soul surfer

Soul Surfer is Light without color

NanJo Carter, Richmond, CA. I grew up in the fifties and sixties. We moved to Japan when I was 2. We moved to Montgomery, AL when I was six and I attended Capitol Heights Elementary School. These were intense times with the National Guard escorting us to class and the school. We experienced discrimination and […]

Jenny has made you a pie

Trey Willy Seale, AL I was small and white. Jenny was old and black. She took care of me when I was little when my great aunts that I lived with were away at work. I played with her grandchildren at our home there in the country. Together we would climb the high magnolias, explore […]

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A brokenness often neglected, never forgotten.

Daniel Harrison, Auburn, AL. What do I mean by neglected? I don’t just mean the easily targeted racists who are the enemy to be removed or reformed. Nor do I mean to target anti-racist activists who may unknowingly add fuel to the fire with false accusations. I mean the moral problem deep within the human […]

You’re pretty for a DARK SKIN GIRL

Alexandria James-Hayes, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I have lived in the suburbs my whole life and I grew up around mostly white people. My parents are divorced, my father lives in Alabama and I live with my mother and stepfather. When I use to visit Alabama my fathers family would always say “you talk like a […]

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Hispanic Guy Trying To Fit In

Cesar Bazo, Auburn, AL. I know deep inside myself that I belong to a minority group here in the United States. I am a Peruvian living in Alabama. However, the fact that I belong to a minority group does not make me feel inferior or less likely to succeed. On the contrary, I believe this […]

Not racist, proud to be white

Rusty Loiselle, Huntsville, AL. I don’t have a problem with anyone of any color. Color is not something we had a choice in. I have a problem with ignorance, thugs, people who are morally bankrupt and think the world owes them a living. I have a problem with people who think that they should receive […]

One drop rule says I’m black.

Gerald D. Franks, Town Creek, AL. But you wouldn’t know that by looking at me. I’m the typical American mixture of various European ethnicities (aka white), and I have Cherokee lineages as well (documented, not just family lore). While doing some genealogical work I decided to have my genome fully sequenced in case there were […]

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A divisive dividing line against commonality…

Anonymous, Summerdale, AL. To fully understand the reasons why race is such a hot button topic in my opinion,is that one must look at the historical basis that set the foundation for the racial discord in this country and beyond its shores.We will never be able to get beyond race until we are truly able […]

The look they gave us! Not love.

Robert Falcon Birmingham, AL Grew up in Birmingham in the 1960’s. My father never gave me cause to judge anyone else because of skin color. He always emphasized that it was the content of their character that really mattered. When I turned 16 one of my good friends introduced me to his family, his neighborhood, […]

My natural hair looks like this.

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 […]

Racial divisions are America’s Achilles heel.

Shirley Hicks, Birmingham, AL. When I came to the United States four years ago, one of the first things I noticed was the racial divides. At home, it’s language and class. Here, it’s race, class and access to power. Here in the South, it’s been especially important to know and understand that history in order […]

I called my white grandmother Mammy.

Kendra Jones Selma, AL My grandmother carried her moniker with pride, though it has a dubious beginning: At six weeks of age my mother was given away to an aunt I refer to as my grandmother. My mother’s biological mother meant it as an insult when she said, “Oh, just go to your mammy.” But […]

Read Kingsblood Royal by Sinclair Lewis

Marsha Surkin, White Bear Lake, MN. I am a white woman, 72 yrs old. When I was 11 I disobeyed my mom and read Kingsblood Royal. This was the first time I was aware of racial diveristy. In the book a man finds out he has a black grandfather and is run out of town. […]

Don’t justify with the ‘American Dream’

Kate Moss, Tuscaloosa, AL. The narrative of ‘work hard and you will flourish’ has become the rallying cry for people unwilling to face the realities of systemic inequity in the United States. I do not believe the American Dream is alive and well, but I think the idea of it allows people to keep a […]

Grandaddy gave carp to the darkies.

Clay Underwood, San Diego, CA. My grandfather, born 1890’s, was an avid fisherman. My brother and I fished with him in rural north Alabama when we spent summers there in the 1960’s. If grandaddy caught a carp he would give it to one of the black families he knew (he called blacks “darkies”). We were […]

Man not party. Biggest Bigot running.

Robert S. Davis, Hanceville, AL. My southern blue collar father said that he never voted for the party but only for the man. Most of his life he voted for Democrats but in his last years he voted all Republican. He always voted for the biggest bigots running, even if only by party association, Dad […]

I am black but not proud.

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.

I trusted adults that taught hate.

Stan Pitts Anchorage, AK I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and was 10 years old during the fateful year 1963. My father was a Birmingham Police officer terribly conflicted between upholding the law and the treatment of the civil rights participants. My trusted adults and role models, the church leaders, scout masters, and teachers, taught […]

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I hate hearing “The neighborhood changed.”

Glenny Brock , Birmingham, Al. Submitted via Twitter: @glennybrock   Always code. In fact, most of the people I’ve heard say this were people who themselves CHANGED neighborhoods by leaving.     Glenny’s 6Word essay launched an interesting exchange via Twitter, follow along below…How do you weigh in on the topic?  Comment below. I hate […]

What is replacing racism is scary.

Sheryl Huntsville, AL There are genuinely good people that would discourage racism towards minorities any day, but who unfortunately are extremely ignorant, so their perception of other races are still innacurate and stereotypical. For example, a friend of mine–Black–started working at a law firm. He and his White co-workers were talking about politics one day, […]

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Caucasian, trying not to be white

Anonymous Mobile, AL I was born and raised Caucasian, though of course, like most Caucasians, I was referred to and referred to myself as “white.” But like so many, I found myself attracted to African American culture, and, generally, more accepted by African Americans. As I’ve grown, becoming an instructor of English and therefore, an […]

There’s no such thing as race.

Dustin Mobile, AL Race only exists in the minds of people who believe in race. In reality we are all individuals with our own individual traits, not group representatives stamped with group traits. Race is not a real thing. Stop making it one.

Times Have Changed.. Or Have They?

Juanita Shields Tuscaloosa, AL People Say That Mistakes Are Lessons Learned, But When Does Those Lessons Become Permanent? When Will This Society Realize That We Can Benefit A Million Times More From Each? We’re Supposed To Be A Nation, United, Standing Together For A Common Good. If You Want Your Country To Be The Best, […]

Unique and enriching experience shaped me!

Pamela Payne Foster Tuscaloosa, AL I entered high school in 1972 and was part of an integration experiment in Atlanta GA called the Minority to Majority program where I was bussed out of my neighborhood school which was 100% Black to a neighborhood school 20 miles away which was mainly White/Jewish. Other Black children all […]

Integrate. Know me; don’t fear me.

Laurie Johns Tuscaloosa, AL I am white. I attended integrated public schools in Montgomery, Alabama from 1st through 12th grade graduating from Sidney Lanier High School in 1983 as part of a white minority of around 30%. I believe having an integrated school experience allowed me to know and be familiar with black people and […]

Biggest problem affecting quality public education

Denise Hills Tuscaloosa, AL I live in Tuscaloosa, AL. I’ve been involved with education, primarily at public schools, for years. This past election, I ran for chair of the city school board, because I wanted to be sure that the needs of all children in our system were met. I was blown away by some […]

Freedom Fighters didn’t work for this!

Kerri Ash Tuscaloosa, AL When I think of the sacrifices of all of those who fought before me, I’m ashamed of how we (parents, the schools, the churches, the community) have failed them and our kids. We have failed and our children are following suit. When we do better, they’ll do better.

Never met Grandfather because “Bull” Did

Andrea James Andrews Fresno, CA Our personal family legend includes Bull Connor from Alabama. My grandfather was diagnosed as Schizophrenic but that didn’t stop Bull Conner from killing him either before or right after they took him to the Colored Hospital for the Insane. Have an irrational hate for anything “Alabama” since then (born and […]

Harassed and beaten for being white.

Rita Burkholder Huntsville, AL Growing up in the seventies and eighties was hard on all of us as kids. But having fellow students channel their parents lingering anger and resentment from pre civil rights era was difficult for all of us. Some of my fellow students beat me badly in the first grade for being […]

Theater: Black line clinging, Tall building

Vera Patricia Mitchell Lillian, AL I remember My father showing me how the black people entered the theater in Pensacola. through a door at the top of a 3-4 story building after climbing a rickety 2×4 stairway on the outside. I was 11, It was 1962. It was frighting and so dangerous. My grandfather once […]

Slavery, stolen opportunities. Abolition, broken promises.

Delphine Fenderson Birmingham, AL So much was taken from my people during slavery. We are the only Americans that worked and built this country and got nothing in return. It continued with Jim Crow, share cropping, low minimum wages, stereotypes, having to fight for basic human rights. In order to maintain this status quo this […]

White privilege doesn’t work for Asians

Martin Smith Mobile, AL We are told that the wealth and functionality of Whites and the poverty and dysfunction of non-Whites comes from “White privilege.” Yet it doesn’t work for Asians, who as a group are as wealthy as Whites. How did they overcome racism like that, and why did the Blacks not? The Jews […]

Ancestors were pirates. EVERYBODY’s my cousin!

Martha DeWolfe Huntsville, AL Some of my ancestors were so evil a part of the family broke away and went to Canada to get away from them! Lucky for me, the ones who left were in my direct line…but because of the pirates’ horrible deeds, people all over the world are related to me within […]

But, Sir, I’m the victim here.

Roberta Leichnitz Montevallo, AL The events in Florida have brought back so many memories of the things that would happen to my son and his friends in San Antonio when he was in high school. Stopped for “driving while Mexican” in the “wrong” neighborhood, among others. The icing on the cake was when he was […]

Everyone on Earth is from Africa

Dick Christiansen Huntsville, AL “When humans first ventured out of Africa some 60,000 years ago, they left genetic footprints still visible today.” That’s from the National Geographic “Genographic Project”, an incredible on-going work which proved through a simple DNA test of hundreds of thousands of humans around the world that in deed everyone can trace […]

I will burn the house down.

Eric Chesapeake Beach, MD 1974, I was 14 years old; my dad was in the Army, we were moving to Ohio from Weaver, Alabama. The house we lived in we rented. The owner was selling the house and the realtor was in the driveway talking to my dad one day. The neighbor came over to […]

My children can never be president.

Barbara Lewis Madison, AL It has been said that one thing that makes this country great is that any child can grow up to be president. This is not true for my daughters. Because of the “natural-born” clause in our constitution, my daughters, who were born in China but legally adopted into the US by […]

Me, white child on Black bus.

Rebekah Porter Birmingham, Al I was an 8 year old white child in the Fall of 1972. In August of that year was the first time I set foot in Alabama, in a small town, home to a white writer who had had cross burned in his front yard. I didn’t know that famous author’s […]

Justice for all, tempered by mercy.

John Birmingham, AL Until race is not an issue we will never have Justice. Fear keeps us apart. We make the fear by noticing the differences and not similarities. We can only expect Justice when we see only wrongs to be made right, not the color of the perpetrator or the victim..

It sucks being black in America

Charles Long Birmingham, AL Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation I am a 52 year old white man from Birmingham, Al. I had the opportunity to meet Michele at the 16th Street Baptist Church when she was promoting her book “The Grace of Silence”. The more I learn about life in America for African […]

A cancer being treated with aspirin.

Marie Sutton Birmingham,AL The effects of racism are deep — reaching down into the marrow and the soul of this country. We have yet to find a way to effectively treat it. In the meantime, the cancer grows and spreads and reveals itself in many ways like flawed immigration reform, the shooting of Trayvon Martin, […]