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 […]
Monte Stroman, Syracuse, NY. Student ’15 I am black but if you look past my skin you would never know
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Eric N. Harris, Chicago, IL. At age 40, I’ve come to realize that Life is the Classroom of Knowledge and I still have a lot to learn. May both my Race Card + accompanying photo show it.
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, […]
Melanie, USA. When I first had my children someone told my husband that our children will be considered black in this country. When I fill out forms for them there is a check box for black and white but not both. I mark both. I will not have them pick one over the other. Relatives […]
Marlot Roads, West STL County, CO. March 10 1964 Frankfort, KY
Chris Porter, Seattle, WA. It is hard for me to think about living in a country where my life seems to have little value. It is hard to think about living in a country that is the envy of so many around the world and yet I am not part of that envy. It is […]
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 […]
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 […]
Danielle Petterson, Tampa, FL. I have light brown skin and I consider myself to be mixed. Most people have a simple-minded belief that “mixed” means that one parent is black while the other is white. To me, it runs so much deeper than that. I have 4 grandparents from 4 different countries: Puerto Rico, Curaçao, […]
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 […]
Kate Reid, Worthington, OH. My daughters and I in the attached picture. Three races. Three skin-tones. None of which identify with “African-American” yet that is often the assumption and the only “box” to check.
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 […]
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 […]
Jasmine VanExel, Northampton, MA. Smith College
Liz Pryor, Northampton, MA. Smith College. My mother was white. So was her whole family. After my husband, who is white, proposed, my grandmother cornered my cousin and asked “Does he know about Elizabeth?” My cousin asked back, “Does he know what?” and my grandmother answered, “That she’s 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 […]
Lauren Hazelrigg, Kansas City, MO.
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. […]
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 […]
Margaret Metobo, Chicago, IL. I feel that anywhere I go people look at my race first before I’m human and that’s the way I carry myself out of security.
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 – […]
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 […]
Joyce Moody, Windsor Mill, MD.
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 […]
Ashley Kirkwood, Chicago, IL.
Chet Wallinsworth, Hanover, NH. The black population hates when you assume they are African American
Anastasia Peterson, Pittsburgh, PA.
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 […]
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 […]
Khalil B., American Canyon, CA.
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 […]
Anonymous, Lansing, MI. Was this meant to be a compliment? …it didn’t feel like a compliment.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Marlee Sherrod, Canton, MI.
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 […]
Joseph Conway, Baltimore, MD. She showed support and she was brave a 33 year old Jewish neighbor of mine wanted to see how a black funeral was,we all embraced her.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Karin Callahan Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation
Joanna Baker Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation
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 […]
D Maduli-Williams Submitted via Twitter: @dmaduliwilliams
Lee Stringer Mamaroneck, NY I was born into a place and era in which the aspiration was to assimilate. Of course, once I got a good handle on doing this, it was The Sixties and everything changed. The new order of things was to wear your ethnicity on your sleeve. So there I was, Sidney […]
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 […]
Kurt Huber Monroe, CT My favorite quote on family is from Desmond Tutu. “You don’t choose your family. You are Gods gift to them, as they are to you.”
Joelle Kanyana TN Going to school in a town where I’m in the minority as a black girl (Burundian heritage, Ghana-born, American citizen) has its interesting experiences. One that always seems to repeat itself is the matchmaking by my classmates with the black guys there. I’ve had this conversation many times before: “Joelle, you’d look […]
New york City, NY Submitted via Twitter: @junecross
Misha N Utica, NY I was born in the Caribbean, and I am Black, For some reason people insist on saying I’m “African American”. It’s not a bad word. I am not American, therefore I am not “African American”
William Josephs Chicago, IL
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Jade Watson New York, NY I don’t have anything against interracial dating, but I choose to date and want to marry a black man, because I want my babies- my family to be black. I love being black. I love what being black has meant to my life. I love being a part of a […]
Janeen Irving San Leandro, CA For the first 12 years of my life I was clueless to my own color (or lack thereof) growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the next 20 years I tried to prove I was black. To no avail. Now I’ve come to the conclusion I’m an amazing […]
Keysha Charles Baltimore, MD From the day I was born my skin told my story. It told all that I was, all that I could be, and all that I’ll never be!
Susan Siegel New York City, NY Brooklyn l am living on the backs of those that struggled and fought so that I can live my life outloud.
Ashley Gremler Ft. Meade, MD I’m White, well mostly. I am a quarter Vietnamese, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at me. I’m dating a Black man. I love him for who he is, not for the color of his skin. But I must admit, I love the way our hands look […]
James Duvall OUTSIDE USA For the longest time, I’ve always tried to put both my Latin side and my African American side towards the end of job applications. Sometimes they would make you choose one or the other. so when that happens I would alternate between Latino and Black. But now I can finally pick […]
Aminah Columbia, SC Being a light-skinned African-American has afforded me the ability to kind of live on multiple sides of the race coin in terms of my superficial assets. Many people assume that I’m mixed; I’m not. Many people assume that I lucky because, since I’m fully black, I have good hair. Man, if one […]
Mary Ann Paris Philadelphia, PA Except for my brother, there were never any children who looked like me. I am black and white, more specifically black, jewish, german, irish, italian and polish and my brother and I have European features. We grew up in a segregated part of Philadelphia among black children. They never wanted […]
Ed Morganroth, Jr. Plover, WI I have wondered since Mr. Obama broke onto the national scene why both he and the media have always characterized him racially as black and not as biracial or white. Why did he decide to pick one race – he is indisputably half black and half white? I would think […]
Amy Broadie Minot, ND I frequently overhear things said by people who don’t realize that I am half black and half white. On several occasions, I have received numerous apologies from coworkers or friends for saying something stereotypical/rude/racist after they learned about my background. I always reply by saying, “You can’t see what I hear.” […]
Brianna Branch Norfolk, VA I’m black and therefore I am seen as a threat to others because of my skin color. I have never tried to or had the desire to harm someone else. Sometimes people lock their doors when they see my friends and I walk past and yell racists comments out of the […]
Karim Ali Columbus, OH I suppose I have been pondering my Race Card (TM) entry for a few months. When I read the comments of Michael Sam’s father (Michael Sam Sr.) about his disappointment in his son for being gay, I was nearly in tears, as it reminded me of my own coming out with […]
Michelle Freeman Saint Paul, MN
Trey Willy Seale, AL I was small and white. Jenny was old and black. She took care of me when I was little when my great aunts that I lived with were away at work. I played with her grandchildren at our home there in the country. Together we would climb the high magnolias, explore […]
Lauren Rodriguez Indianapolis, IN … But I’m Hispanic. People always want to categorize me into one or the other “category of people” just because I don’t hangout with a lot of Hispanics but I’m proud of my roots. Just because I listen to a certain genre of music, or I am part of a nationally […]
Kristen Stephens Adelphi, MD My skin is special, not because I am light but because it is mine. Love the skin you are in!
Brittany Barnes Reno, NV I am adopted. I was born in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, now known as Western New Guinea. I don’t really tell people where I was born, because I don’t find it necessary in conversations and it never really comes up. People look at me and automatically assume that I am African-American and […]
Sarita Houston, TX As a child in the south, I was picked on for several reasons: I have a dark complexion, I have decent hair, and I spoke English the way I was taught to. All of which cut very deeply. The worst came from family members, cousins, who would introduce me to their friends […]
Chantal Thomas San Jose, CA
Marcus Garcia Moses Lake, WA I’m Mexican but people pretty much never get it right like i get asked if I’m white,greek,persian,middle easter,black(shocked about that one),dominican,italian,jewish,etc. and i get called slurs that i don’t even know what they are or mean. when i was younger this would make me upset because i know what i […]
Dave Mowers Brooklyn, NY I live inbetween black and white neighbors, my boss is a Phillipino woman, I shop and eat in black and white owned stores and restaurants in my neighborhood. Orthodox Jews sign my paycheck. I teach students from around the world. My boyfriend grew up in a small town in Texas in […]
Kenton Mobley Louisville, KY The world sees a black man, and that is all that matters to them.
J. Robert Kinnison Yuba City, CA
Patrick Battle Forest Park, IL I grew up in mixed environments and have had always had friends of different and mixed races. Still, I find that our culture encourages the notion that, no matter what your background is, if you live America – being Black is some sort of cause for unwarranted attention. Whether that […]
Christina Lewis Halpern New York City, NY The strange thing about race in the western world is the strong need to put people’s identities into boxes. I have a complicated identity, which led to people helpfully telling me what category I fit in, including making up some words to describe me. I’ve chosen to describe […]
Renee Reives Lorton, VA Sometimes I feel stuck. I’m black and educated. I feel like a unicorn based on what so many people perceive and say about black people. I am expected by black people to endure a “struggle” I was not born into. Even misinformed white people that think they are helping feel the […]
Nicole Collins Bronzan Rahway, NJ I’m a mutt — black, Native America, Irish, you name it — raised all over the world as a military brat. I consider myself black, but depending on where I am (and how tan), I get all kinds of questions, though substantially less so in a diverse city like NYC.
Micah Bailey Los Angeles, CA
Janice Lowe New York City, NY My mother, Dr. Willa Lowe was one of the first black English teachers in several high schools in New Jersey, Washington, DC and Ohio. She was part of that first wave of school integration in which talented African American teachers were hired before African American students were admitted. She […]
Dauda Ladipo Nigeria Grew up and live in both the US and Nigeria. Because of my mixed racial heritage I got used to being viewed as belonging to the local racial minority in both places, even though I didn’t identify culturally with that group. Whereas, the half of me that was local was in fact […]
Alesano Nakhid-Schuster Auckland, New Zealand Im black and bi-sexual. Enough said
SaMantha Shields Houston, TX I’ve been all over the world and I’ve been called pretty much any race you could think of. It drives me crazy that when people meet me they assume I’m mixed or of a different race. A lot of times I’ve heard, “You’re so pretty though.”, “Your eyes are so light.”, […]
Kim L Taylor Pomona, CA This thought is the result of being watched while shopping, particularly clothing stores. I do not appreciate the feeling of distrust from clothing store owners, especially when I am contemplating on spending money in their store.
Lauren Anderson Kansas City, MO I’m not sure what I would consider myself. The only thing that I know is that I am brown-skinned, but light-skinned. Many believe I am mixed with another race or other race(s), but my parents are both Black. I’m not really sure what it means to be Black or where […]
Scott Kraenzlein, The New York City, NY. Born to a (white) Canadian mother and a (black) African father in Canada I was adopted at birth by a white couple who divorced when I was 2. My mother married my stepfather, a German national, when I was 7 and we moved to Germany. I spent my […]
Will Chiang New York City, NY Brooklyn