Poor white trash, not welcome here.

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.

Being white is more than privilege.

Adela Ludeke, Austin, TX. I know that whites are traditionally “privileged”, but I find it so cringeworthy when I hear other whites checking their privilege. It’s as if they have so much guilt because of what their ancestors did. And it’s more embarrassing when your parents check their privileges. Sure, racism is shameful, but too […]

____ Students’ Association! Fill the blank.

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 […]

Messianic Jew Yogi? Pick one fool!

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) […]

60 years old, have become prejudice.

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 […]

Thanksgiving: Called out my racist brother

Annabel Knight, Austin, TX. We were talking about SS Disability, and he said “No, it’s not hard at all to get on disability–all you have to do is be a fat Mexican.” So wrong, I just couldn’t be silent. My husband backed me up, most of the rest of the table squirmed uncomfortably. Why is […]

My name tells a great story.

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 […]

Yes, those boys are my brothers.

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. […]

We experience, we teach, we grow.

Eli Russell, Austin, TX. As a writer, these six words are something I’ve said before. I lend it here to hopefully add to the growing conversation, to close the divide in the races, to open racist minds and to unite all Americans, all people across the world in peace. It is up to each generation […]

White Slavery & The Myth of White Privilege

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 […]

Impossible for me to blend in

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.

I Don’t Have Any People

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 […]

Stop Blaming Whites for Your Problems

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 […]

We perceive race issues so differently.

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 […]

What are you? I am Other.

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 […]

S-h-h-h-h! They will bite your ears off!

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 […]

Man tried for shooting black teen.

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 […]

Young blacks’ clothing can be disconcerting

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 […]

Frustrated with the Concept of Race

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 […]

What if america enslaved white people?

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.

Don’t ask me, “What are you?”

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 […]

Oh wow, you don’t LOOK Jewish.

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.

But your last name is Decker?

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 […]

“Was your dad in the military?”

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.

We segregate ourselves; a terrible sight.

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.

white line moved off the bus

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 […]

Told: Not African American? Not Black.

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 […]

Mom soars! Not in their eyes.

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 […]

Professional black women are not angry.

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.

Wow, you speak real good English.

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 […]