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. […]

New experiences: better late than never.

Bryce Beckwith Ann Arbor, MI I attended a catholic, all-girls high school in Sacramento, California. Race and diversity were things I had only experienced through informative assemblies. However; the University of Michigan has made those assemblies a daily experience.

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 […]

I’m never asked about hot sauce.

Christine R. Ann Arbor, MI Before I started dating my “black” boyfriend, I really didn’t think about race very much or the privilege I inherited with my “white” skin. There have been times that people have made rude comments or asked, what I would consider, overtly racist questions upon learning of our interracial relationship. However, […]

Sir, please take your “hat” off

Jasneet Kaur Palaha, Ann Arbor, MI. University of Michigan. Sikhism, a monotheistic religion from Northern India believes the idea of simplicity, therefore requiring to never cut your hair, along with other requests. Men usually tie their hair neatly in a turban, whereas girls commonly let it down. Wherever we were, my father would be frisked […]

Acceptance, like art, comes in all colors.

Harold Rice, Ann Arbor, MI. On Location: University of Michigan 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 […]

Being biracial makes me an edgewalker.

Anonymous Ann Arbor, MI The concept of being an “edgewalker” is from Nina Boyd Krebs–it means you can move between cultural traditions and cultural communities with some level of ease, comfort and enjoyment. Being raised in a Black/White family, we talked about and lived race/ethnicity/socio-economics/etc. daily. I know now that this is a blessing as […]

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, […]

This one a slaveowner in Barbados

Margaret Condon Taylor Ann Arbor, MI My mother and her sister visited me decades ago when they were researching their ancestry. My mother orally provided me with one sentence summaries of some of these ancestors. Sentences included this one scalped by Indians (in Herkimer County, NY), and this one — an epileptic– crushed to death […]

I avoid people that are different.

Jill Noeh Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project-The University of Michigan Explanation: I’ve found that throughout my life, I have avoided people who look and act differently than me. I grew up in a white neighborhood that was sheltered from people who were different. At first it wasn’t me purposefully trying to avoid these people, […]

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Washtenaw students use The Race Card Project to confront bullying

Powerful words from a high school student—shared during the second annual Youth Diversity Forum with a room full of Washtenaw County high schoolers—helped set the tone for a day-long discussion Friday at Eastern Michigan University.

About 200 students and teachers from every public school district in Washtenaw County attended the forum, held at EMU’s College of Business in downtown Ypsilanti.

High school students participate in a social identity exercise at the second annual Youth Diversity Forum at Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business in Ypsilanti.

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 […]

You mean to say Native American

Swapnil Deopurkar Seattle, WA I moved from India to Ann Arbor, Michigan; age 26, male, long hair, parted down the middle and with a pony tail. My first day at the bus stop, started a conversation with an African American undergrad. The conversation abruptly halted with me saying “I am Indian..” and he interrupting “..you […]

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.

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.

Owning my Whiteness, Becoming an Ally

Becky Christensen Ann Arbor, MI Despite growing up in a somewhat racially diverse area in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had never thought about the privileges I had based on being White until I read Peggy McIntosh’s “White: Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” in graduate school. Since then, I’ve been actively exploring and acknowledging […]

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 […]

Dear Grandma, Brown is Beautiful too.

Aliza Hirani Ann Arbor, MI My grandparents often travel from Pakistan to come visit my family once or twice a year. Growing up, my grandma would bring me tubes of “Fair & Lovely” lotion. It is a lotion that apparently bleaches your skin to make it “whiter”. It felt like brown beauty wasn’t good enough. […]