Stephanie Woodworth, Piscataway, NJ. My six words are in reference to how hesitant (in some cases, even terrified) people are to talk to each other when differences are involved. It’s as if even the most well-meaning people become paralyzed at the thought of acknowledging not only our differences, but our collective level of ignorance about […]
Andrew Schlager, Kansas City, MO. “You are holding the binoculars backwards.” We are so consumed by generalized assumptions about race that we fail to see that every individual is different. We see people from afar, just as a person would see looking through binoculars backwards, and make judgments without really looking closely, like a person […]
Jim Schultheiss, St. Johns, MI. I have always felt that I needed to be very careful and thoughtful on issues related to prejudice. Growing up in as a white, heterosexual male in a community largely lacking diversity, I learned I needed to listen very carefully to the thoughts and experiences of others and not impose […]
Mara Floyd Fort Myers, FL Doris* and my mother have been best friends for over 40 years. Both teachers with their masters’ degrees, the two women from neighboring cities met at an educational conference. They were as different as could be. One was married, one was divorced. One owned a house, the other lived in […]
FessunUp Cracka, San Francisco, CA. My father never said n*****, but the multitude of subtleties…assumptions…these are mine to deal with. When I was a teenager, I frequently made racial slurs…weird, considering that there were only 3 black kids in my 1500 student high school. Now it is different for me. This cracker minored in black […]
C. Badour, MI. In America today, the best way to fly under the radar is to be white. Assumptions are made about blacks, asians, and hispanics based purely upon race, which cannot be said about whites. Non-whites seem to stick out in America, as if being white is considered a social norm and being non-white […]
Daniel Sconce, Wenatchee, WA. Imagine you are blind and visiting another country. Imagine you don’t know the language and have none of the currency. Would race matter? What would you do with your judgments and assumptions?
Laura Mariko Cheifetz Atlanta, GA I call myself hapa yonsei. I’m biracial white Jewish and Japanese American, fourth generation on both sides. However, there are two assumptions that I run into all the time. First, “what are you?” People want to know my ethnic background (not racial… that doesn’t satisfy their intrusive curiosity), but they […]
Sharon Christian, Whelan, GA.
Shaunise Allmond, Baltimore, MD. Society assumes since I am a black woman with natural hair I cannot do simple tasks like combing my hair. My hair texture is extremely curly and what some consider nappy. I have broken combs in the past and will continue to break them in the future. My problem with people […]
Emmett Dunn, Syracuse, NY. Student ’15
Lincoln Ferris Seattle, WA When meeting someone we don’t know, our ancestral mind seeks to confirm “are they one of mine, or not.” That means we must work in every encounter to be open to discover who this person is by what they say and do, not by what the visual cues may conjure up […]
Raul Fernandez Eugene, OR
Mira Tanna Orlando, FL My father is from India, my mother from the Netherlands, and I am married to a man from Nigeria. I look white to most people, and my children look black to most people. When I pick my kids up from school or camp, I get curious stares and kids ask me […]
Elisa Espitia Palmdale, CA It’s not where you came from, but where you’re going. Assumptions
Maya Segirah Los Angeles, CA I have heard this all my life, exclusively from white people (ok, men) , who, for some arrogant reason, think they have the right to tell who I am or what I should be, to the exclusion of my own experience. When I question their assumptions in any way I […]
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 […]
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.
Steve Titterton Lindenwold, NJ I’m white, and the father of two Asian children. Went into that thinking that race was irrelevant if I thought so, the social workers told me that I was wrong, and they were right. My card is about how I was made aware of what it means to make assumptions about […]
D Harris Wilmington, DE I’m amused at the assumptions that many people make about a person based on their race even if they are a member of that same race. All people are individuals and not limited by anyone’s views as to who they are based on race.
Emily Caffery Ann Arbor, MI Submitted via NPR: Talk of the Nation
Elizabeth Liechti Chicago, IL Because I also speak German and Arabic I am sometimes VERY tempted to have a bit of fun with the person or persons making the assumption. Usually I say nothing and simply walk out of earshot, but once in a while I find it necessary to say, in English, “I can […]