan Africanism, opulent consumption, financial catastrophe and now I’m just me.
Jeffrey Miller, Tampa, FL. Our rich history, our artifacts, our language, even our names were taken from us.
Brittany Carney, Washington, DC. As a person that is three quarters African American and one quarter Japanese, I feel that culturally I’m the other away around.
Jennifer Woods, Okemos, MI. I am a 65 year old African American and am sick to death that in 2012 we are still, Still, STILL having this same tired conversation about race. That we still have to have “the talk” with our young men. That black people continue, decades after Dr. King’s dream, to be […]
Erica Watts, Arlington, TX. Growing up, I believed that I was all African American. My mother was African American and so was my brother and that is all I needed to know, to know that I was African American. However, as i got older, people began to question my ethnicity. Some claiming that I looked […]
Corey, USA. 93%-95% of African-Americans voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Is it a coincidence that Obama is African-American? African-Americans can call each other “n*****” and freak out when white people use the word in a non-insulting way. They call white people crackers and they don’t care. If someone commits a crime towards an […]
Celesti Colds Fechter, Tarrytown, NY. I feel as though when I am the only African-American in a setting that I feel obligated to “speak” for other African-Americans. I will not do it and don’t ask me to do it. I had a job where I was the first African-American hired in a professional setting. I […]
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. […]
Sherhonda Florence, AL As a child, every time a white girl touched my hair, she had something derogatory to say about how my hair felt to her fingers. Those experiences didn’t end with adulthood. I was a career professional at a university in Huntsville, Alabama, when a coworker asked to touch my hair. My hair […]
Kiesha Ireland-Tran San Francisco, CA I am an African American girl, yet I grew up scared of black people. I felt that I was unsafe and didn’t belong with them. An adult in my life lead me to believe these things that changed how I perceived myself and others. People identified me as ‘white’ despite […]
Alonzo Felder, Durham, NC. Called by many names over the years.
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. […]
Mary Ann Costanzo, Beacon Falls, CT. Most of us will not admit that we are biased against black, African Americans. We are not intelligent enough to understand that most of our racism is due to ignorance and fear of our society, government, and culture. Instead of targeting the real sources of our problems (government, corporations, […]
Morgan Krost, Norco, CA. I think everyone should be proud of their race and be able to show support without it being deemed racist. The media shows a lot of encouragement of Latinos and African Americans for various months or important leaders’ birthdays, but not for White people. It’s like society thinks every day is […]
Jake, USA. My mother is from Ghana and my father is from New York. I am African-American and it drives me crazy when people who have a distant relative from Africa consider themselves African-American when they have no cultural ties to Africa. Black Culture is different from African Culture.
Cyndi Morris, Los Gatos, CA. I’m a White mom of a Black son, living in an overwhelmingly white neighborhood. I struggle against my in adequate education on race in America. I’m sure I stumble as I guide my son toward valuing everything about himself, including his African American heritage. I have known that I need […]
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 […]
Aniaka McCowan, Union City, CA. Everyone one always says “oh my god you have a kid” Just because I hold a child doesn’t mean I’m a young mother. A caucasian women asked me why I ruined my life having a bastard child you probably don’t even know the father. I simply said why do you […]
Kate Reid, Worthington, OH. My daughters and I in the attached picture. Three races. Three skin-tones. None of which identify with “African-American” yet that is often the assumption and the only “box” to check.