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Did not choose to be Jewish

Sarah Elizabeth Rosen, Laguna Hills, CA. I did not choose to be Jewish. But, I have come to realize as I got older to appreciate who I am and how my religion is important to me. People think I am Mexican because I am tan, but really I am a Eastern European Jew. When I […]

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Yes!! My name means White in spanish!!

Blanca Soto, Hemet, CA. I grew up in a community that was composed of mostly white people. Every time someone would ask my name they would go on to say doesn’t that mean white? Yes! I would reply. Mostly likely laughs would follow and the oh so unique question of “why would your parents name […]

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Ashamed to be a White American

Maria, Lakeland, FL. I’m Italian, so have to identify as white. Do I stand with ‘Christian white america’? No. Race, oritentation, even hair color are not things I judge people on. “Love your neighbor as yourself”, period. No If’s And’s or But’s about it.

Willing to LISTEN, not only hear.

Rochelle Fritsch WI The country’s history and current tension around race and ethnicity create a pull in which some of us need to talk about it, while others of us are so afraid, ashamed and uncomfortable that we only HEAR the concerns of others rather than listening, reflecting and perhaps even learning from them. Some […]

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It’s worse than you probably think

Amelia Ketzle, Carbondale, IL. I was at a Halloween party no more than two years ago, hosted by a girl I had lost touch with recently, when some new arrivals showed up. Everyone had been having a harmless, normal, good time, when this (white) couple came in carrying axes and machetes and covered in fake […]

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Ashamed of American Black culture today

Keville Bowen, Chester, PA. I’m a Black man of three countries. Born in Trinidad, moved Canada and ended in America. Though I have little memory of Trinidad, my recollection of Canada and America are vastly different. I was only know as a Trini in Toronto and as I gained friends, I referred to them as […]

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Ashamed that accomplished minorities surprise me.

Daniel Robbins, Seattle, WA. No matter how liberal and progressive I might claim to be, no matter how many workshops I’ve been to or essays I’ve read about privilege, I still hear my inner voice express pleasant surprise when I see a minority doing well at something. Whether I see a minority excelling in business, […]

Studying slavery makes me feel ashamed.

Sam Henry, Ashville, NC. As a white male Social Studies teacher I always have a difficult time teaching slavery. From what I know about my family tree I don’t have any family members that owned slaves but that is hardly the point. It is a shameful period in our history but one worth studying. I […]

Do I deserve a voice here?

Samantha Poelstra, Richmod, VA. I am half Czech, half German, very much white. I chose these words because I sometimes have a hard time adding to conversations about race because I have internalized guilt over the actions that others my color have committed. I sometimes feel ashamed.

Because I’m white, I feel ashamed.

Sadie Petersen Philadelphia, PA As a child, the streets of west Philadelphia were my playground. I loved going to school in the area and wouldn’t change a thing about how I was raised and how race was never even noted in my small family of four, which eventually grew to a family of 7. However, […]

Go Ahead and Call Me Cracker

Jackie Barclay USA Years ago, I had a run-in at a convenience store with a black woman who apparently hated me because I’m white. I didn’t know the woman and had never gone to that store before but she started calling me a huzz, a bitch, etc. Just when I was getting angry enough to […]

I am so very, very ashamed.

Mark Allen Kleiman Venice, CA As a student activist back in the day, I fought de facto segregation. It breaks my heart to see how quickly things slid back. A “kinder, gentler” end to a “kinder, gentler” Reconstruction. Only nationwide.

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.

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Aunt Lucy would be ashamed

Kevin Potts, Des Moines, IA. Drake University Mankind is surprisingly homogeneous, having evolved from a common ancestor. Our distant relative ‘Aunt Lucy’, the Australopithecus Afarensis hominid, would be ashamed to see how much hatred exists within her ‘family’ on the assumed prominence of racial differences. That is, if her species had the brain capacity to […]

White guilt doesn’t work on me.

Eric Vonhoussen Richmond, VA Let’s be honest. This website isn’t about anything else, but making white people feel guilty and ashamed to be white. Well, my friends, I’m proud to be white, and proud of my people’s accomplishments. it doesn’t mean I’m racist. ( yes you can be both proud of being white and not […]

I’m white and not ashamed.

Matt Portland, OR Lately I’ve seen people of all races attack and belittle white people. Everyone complains about how whites are so racist, but where I come from everyone except white people are treated equally. We constantly get ridiculed for something our generation has no part of. We get made out to be the bad […]

The White Girl: curious, ignorant, ashamed

Rebeca Osborn Ambridge, PA I grew up in largely white, upper-middle-class suburbs, but as a social outcast for different reasons, somehow most of my best friends through life have been non-white or biracial. It’s taken me a long time to learn to just ask questions of people who are different from me, and accept that […]

Ashamed that I was completely oblivious

Diana Valentine Minneapolis, MN I am haunted to this day (and I am now 65) that I was so completely clueless about race, civil rights, and justice when I should have known better at age 15 when the March on Washington occurred. I moved from the North to a small town in the South when […]

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Ashamed of the power given me.

Patrick Casey, MI. Being a white man, from birth, power was bestowed on me. As I did not earn it, I need to acknowledge the unfairness of this birthright in America, and set about the task of sharing this power with others lower on the pyramid.

Just Wanna Be A Good Person

Elizabeth Simson Durant Portland, OR Facing race and racism is hard for white people like me because we feel guilty and ashamed. We wish we weren’t racist. We don’t mean to be. “We can’t help it.” It shook me up the day I realized that being “good” i.e. being “innocent” is part of my white […]

Silently ashamed by my Anglo-Saxon heritage.

Kelly Cirigliano Orange, CA I am ostensibly white. In the secrecy of my heart, I am embarrassed of my race. Often I feel the urge to shout, “I am not like them! I am not defined by my ancestry!” But still, I am ashamed. I am ashamed that the color of my skin is associated […]

Ashamed by white bread and atrocities.

Devin Day Washington, DC As a straight, white, twenty-something man, I am imminently aware of my privileges, given randomly due to my genetic make-up alone. But with a full heart and an excess of empathy growing up, it always bothered me when people around me were discriminated against or treated differently just because of something […]

Called my friend nigger. Ashamed forever.

Bill Rowe Bucks County, PA It was 1971 and I was ashamed the moment I said it. Jeff was a friend and to impress the wrong person I said something terrible. What impresses me to this day is the way that he responded. He just said “you don’t mean that” and never said another word. […]

I’m afraid of black men

CA Pittsburgh, PA I don’t know why. And I don’t mean just in a dark, desolate alley- where I’d be afraid of any man. I am just more afraid of black men. It makes me feel ashamed of myself.

My background? Why do you ask?

Em Canada This is a constant and terrible icebreaker. It’s not that I’m ashamed or shy about my mixed background or ambiguous looks, but I’m constantly disappointed that that’s all that people want to know, that’s all they see me as, or they believe they can’t know me without knowing my race.

Only bigots believe prejudice is universal

J Wildman Saint Louis, MO I grew up in a household where we were basically allowed to develop our own opinions about prejudice. I’ve never been a racist. My prejudice of choice was against gay men. Something that I’m still ashamed of having felt, even though I’ve since let that go. When I became an […]