DeAnna Calderon, Austin, TX. I grew up poor in the Southside of Chicago. We were extremely poor and even homeless at times. Sleeping outside in the middle of winter when I was a child. When I was 22 I joined the Army. The treatment I faced as a woman in the military felt like it […]
Jeremy Tolbert, Austin, TX. I work in the high tech industry where there are < 2‰ African-Americans at my job. When I meet new people, I always hear, “I’ve seen you around”. I stand out because there aren’t many people in high-tech that look like me.
Dara Boyd, Austin, TX. I am always hearing people say, “my people”, “your people”, “our people”, but why can’t we just be people? It never crossed my mind to call all white people or more specifically Norwegian people (which is a portion of my ancestry) “my people” because they simply are not. America, hell the […]
KM, Austin, TX. I am current in college at one of the largest public universities. Not a week goes by where I don’t see a group of students sitting at a table and asking passerby’s to join their organization. One of the most numerous types would be the such&such Students’ Association. I am of mixed […]
Davy Finnegan, Austin, TX.
Anonymous, Austin, TX. Blaming all white people for slavery is the same as blaming all black people for Boko Haram. If I am to be held responsible for what some white guys unrelated to me did centuries ago, then you should be to blame for what your people are actively doing right now. This goes […]
Signe Wendt, Austin, TX. Jewish by heritage when I began to worship Jesus I was told I was no longer Jewish and I had to pick one.Now I try to connect Christians to their faith as a yoga teacher and I am not sure who is more uncomfortable with that. Yogis (at least in Austin) […]
Trina Estrada. “SW Austinville”, Austin TX. Submitted via @atxtrina
Lise (rhymes with ‘please’), Austin, TX. My 6-word essay was originally “What kind of name is that?”– a question (both the polite and impolite versions) I’m regularly asked. My answer is something like this: “Well, my last name is Indian (yes, like from India)–sort of. My father’s family is from India, but the name changed […]
Kim Baldridge, Austin, TX. I’m always shocked at how differently we seem to see race issues along color lines. When I see whites say “NO I wasn’t a slave owner, but transgenerational hurt and missed opportunity does mean something. ” I may have hope that race issues will be resolved. It seems like America is […]
Julia Guerra, Austin, TX. My brothers are very important figures in my life. They were born to a white mom and a white dad. They are blonde and red-haired, with blue and green eyes. When they were little babies, my white mom married my Mexican dad and he adopted both of them as his own. […]
Jenny Henderson, Austin, TX.
Nataly Morales, Austin, TX.
Barbara Racca, Austin, TX. When I was younger, that question would immediately cause my shoulders to hunch and a look of hunted suspicion to cloud my features. Today my embracement of otherness is shadowed by so much more than a child’s rejection of being different– Am I rejecting aspects of my race by qualifying that […]
Diana Vicars Austin, TX These were the words my mother said to me in 1950 when I read out loud the sign over a water fountain at a gas station during a car trip from Texas to Florida. I was six and a begining reader. Dehydrated from car sickness, I lived for the few and […]
KK Boas Austin, TX Associated Press says “A man with a gun. A black teen, shot dead” ABC news says “The trial of a Florida man accused of shooting a black teenager begins today in a case that has drawn similarities to the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin case.” Even the Daily Beast, in an […]
Robert Sowards, Austin, TX. I’m sure it’s simply a cultural thing. Even so, I find the baggy pants that show part of a young black male’s but crack, and “shorts” that go down to the ankles on the one hand but sag below the crack, to be a bit disconcerting, and even intimidating depending on […]
Phyllis W Ross Austin, TX
Riad Nassar Austin, TX Up until 9/11 race wasn’t something I ever thought. I didn’t look at my Hispanic friends as Hispanics nor were my Black friends as Blacks. Being Egyptian was just a thing and they accepted me for me and not my race just as I accepted them for the beautiful people there […]
Mark McLemore Austin, TX I wonder how white people would perceive race, poverty, judicial discrimination, permanent underclass, drug abuse, lack of access to affordable healthcare, limited education and negative stereotypes if they were enslaved for over 400 years and cut off from opportunity and protection from the federal government.
Judith Hickey Austin, TX Since I became disabled and had to live with and among blacks, I have become very prejudice. I am fed up with their whining and always using their race for every darn excuse. All of our ancestors were slaves when they first came to America. My kin, the Osage Indians, were […]
Burke Willis Austin, TX It’s not guilt. It’s not gloating. And it’s not just. It just is. For every white kid in the USA.
Cecile Nguyen Austin, TX Alternative title could also be “I hate the Asian Guessing Game.” I really don’t mind people being curious about my ethnicity. What I do mind is how people go about finding out my ethnicity. “Are you Chinese? Japanese? Korean?…[list goes on]” Believe me, they’ll keep going until I stop them. And […]
Stephanie Mokashi Austin, TX
Anonymous, Austin, TX I’ve always found it troubling to see the look on people’s faces when they find out I’m Jewish, as if I had been hiding some terrible secret from them. For my own amusement, I then let them know I am a white South African.
Michael Decker Austin, TX In Texas, the dominant ethnicities are German and Mexican. Over the past two hundred years, these two have mixed greatly — along with the other ethnicities. It surprises me that more people are not open to the idea that your last name does not define your complete heritage. My last name […]
Lisa Crawford Austin, TX This is a question I’ve heard many times in my life–usually as a follow up to questions like “What’s your background?” or “What are you?” I’m half-Filipino, half-Caucasian (German/Norwegian). And no, my dad was NOT in the military.
Samuel David Battle Austin, TX People segregate themselves into their own little groups, racially or otherwise, even though government-enforced segregation was banned decades ago. I find the fact that we still can’t get over racism and other prejudicial subjects to be very depressing.
Thomas H. Watkins Austin, TX In the early 50s I was a student in the 8th grade in a town in deep east Texas. On Saturdays, I would take the bus downtown to the movies. At that time, if there were now whites on a bus, the African-Americans could sit anywhere on the bus. But […]
Tracie Combs-Cantu Austin, TX I was born and raised in Kentucky from an Appalachian family. The stereotypes and the realities of being poor and from Appalachian decent always make you self-conscious of your speech, look and skills. Even when you don’t need to worry about any of it.
Auguste Budhram Austin, TX I was broke, in my twenties and had just moved to NYC when a friend told me that I could earn some extra cash by being a part of a focus group. When I called the ad agency, I was told I’d be asked a series of questions to determine if […]
Gracie Fleming Austin, TX My mother gave me an incredible prayer life, encouraged my intellectual development, and validated my intuition. But time and again I watched others respond to her dark skin and Spanish accent as if she were less than white people. I am mixed ethnicity and keenly aware that my father was not […]
Yolanda Owens Austin, TX Often times, when we respond and deal with conflict, we often get labeled as angry black women. This happened to Michelle Obama during President Obama’s first run for the presidency. This happens everyday in corporate America. Learn to accept me as we have been asked to accept you.
Karin Kross Levenstein Austin, TX Korean adoptee, adopted as an infant by white parents. “Are you Chinese? Japanese? What are you then?” Always weighing out exactly what is meant when someone asks “where are you from?”, and then that sinking feeling (after you say “I’m from Austin” or “I grew up in DC”) when they […]
Madeline Hsu Austin, TX As an Asian American woman, I am both stronger and more graced than registers at first glance.
Emily Mixon, Austin, TX. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkingsf/5560474714/ Eric Fischer Data from Census 2010. Base map © OpenStreetMap, CC-BY-SA
David Thomas, Austin, TX Submitted via Twitter: @DavidRT A Note from Michele: David said his submission was “difficult to write”.
McKinley Race Austin, TX Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation