Obama was black 148 years ago.

Kendra Jones, Selma, AL. As a white woman who voted for Obama twice, I found myself wanting to claim him as my own. “He’s half white, I’d insist to myself.” But then I began to think about our past anti-miscegenation laws in the 19th century. An individual with as little as 1/32nd percent African ancestry […]

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Cut off–that is black America.

Ian Peterkin, Bridgeport, CT. When you think about it, what do you know of the achievements of black Americans other than what you get in February? Virtually everything I’ve learned about black art, literature, culture, and religion, I learned on my own. Cut off from one’s cultural identity, point of origin, and the stories that […]

I will not yield to you.

James Michael Rogers Houston, TX I was at my neighborhood park one morning jogging, and I saw three white women walking abreast in one direction, and a black woman coming towards them in the opposite direction. The white women ignored the black woman and no one stepped back to let the black lady pass, and […]

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I decide if I’m “black enough”.

Kelly Wickham, Springfield, IL. When I was born the white nurse told my mom that “mixed” wasn’t a category and she put “white” on my birth certificate, but my mother knew she’d be raising a child that the world would identify as black and she raised me as such.

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We assumed their father was black!

Melissa Weir, Trout Valley, IL. We like to think that we are like every other family, whatever that means. But questions like “are those your real kids” or “what happened to their real parents” make that impossible. Nonetheless we are a close, joyful, and fortunate family.

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I learned I was Black in kindergarten.

Shakira, Phoenix, AZ. One day after our teacher snapped photos of our class she developed them in black and white and scattered them out on a table and told us to find ourselves. I got frustrated because I could not find my photo; that day my mother was volunteering as class mother and she pointed […]

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Black lesbian CPA, it’s really me.

Andrea Hyson, San Francisco, CA. About two months ago, I finally met a new employee in another department. This woman and I had numerous phone conversations but hadn’t yet met. I decided to stop by her office to introduce myself. Another employee was at her door as I approached. As I turned into her office, […]

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Two Black Lesbian Daughters. Say What?!

Shelley Ferrand, USA. After the initial shock of their coming out, I realized that THEY are the long search for fruits of my 1960’s labor and radicalism. So, when I see the economic travesties in our community, after I pledged on campus 40 years ago to give it my all to help end my people’s […]

Not black or white. I’m gray.

Nikki Hyde, Los Angelos, CA. I’m a proud member of the multiracial community but still looking for a simple, clear word to describe what I am, not what I am not or what percentage of something else I am.

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Wanted to be a black teenager

Elizabeth Hess, New Haven, CT. That photo is the end paper of my yearbook, Weaver High School, Hartford, Connecticut, 1975. I was one of about 15 white kids in a huge city school. I loved the laughter in the hallways, the treasured friendships, the “take me as I am-ness” of the classmates I most wanted […]

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How to protect my black son?

Michael Bolton , Scottsdale, AZ. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Dad Caucasian. lived life in black neighborhood mostly. studied black history–college+leisure. love black culture esp music, classic jazz. slave narratives. am black myself but cannot pass as such. other dad, my partner, black, died. am now single dad, not planned. bringing up son in […]

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Black. Good hair? Indian in your family?

Nicole, New Orleans, LA. Black women are so obsessed with their hair that it can totally consume their life… “I can’t get in the pool ‘cuz I can’t get my hair wet”. “Girl, I can’t work out and sweat and mess up my hair”. “I can’t buy that. I gotta pay to get my hair […]

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Family contrast black white shows beauty

Sherry Weaver, Woodstock, GA. Our family is a beautiful rainbow. We are pink with brown spots and brown with pink spots. We are just a family. I didn’t “rescue” anyone-we gave each other gifts. I was given the incredible gift of love and diversity, and they got a family who loves them and can appreciate […]

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I am who I am, ME!

Debra Rosenberg, Phoenix, AZ. I am the person I am meant to be, and proud to be a Jew even though growing up I knew what it was like to be “Black”. I had to overcome many obstacles of prejudices.

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I’m not Black, I’m Human first!

Alieu Nyassi, Pittsburgh, PA. We judge people by their race not the face that we are human first before any thing else. We have to value the fact that we all breath, drink and eat the same time of air, water and foods. We may differ from cultural norms and values.

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Tall, Dark, Handsome, Just not Black

John P. Moultrie, Ormond Beach, FL. It’s taken sometime to get to this point, but we are finally together. Sixteen years ago, we met and at that moment, I knew she was the one for me. But that was not the case for her. Years later, through heartache and divorce for both of us, we […]

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Black grandma, White grandpa. That’s weird!

Val’Dionna P., San Francisco, CA. Throughout the years it has been a bit difficult to understand the many emotions and stereotypes being of color and mixed. It is important to understand that how one is raised growing up in a complex world that continues to critique someone on the features or melancholy of their skin […]

I am African-American. You’re Black.

Jake, USA. My mother is from Ghana and my father is from New York. I am African-American and it drives me crazy when people who have a distant relative from Africa consider themselves African-American when they have no cultural ties to Africa. Black Culture is different from African Culture.

Was I asked to be Black?

Vickie Crawford, Syracuse, NY. My Dad use to call me “yellow girl”, my Mom when mad called me “little yellow wench”, and I was happy go lucky I think because I didn’t know I was BLACK. It wasn’t brought to my attention until I went to kindergarten that I was black??? I feel I can […]

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Black, Caribbean-American, human, American, Southern

Britt Stone, Philadelphia, PA. No one ever asked “what” I am. They just assume. They approach me with all sorts of ideas about what food I like, what music I listen to, the books I read, and my favorite movies and tv. They have an opinion of what I should sound like when I speak, […]

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Being Black and southern, educated engineer

Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. Calling me an Oreo or not really black, or basically a white girl means that you define some part of my personality, attitude, preferences, or demeanor as being owned and attributed solely to white people. Is it my intelligence, my sense of style, or how I speak? Is it because I’m […]

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Is it because I am black?

Renee Yates, Evanston, IL. Being black in America means that every time you feel slighted or unfairly treated in the larger society you have to wonder “Is it because I am black?” It’s demoralizing and exhausting.

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East Europe substitutes Roma for Blacks

Harold Svignor, New York, NY. Humans inherently think in “Me up – You down” terms. We are innately tribal, and somewhat hostile to “the other”. That proclivity has created not only tribal strife, but war, sport, and many other human traits. It is universal and cannot be overcome….except by religious self denial. Non-caucasians have yet […]

I’m a POOR BLACK LATINA FEMALE.

Anavlis, Syracuse, NY. I am a brown woman from Latin-America, meaning I am a black Latina. I also live in the projects, meaning I am also about as a poor as they come (from a private univesity point of view). I was born with a surprising 4 strikes against me, a quadruple minority who is […]

I’m 50-50, they only see black.

Autumn Battani, Los Angeles, CA. People only identify me as black. And that doesn’t make sense to me. Even when I was little, and we would fill out forms for tests, I would ask my teacher what I was supposed to do. The papers always said you can only choose one, but I’m two. And […]

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It’s okay to be black, Promise

Maureen Shaw, Durham, NC. Thank you for doing this. This is a photo of my mother’s family, this is the reason why I wrote it’s okay to be black. I look at it an feel so proud of this photo. We let ourselves believe we are a people are people with shattered history. I’ve discovered […]

Teach in Japan, but you’re black

Dee Moore, Shreveport, LA. Hajimemashite! That is the stigma I am always facing in my community. I am a 25 year old African American educator who has plans to teach overseas in Japan. I am also studying Japanese so that I can develop some kind of fluency. Since I was young, I was always interested […]

Try so hard – still see color

Sherri, Juneau, AK. As hard as I try to see people as people, not black or white or Asian etc., I can’t seem to deprogram my brain. I remember the day I was helping at a school giving enrichment lessons to a group of advanced students. When they came into the room there was one […]

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You black? Passe blanc. No, Creole.

August A. Goins Jr., Atlanta, GA. Growing up as a light skin black man of creole decent, people assume I want to be white. Not because of something I said or did, but based solely on my skin color. As if I had a choice of my skin color. I’m proud of who I am, […]

Stop asking to touch his hair

Jeanine Flier, Tujunga, CA. I am a mother of 3 multiracial children. They all have different types of hair. My oldest son has a very curly large beautiful Afro . My middle child as wavy thick hair similar to mine. My youngest child has large black curls. My oldest child is the ONLY ONE WHO […]

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My baby is black AND white.

Karin Coyne, Pittsburgh, PA. My sweet man is black and I am white. Our baby girl is both. but the world is a complicated place… and she is light-skinned and people ask her daddy, “Is that your child?” This deeply offends him… because it makes him feel as though folks are suggesting that he has […]

See My Face Guess My Race

Ed Houlemarde, Duarte, CA. I am what is considered a Creole – depending on wher I am I can be lumped into that areas primary race. In school I did not belong to a “race” Because my skin is olive I had mostly minority friends or friends of color. Teaches and later co-workers thought I […]

I try but stereotypes still linger

Anastasia Rogers, Detroit, MI. I am a firm believer that everyone, no matter if you’re a man, woman, or something in between, black, white, Asian, or a different race, should be treated equally and with respect. That being said, I often find myself making snap, harsh judgments about people that I’ve never even had a […]

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Your husband’s black? But you’re Asian.

Nina Ball, Baltimore, MD. When people first meet my husband and/or see a picture of us together, the surprise is obvious. I’ve had a few people outright tell me that they just assumed he was Korean. More often than not, I get the question, “What do your parents think?” When they find out that, like […]

My Full-time Job: Being Black

Jessica, Taunton, MA. Being Black in America means that you constantly have to change and work on yourself in order to please the dominant group in society (Whites). Its about making them feel comfortable and at ease even if that means rejecting your culture, traditions, ancestry, and basically everything that makes you who you are […]

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Stop using RACE as an excuse.

Renee Chapman, Colbert, WA. I have seen race used as an excuse for bad behavior or saying something is happening to someone because they are Mexican, Asian, and Black etc. I had a personal experience with it when neighbors aggressive Rottweiler killed my 6 mo. old puppy, police were called and neighbor was really angry. […]

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Racism is an ego-based human dysfuntion

James E Washington, Rochester, NY. The ego thrives on identification and separation. We seems to be a nation that thrives on dualism, having an “other” a “they or them” as a means to distinguish ourselves from. White, Black; Rich, Poor: Republican, Democrat; Christian, Jewish; Fat, Skinny; on and on. The problem appears to be “ego […]

I fear for my family’s wellbeing.

Shannon M., Killeen, TX. My fiance is black. My son is mixed. At THREE years old my son has already encountered racism. Every time my fiance walks out of the house, I worry. When he gets angry at someone or something in public, I get scared and try my hardest to calm him down – […]

Do you love them the same?

Paige VandenBrink, Holland, MI. The worst question I have ever been asked is, “Do you love them the same?”. This was a question I was asked when I got a new adopted black cousin. I almost cried because I was too young to understand why anyone couldn’t love someone the same just because of a […]

I couldn’t rub the black out

Ima Oduok, Houston, TX. As a bi-racial child who grew up with her white family, I always wanted to look more like them. When I watch the movie “Belle” and saw Dido try to rub and beat out the darkness of her skin, I cried. I spent my childhood doing the same thing, hoping to […]

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Wow, I can’t believe you’re black!

Kelsi Evans, Williamsburg, VA. Growing up in society I have always been questioned about my race. I come from two very, very light-skinned African-American parents, so therefore I am very light, have soft curly “white people” hair, and don’t necessarily “talk black”. Being this kind of person draws attention to myself because people always make […]

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I’m Black, I’m Beautiful, I’m Proud!

Unique Martin, Murrieta, CA. I say I’m black because that is how I identify myself. It’s just that simple. I say I’m beautiful because for many years in my childhood, I thought I was ugly. No one ever said I was, but how I was treated, discriminated against because of my skin color, the diversity […]

Beaten by blacks for being white

Anonymous, USA. I’ve witnessed several other whites that have had similar experiences of being beaten or bullied by blacks, throughout my life. I’ve witnessed much more racism towards whites than the other way around. Some people say it’s racist to be afraid of blacks. Where I grew up, it’s just common sense. This was not […]

Young black gang kids scare America.

David Evans, Seattle, WA. People equate young black gang members with crime and trouble… I was watching the PBS special and when the young black guys were speaking I felt they were in gangs and up to no good. You need to change the image of the young male black gang image or you will […]

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Black? White? Where are my Hispanics?

Janice Mendoza, East Lansing, MI. I moved to Michigan from Southern California in middle school. I was very shocked to find out that there were not many Latinos in my new area. I felt very out of place. I am current student at Michigan State. I loved the idea of diversity when I got accepted […]

Obama isn’t black. He is bi-racial.

Dan Brown, DeWitt, MI. Michele, you can’t have it both ways. If, as you said last night, you view Obama as black (you said “of color”) then you won’t reach a “post racial” status. To say that he’s black leads us back to the “single drop of black blood” interpretation of race. Consider: If Obama […]

Lines exist only when we differentiate.

R. Lutz, MI. We will reach the point of true equality in this country when, rather than saying “I’m black” and “I’m white”, we recognize that we are all flawed people who make mistakes. This doesn’t mean we can’t recognize and celebrate our differences; we just need to focus on the fact that we are […]

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You don’t really look that black.

Linda D. Calvin, Westfield, IN. I am one of five siblings, but I am the only one who is black. My brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces, uncles and aunts are white. After three children and a divorce, my mother met and married a black man in the 60s and had me. I […]

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Why do you have hazel eyes?

Jonscott Williams, Gilbert, AZ. This is the question either asked, or thought but unasked, by people both Black and White. This is connected to the assumption that one of my parents is White … neither is, though an early ancestor was. Some Black people have questioned whether I was “Black enough” … some Whites have […]

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Noir, Schwartze, Negredo – I Am Black

Courtney Jones, Denver, CO. People hide behind the stereotypes, racism, politics, and labels to avoid CONNECTING with others. Are we afraid people have more in common with us than we allow our differences to believe? My pride in my race contributes to my Life & community. It takes nothing from you & we all gain […]

Angry Black men are so scary

David, Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation. The potential for violence from an angry black man is so much higher than any other source it’s scary. An unarmed black man is a threat unless proven otherwise.

I HATE BEING BLACK EVERY DAY!

JJ JONES Roanoke, VA I am a happy person by nature. But as each day progresses I see the results of a group of Americans that just don’t get it by my standards. So I ask myself “what can cause them to be more like me?”. I believe if this group, who have failed so […]

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One man. Indivisible. Black. Gay. American.

Alva Jones Jr. Greensboro, NC I’m a bit of a focal point of discrimination in this country. As a Black man I’m viewed as a threat. As a gay man I’m viewed as an abomination. These views have by no means been universal in my travels, but the reality of their existence is no less […]

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Teacher of black youth, ancestors slaverholders

Ernie Lee Savannah, GA Struggling with my whiteness and my student’s blackness until we connect. I am a good teacher and after a while I don’t color just students who want to learn. It is more of a socio-economic divide, but I will never know what it means to be black as my students will […]

Her black smile I fondly remember

Harry Dapron I was a white, nerdy, shy, socially invisible teenager in senior high school. She was a beautiful, black classmate with a lovely, engaging smile that I would see when she turned around in her seat in Latin class to talk to me! I liked her and she seemed to care about and maybe […]

White father, Black mother, BEAUTIFUL GIRLS!

Jessica Danielle Jensen Tampa, FL I am the product of two people who only saw “who” there were, not “what” they were. Because of their bond, they produced four daughters (including me) who I believe are very beautiful. Mixed-race children represent the beauty that comes from open hearts and open minds. And, they have GREAT […]