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 […]
Alexander, Sandy Springs, GA. I grew up in a majority neighborhood during the eighties and nineties. There were only a few other minority families in the area at the time. It wasn’t until college after high school graduation I learn I was black and highly disliked based on the color of my skin and not […]
Tiffany Yizar, Norwalk, CT. My blackness and black cultural authenticity is never questioned, until people discover I have a white husband. As if his race diminishes mine and the life experience I’ve had in the years prior to meeting him. In fact, I’d argue being a black woman married to a white man, a union […]
Ty Martinez, Oak Lawn, IL. Black Mexican Korean Italian – sharing the best of each other with each other through similar yet very different cultural experiences. We amplify our togetherness by honoring our own mixed uniqueness.
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, […]
Dr. Brian K. Clardy, Murray, KY.
Lance Bergstrom, Seattle, WA. Three Black guys attacked me and a friend one night. I got punched so hard I passed out and fell down. When I tried to tell the police that they were Black my friend told me not to say Black. Very bizarre night to say the least.
Tarnaei Carter, Chicago, IL. I am light skinned and people may think I’m not only black because I’m light skinned so I identify as black.
Danya Granado Aurora, CO If you must place me in a racial category, then call me black. And no, I’m not offended when you say it. My family is from Trinidad and Tobago. I was born in England. I have a Hispanic last name. I get a lot of questions. Culturally, I feel as though […]
Itoko Richardson, Daly City, CA. I am Japanese and my husband is Black (he extremely dislikes to be called African-American). Our experience alone was interesting and filled with many racist, stereotype encounters and reactions. But my experience with my daughter is interesting. When I and my daughter are out, I can feel strangers’ wonder of […]
Joann MO Submitted via NPR’s Talk of the Nation My six words are actually two, six word conversations between a black father and son about avoiding certain areas of town: Son, indignant: I have the right to be! Father: Yes, just not “be” over there. Naively thought we had settled this.
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 […]
Britt Verstegen, Socorro, NM. I grew up as a blonde, blue-eyed kid in an interracial family within a racially diverse neighborhood of inner-city Detroit. My step-father is Black and my sisters are biracial. Due to my family composition, I became aware of white privilege at an early age. For example, I knew in third grade […]
Winnie Wamboi, Kenya. I don’t get the big deal with being either black or white. I am African and I love it after all there is nothing I can do about it.
Sherryl N Weston, Denver, CO. I was an adult before we learned the full scope of my mother’s complete ancestry story. Timbuctoo, NJ was co-founded by my 5-generations ago grandfather. Looks like he was a part of the 1860 Battle of Pine Swamp, where the residents beat the tar out of slave catchers who had […]
Becky White Feather Riney, Quincy, IL. I am Native American and Caucasian. I hate knowing that there are people out there that simply because of the color of a person’s skin means (to them) they think someone Black (African American) or any race OTHER THAN WHITE is less than or undeserving of their acceptance, love […]
Aries Johnson, Minneapolis, MN. My 4th grade teacher asked me if I did drugs, I was so hurt. It was 2 years ago but still haunts me today.
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 […]
James Edward White, Indianapolis, IN. You look at me and you see a white man with blue eye. But on my mom’s side my great granddad was born a slave in Tennessee (mom house slave, dad was the master) left at 14 and ended up in north Dakota, Married a Blackfoot Indiana woman. I am […]
Lezlie Graebel, Mount Shasta, CA. Science has showed us that our origins are from Africa. With the exception of those in Europe who have the distinction to carry some Neanderthal genes. The gene for light skin has also been traced to a relatively recent mutation. What divides us,; what unifies us; what protects us is […]
S. Michael Evans, Washington, DC. Looking for signs that help us to become more porous human beings.
Michelle T, Los Angeles, CA. What a wonderful and positive way to engage in discourse about race. Well done, Mrs. Norris!
Sandy Balazic, Tempe, AZ The year was 1960 and I was 4 years old. My parents had a housekeeper/babysitter to help while they both worked. One day my father noticed that she would sneak me off behind the basement door on the landing where she kept her personal belongings. When he asked me about this, […]
Anonymous, USA. The world we have created now makes it a challenge to say the word black.
Roshaan Rogers, Roseville, CA.
Yolanda, Lithonia, GA. It’s very tiring an disappointing to hear many in my community say to me “You like white people stuff”. I would like to know exactly what’s classified as “White people stuff”. Since when did enjoying a good Opera or visiting the local symphony considered something only expected or FOR one race of […]
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 […]
Rose, San Jose, CA. Class project @ San Francisco State U.
Dede C., San Francisco, CA. My six words is relevant to a personal story of mine and other minorities. The stereotype is that Blacks are poor and lack education so commit illegal crimes to obtain the luxuries we want. Because of this stereotype, people are oblivious to the fact that we are capable of working […]
Gianni Johnson, Moreno Valley, CA. A lot of times when the topic of race or ethnicity comes up people are not sure where exactly to place me. People who I’ve just meet, and even people whom I have known for a while will say, “I didn’t know you are black” or they might say “I […]
La Toya Plummer, Greenbelt, MD. Although I have lived with three strikes for more than twenty years, the color of my skin always has been and always will be fundamental to who I am. When you are colorblind, you do not see me. Overlooking a portion of me that is susceptible to the brutal ignorance […]
Maurice Kemp, San Antonio, TX. I did not choose my race. No one did. I was born into a world with preconceived notions about my race and others. We all were. I entered a world with plenty of recorded and unrecorded history. We all did. I cannot account for any of the history that predates […]
Brian Murray, Seattle, WA. Growing up it was always hard to find my own identity because I came from a bi-racial background. I am half Black and half Japanese and always had problems being accepted by either racial group because of my uniqueness. Although coming from a low-income housing development called the Rainier Vista Projects […]
Anne Lincoln, MA I was asked by Admissions if I would agree to having a black roommate. I said yes, but when she learned of the request (I never knew how), she was angry–at the school, and confusing to me, at me. From that moment on, there was only anger. I was naive and woefully […]
Taylor Jackson, Tuscaloosa, AL. The race card might come off as confusing since I am a white man and my race card has a different race in it, but I hear that phrase all the time these days and that is really sad that this generation has come to this when bad things happen around […]
Michael S., Elk Grove, CA. My mom divorced and remarried 3 times with 3 different men with totally different race and had a child from each marriage. Her first marriage was gentlemen from Jamaica, second was a man from Ecuador, and last was from Thai. My mom been immersed and learned every one of her […]
Rena Joy Dunbar, Eugene, OR. Our Black and White bi-racial identity was questioned even before we emerged from the womb. What ‘race’ would we turn out to be? Which ‘race’ would we choose? These questions and the dual nature of our identities continue to challenge perceptions.
Kristy Lawson, Mayfield, KY. We are all Gods people.
Jeff Clune, Maple Grove, MN. I’m mixed race (Black,White, and Native) I’m always being asked “What are you?” it frustrates me because why should it matter to them.
Alma Scott-Buczak, Cliffside Park, NJ. I was in the first class of women to attend Lafayette College in Easton PA. It was also the first class to have a concentration of more than 20 students of color. Over the past 40 years I have often been asked to reflect on my experiences as one of […]
Candayshia Loyd, Flint, MI. Growing up I was taught to be a quiet and polite black woman. I had to take persecution from men and I had to do what they said. I’m not someones servant, im not a maid. I’m going to be your Black Women President one day.
Tom DiMartino, Boston, MA. I had the immense pleasure of listening to Michele speak today in Boston, and the topic of adoption touched me personally. I am a white man with two adopted black sons who mean more to me than anything in this world. The topic is touchy and Michele’s comments on it were […]
Sara Bee Boston, MA I have been passing as “white” most of my life–on the phone. People of all stripes seem to have misconceptions about what black people sound like, if their reactions to me in person are any indication. This happens especially at job interviews or when I go to see an apartment. One […]
Robert Dokes Beverly, MA Maybe it’s the way I present myself, but sometimes people forget that I’m Black. It’s not they are colorblind it’s just they’ve got so comfortable with me being around that people feel they can say anything around me and believe it’s okay
James Edward Mills, Madison, WI. On June 24,2013 Adina Scott made a satellite phone dispatch from 17,200 feet on Mount McKinley in Denali National Park. As part of the climbing team Expedition Denali, she and the 18 others had already spent a total of 16 days on the mountain and nearly a week camped at […]
Heather, Seattle, WA. I grew up as a black female in the US and I’m happy with that. Why are we now expected to identify as African-American? Is this how the younger generation feels? I would love to hear their perspective. I think people should be able to self-identify as they decide is best for […]
Keith Williams, Hawthorne, CA. I know plenty of black fathers…notice I didn’t say sperm donors, we are perceived to be an endanger species. Every father’s day on facebook, you can read the hurt from mothers, and children. Real black fathers exist, I’m proud to be counted as one of them. Society has deemed that the […]
Michael, San Rafael, CA. While all races practiced slavery, Whites were the ones to end it. All Christian White countries ended slavery approximately 150 years ago but sadly it is still practiced by Blacks, Asians, Asian-Indians and Muslim Whites today.
Ewa Konopka, Romeoville, IL. Look at this stunning couple. They see no color. THEY NEVER WILL. They see love, respect, honor, kindness, and goodness of each person. I wish the world would see through these kids eyes. The human race would be so much better of.
B. Smith-Payne Carlsbad, NM As a black American, I feel that I must often act as a chameleon, in order to move in and through diverse social, economic, and political situations. Consequently, my “blackness” takes on various personas and can change in the blink of an eye. Thus, my question.
Marlee Sherrod, Canton, MI.
Sam Johnson, St. Paul, MN.
Lashanda Burns Carter, Scranton, PA. I was raised by a white family from the age 4 until 13. There were some great things and some really horrible things. But I am who I am because of the environment. Open-minded nonjudgmental, well spoken, humorous, and very shy African American. Who loves Motley Crue and hates cornbread. […]
Consuelo, Stone Mountain, GA. This is because the two of the men in my life have dismissed me because I do not fit the ideals of what an ideal women should look like. Their spouses dismiss, disrespect my existence. My father and younger brother believe that white people are the epitome of all that is […]
Chantal Thomas San Jose, CA
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 […]
Trish, Houston, TX. I’m Black. I’m American. Black is my race. American is my nationality. One has nothing to do with the other. How can all Black people be African American? It’s impossible for a Black person who was born in the UK, to be an African American. Black Americans are not “special” kind of […]
Aurlyn Ellyse Wygle, Lewisville, TX. My husband and I are both caucasian. We have decided to make adoption our “plan A” and have a particular heart for children from hard places. This led us to become foster parents. As we parent these precious, beautiful brown babies we have noticed a trend. African American adults are […]
N’Quiisha Edwin, Miami, FL.
Braylen Thomas, Newark, OH.
Samuel C. Johnson, Keezletown, VA. I am a white man now 67 years of age. In May, 1968 (a month after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) I had just completed basic training in the Army in North Carolina, and was on my way to my home area near Philadelphia. I got off […]
Caulefe Burks, Ewa Beach, HI.
Gabriella Grange, Plano, TX. Before coming to college, I always thought of myself as a black person. But when I got to college a few years ago, I heard people use the term “people of color” and it boggled me. Even though the term is used to foster solidarity, the term can be used to […]
Mary Mills, Los Angeles, CA. I am a black female surfer. (What stereotypes?)
Michele Moreno-Cheverez, Santa Barbara, CA. Everyone deserves equality, equity, respect, compassion, empathy and a chance in life. One world~one people.
Kayle Dallas, TX Our breakup happened for many reason, but the main one is because his parents would never feel 100% comfortable with their son for being with me. I’m black and he’s white. Such simple labels that belie a myriad of different experiences. I would think that any parent would be thrilled their son […]
Chris Todd, Big Pine Key, FL. As a nurse, working with black nurses, I realized there was a bigger gulf with regards to socioeconomic class than with race. My coworkers, regardless of race, wanted their kids to go to college, not get pregnant out of wedlock, not get in trouble with the law. But my […]
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 […]
Alexis Bishop, USA. Quotas? Oh no, of course colleges don’t have those… or so they say. How else, then, can one explain why an African-American would be accepted in a heartbeat over a White American of equal credentials? Sometimes, this is even the case when the White student has higher credentials. Is this equality? Absolutely […]
Carolyn Kay Conover, Harrodsburg, KY. It was 1964 and Mary and I had been friends since starting 1st grade together. We’d buy milkshakes at lunch. I’d buy chocolate and she’d buy vanilla. I really liked Mary. This year, Mary and I were going to go to 4-H camp together. We were so excited. We signed […]
Denise DeVaney, Warren, ME. Charleston made me finally feel it: racism is not a black issue, it’s an American issue. We have to accept that an attack on someone of color because of their race is an attack on America. We have to come together to fight it.
Massiel Ramos, Bronx, NY. Sometimes your race depends on the people and culture you associate yourself with. If that’s the case, I’ll never fit into one solid category.
Shonda Kay Purvis, Green Cove Springs, FL. I have had to rebrand myself and change my name because “Shonda K. Purvis” (and her “BLACK” resume) doesn’t get job interviews, but SK Purvis (and “his” “WHITE” resume) does. (By the way, I am a Caucasian female. You thought I was black, didn’t you?)
Lillian J. Hall, Dallas, TX. I was a freshman in college. I was sitting in the dining hall with a friend, near a window. It was “Texas Day”. The theme was obvious by the bails of hay, western-wear-clad employes and of course, barbecue on the menu. My friend and I were chatting, when all of […]
Kayla Doering, Statesboro, GA. My father is of Irish descent and my Mother is Native American. Something I’ve always dealt with while being out in public with my father is people staring at us like we were a rare species. Growing up, while running daily errands with my father, I remember older women asking if […]
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 […]
Hilary Sloane, Joshua Tree, CA. It happened several times. The last time a stranger shot me five times through my car window and hit me three times. I have had the opportunity to heal those traumas through encounters with beautiful, loving strangers of color. My responses are relaxing and I no longer jump when I […]
Jordi A. Snell, The Netherlands. My mother is Dutch and my father is Moluccan (Melanesian I assume). I don’t exactly know what my father’s race is because alot of Moluccans have mixed race ancestry. All I know is that my father’s skin color is ‘Black’, he has thick curly hair when it’s long, but his […]
Dakota Dubois, Spokane, WA.
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, […]
Kelly M., Indonesia. My six words were spoken by my daughter when she was seven years old. I am From Texas, my family tree consists of Irish and English immigrants and Cherokee Native Americans. We generally look Caucasian, but all five siblings have slightly different skintones. I now live in Indonesia, I’m a single Mom […]
David, Detroit, MI. To the cops, I am “white”. To many others I am “not” black. I don’t try to pass and I don’t try to compensate for it by “acting” black. I am very direct about these issues though. I am a black guy. How much more direct can I be? I’m not adopted. […]
Alethia Grace Cyrus, Tulalip, WA. My most striking experience of my own internal “like me is normal” sense came midway through reading The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer. The front cover shows the protagonists, two of whom are Black. The story is set in futuristic Zimbabwe, and I’m pretty sure I […]
Caitlin Grames Sterling Heights, MI Race, gender, heritage, and all other innate traits we are born with are only secondary to our life experiences. Our stories make us who we are as individuals. And you can’t capture a whole history with just “black”, or just “white”.
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 […]
Sozit Mohamed, Sunnyvale, CA. Being Ethiopian with Arab heritage in my family, most do not believe I’m black/African. Also, being black and muslim, seems to be the worst thing you can be in America right now.
Joni Graves, Spring Green, WI. I made this mash-up design for a t-shirt after an unfortunate coincidence in my email inbox. Prior to today’s announcement by the DA in the shooting of Tony Robinson, and two minutes after the UW-Madison Chancellor’s email “Campus resources for the Tony Robinson decision”, I received a “Badger Voice” newsletter […]
Tammy Medell Gardner San Jose, CA I am white. The man with whom I fell in love in 1982 was black. We met in Fort Worth, Texas working at the same company. He grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, while I was from northern Michigan. Our romance, so new and full of hope, soon faltered […]
Danny Zapler, Mount Prospect, IL. In hindsight, it is clear she is black. I knew about black and white people, but I just never saw her in racial terms. She was just the girl I liked in 6th grade. I only realized I was dating a black girl when a teenage boy on my block […]
Brandi Green, Chicago, IL. I constantly am asked “what I am” or “are you mixed” Nope. I’m black and albino. 🙂 It’s a fascinating existence.
Diane, Fairbanksm, AK. Images of Alaska never show Black faces, but yet in Fairbanks, the state’s second largest city, the Black population is equal to that of Alaska Natives. We have been effectively erased from our own history and present day lives. I work with tourists and a day doesn’t go by when I don’t […]
Carn Paggot, Cincinnatti, OH.
Tamara Henderson, Lewisville, NC. We all bleed the same way!