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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]