Nikai Mutagaana Freedom, PA Is this still a free country? Then why are so many African American young people getting shot by police for being where they “don’t belong?” I get sick thinking about my childrens safety when they are not at home. I am very stressed about my son going away to school. These [...]
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.
Misha N Utica, NY I was born in the Caribbean, and I am Black, For some reason people insist on saying I’m “African American”. It’s not a bad word. I am not American, therefore I am not “African American”
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Alexis Beauford Normal, IL 2 years ago I decided to go natural. A lot of non-ethnic people don’t know what that means. When an African American woman gets a perm, it’s to make her hair straight and more manageable which is the opposite of when some other ethnicities get a perm. When someone decides to [...]
DR JAMES LEWIS III EFFINGHANM, NJ I am African American, and I am the neuropsychologist. In many settings especially medical settings the reaction of the family when I greet them for an appointment is simply “We are waiting for the neuropsychologist”
Charlotte Houston, TX I grew up close to African Americans. They were guests in our home and people on the bus with us. I never noticed how taboo touching was between us until I was 30 and a neighbor girl came over to play with my kids. She skinned her knee and as I hugged [...]
Kerwens R. Pinthiere Cranston, RI It really bothers me when people call me African American because of my skin color. I am Haitian and I am proud.
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 [...]
Daisha Taylor Cleveland, OH Every time an African American graduates is another way we prove society wrong. But it is another future persued and created.
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.
John Lane Cincinnati, OH In college and through my entire professional life, I have always been the only African-American in the “room” I am “safe” and “non-threatening”……… And full of rage.
Matthew Garcia Salinas, CA Im 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 [...]
Carmela Atlanta, GA I am significantly more than the color of my skin. I am the culture of my people and I am amazing. Get to know me and my color and you will be amazed. If not, I can continue to be amazing without you. I realize I have nothing to prove to anybody [...]
Abby Memphis, TN Anything I say, African Americans can call racist, but anything they can I can’t say call racist. That’s causing racism.
Nikolette Joseph Union City, CA People always ask me what is my ethnicity. I respond saying Fijian and they look at me like what the heck is that. I explain to them that its an small island next to Hawaii. ”Ohhh okay” as they say. The Fiji water , that’s where you come from? So [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Colton Denver, CO An incredibly close friend of mine was one of the only white girls at an African-American/Asian majority school. Months ago she was assaulted at a graduation party by a group of girls, for the main reason of her being a “privileged white girl who needs to be roughed up.” She was kicked [...]
Anthony Galloway Baltimore, MD In being African American it’s always perceived that’s blacks are a product of an inter-city environment with negative tendencies. Even if thats true you don’t have to be handcuffed to them. Achievement is from individual drive and not based on race.
Rachel Kroontje Morris, MN In the past several months, I almost dated two very nice guys who happened to be African American. To my shock and disgust, I had a very close friend who I would have never thought in a million years to be even slightly racist tell me, “It’s disgusting that you are [...]
Maggie Whitman Boston, MA My African-American friend freaks out whenever anyone asks to touch or play with her hair, but she is always coming up and playing with my hair (and other white women’s hair) without asking. I don’t want to say anything… but it seems hypocritical.
Jeffrey Miller Tampa, FL Our rich history, our artifacts, our language, even our names were taken from us.
Derek Kendall Cullowhee, NC Why Is it when people see a African American student going to college they automatically assume that he must be here on a to play sports. On the other hand when white people are at college its only because they are smart and their parents have a good amount of money [...]
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.
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 [...]
Rhonda Frederick Chestnut Hill, MA
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 [...]
Chanel Tate South Holland, IL This is something my African-American mom would say to me all the time when I was a kid and I called her out on saying something derogatory or stereotypical about other races. She’s dead now and it’s harder and harder for me to remember the sound of her voice, much [...]
Michelle Nickol Tucson, AZ Now that both my parents have passed away, I wish I had a camera to record the reactions on people’s faces when I’d introduce my Mother, Caucasian, and my Step-Father, African American. You could see the genetic race meters whirring in their minds trying to imagine how much of what went [...]
Leyitha P. Achoute Philadelphia, PA I don’t like to be identify as a African American, it get me mad. I’m “black” skinned, but I wasn’t born in America nor Africa. I was born in Haiti, an island in the Caribbean. Every time I’m filling a form, I just check the box that’s says other race.
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. [...]
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 [...]
Willie McBride Long Beach, CA I was born in Taiwan to a Chinese mother and African American father. I was orphaned an American serviceman and his wife adopted me; my adopted father just happens to be African American and my mother is Chinese. They also never mentioned that I was adopted and so I grew [...]
Tara Jackson, MS They go to the highest scoring elementary school in the state of Mississippi which happens to be 98% African- American. My kids are white and they don’t care about skin color and because of their school probably never will, I hope.
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 [...]
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 [...]
Abesheet Seattle, WA [White] America may lump us all together; but as far as we are concerned, american-born blacks might as well have been white or asian. We have nothing in common.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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.
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 [...]
Lorinda Roberts Carmel, IN For my friend, Rabi, who was born and raised in Africa and is now applying for citizenship, however, cannot describe himself as an African American, according to state college officials.
Ed Karesky Escondido, CA When I was in fourth grade a new family moved into our lower middle class apartment complex. They were African American. I was out riding my bicycle with a friend when the six year old of that family rode his bike up to us and asked if he could ride with [...]
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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
Jan Hedlun Potrero, CA I am a white female who was in a relationship with an African-American gentleman. There was no gray area for most people when it came to our love. Sad what the world doesn’t understand.
Tracey Lincoln Needham, MA I am a proud Jamaican immigrant who was raised in that tiny island until I was eighteen years old. There, we have rampant classism, but racism – in a country that is over 90% black – is not something I had to deal with until I went to an elite small [...]
David San Francisco, CA Policing blackness is when other African Americans determine what views are acceptable and then deintergrate or cast out fellow African Americans who do not share the same view.
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 [...]
Jane Fairfield, CA I was bullied heavily by African American women in Junior HS and told to watch ky back. I ran for secretary of my school against a very nice (AA) peer. It was my first experience with hatred I find now that there continues to be much hatred against whites but this never [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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” [...]
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 [...]
Maada Jawa Thomas Plainsboro, NJ
Marcus Atlanta, GA Born of African American parents, raised by my African American mother and Irish-German (adopted) father. Big brother to a bi-racial sister and my cousins are white, Asian and Latino.
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.
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, [...]
Darryl Harvey Fort Mill, SC
Eric D. Riner, VA Both of my parents were born in Haiti and legally immigrated to the United States where I was born. I feel blessed and privilege to call myself Haitian American. I have a rich experience because I grew up as a part of two cultures. My niece and nephew are of Haitian, [...]
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. [...]
Michelle Baird Berkeley, CA My daughter is in a fairly diverse elementary school. She is African-American, I am white. She commented one day on the way in to school that all the kids in the class she says is kids with behavior problems are black. She wonders why. So do 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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
L P SIMMONS LONG BEACH, CA IT’S SO HARD BEING AN AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE THAT TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE GAINS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. I HAD THE CHANCE TO GO TO COLLEGE FREE AND EXPERIENCE A LOT IN LIFE. BECAUSE THESE ADVENTURES ARE NOT COMMON TO THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY, THE EXPERIENCES AND MYSELF [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Auguste Budhram Austin, TX I was broke, in my twenties and had just moved to NYC when a friend told me that I could earn some extra cash by being a part of a focus group. When I called the ad agency, I was told I’d be asked a series of questions to determine if [...]
Regina Sims Ann Arbor, MI
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?”. [...]
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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
Anna Goldstein Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project=- University of Michigan
Anne Palmer-Stein San Rafael, CA I read an article in the newspaper about a 19 year old African American youth (my white son’s age at the time) who rode his skateboard the wrong way in traffic. The police followed him home and beat him up on his doorstep. Afterwards, when his mom spoke up about [...]
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 [...]
Freda NC I am African American. Growing up I was often asked this question in some form or another “are you mixed, what are you, what are you mixed with, what’s your nationality, are you Indian, where are you from?” As I got older, the question began to offend me more, especially when the person [...]
Alexandria Jones Columbus, OH As a biracial woman (African American and Caucasian) who married a Caucasian man I’m afraid that our future children will not resemble me and I will have to constantly explain/prove to other people that my children are mine!!
Angela Tucker Seattle, WA African American adult adoptee born in the South, raised by Caucasian parents in the pacific Northwest.
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, [...]
Chelsea White (African American) Ann Arbor, MI and… “My skin speaks when I don’t”
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 [...]
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 [...]
Carl Yard Hamden, CT I think the term African American was self serving for Black Americans .They obviously did not consider people like me who are black and from the Caribbean or Black people from other countries.How about white people living in America but are from South Africa.They to would be considered African American.I prefer [...]
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 [...]
Colin Mitchell Sacramento, CA Being black in this country without your family being from this country is a very interesting experience. I was an adult before I figured out why I didn’t quite fit in…
Michelle P. Covington, LA We decided to adopt a child years ago. We are not infertile, but felt like it was a great way to add to our family, while loving someone who needed us. Our research showed us that African-American children, especially boys, are the least adoptable in our country. We decided to adopt [...]
Corrie Bugby Murray, UT I am a Caucasian woman who adopted three African American sons. I love them. I cherish everything about them. And I hate it when people assume that they aren’t my children. Like the woman who asked me, “Don’t you think you’d love a biological child more?” ?! I have come to [...]
Charles Ricker Charlotte, NC Can’t we be just American instead of hyphenated?
Joseph San Diego, CA There is no box for me. I am lumped in with all others who are not Asian, African-American, Latino, Native American, etc. This categorization process strips me of my identity. When it comes to opportunity, what about the fact that I grew up poor, never knew my father, and never finished [...]
Anonymous, Baltimore, MD It was intended to be a compliment from a African-American woman to myself. I took it as that in the moment. Later I wondered how would it feel if someone said “But you’re not black, black.”