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 […]

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 […]

Seen as black only by Americans!

Joel Anthony Murray, Sr. Westminster, MD. Iranians in DC thought I was Iranian. A Tunisian on a train with me to NY thought I was Tunisian. A Pakistani in Baltimore thought I was Pakistani. A Vietnamese coworker thought I was Middle-Eastern. A Nepalese coworker thought I was Indian or Pakistani. I work with people from […]

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 […]

Little white kids have it hardest

K Russell, Chattanooga, TN. As a little white kid growing up, I was constantly harassed by black boys for no other reason than I was white- and small enough not to be a threat (I only weighed 89 lbs by eighth grade.) Luckily I had a great friend that was also black that saved me […]

This Is Why Blacks Aren’t Respected

Julian D., Las Cruces, NM. Thug and Welfare culture is NOT what your ancestors and forefathers fought and died for! The Rev. M.L. King, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, etc. are all turning over in their graves over how much Black America has degenerated. Time to get it together, men and women. Don’t let their efforts […]

Not black enough to be black

Christina Gibbs, La Habra, CA. Growing up in Orange County all of my life, I grew up around mostly White, Asian, and Mexican people. I was always the token black person in schools throughout life and in my friend groups. The only only times I was around more than a few black people was when […]

Not black, brown, neither white, beige

Ida Nielsen, Danmark I think it’s wrong to use the words BLACK and WHITE. I mean: I got a lighter skin tone, than the people you would call black, but that doesn’t mean that I’m white. No, I’m not white, and they are NOT black. If I was white, then you shouldn’t be able to […]

Mugged…Most assume black mugger…wrong

Lynne Moffitt, Virginia Beach, VA. When I was living in Louisville, I came home from work and was mugged when I got out of my car. I had looked around before I got out and this nice young man was walking down the sidewalk. He looked like a typical University of Louisville student which was […]

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 […]

Veil, black, nationality, gender, food, proper names

Asmaa Benbaba, Auburn, AL. In more instances than one, the veil is considered as a symbol of subservience and exclusion by western media. As a result, a lot of people reproduce the same thoughts and behavior towards those women who choose the veil as an identity and refuse to think critically of the socio-cultural and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Black business is GREAT business too!

Anika Dixon, Little Rock, AR. The color of my skin should not determine the type of house I can sell you or the type of properties I can manage for you! You allow me to manage your ‘hood properties’ but you allow your own to manage your ‘no problem’ properties. REALLY??

Sitting with Marva on the bus

Lu Ann Joplin The Villages, FL I was in junior high, she was in high school. I’m white, she’s black. She asked if she could sit with me. I said sure. It didn’t occur to me it could be a problem. I really got the treatment everyday when she got off the bus. The bus […]

Canadian African German Black and White

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 […]

I’m biracial & multi-ethnic: I’m Human.

Nichole Pettit, Lake Como, NJ. Monmouth University I’m biracial. I’m not just African American, I’m also American, German, English and Irish! Many say “You’re black,” sure but I’m not just that. Do not reduce my race and ethnic background to a single word. I do not belong to a single group, I belong to many. […]

African American but not black

Rewan, New York, NY. I’m 15 years old, and I live in New York. My parents were both born and raised in Egypt and moved here in the ’80s. Let me cut to the chase- I’ve been called white, Hispanic, “light skin,” but I consider my self Arabic, because Egyptians speak Arabic and is located […]

Racism’s destroying my belief in God

Edgar Montgomery, Brick, NJ. Monmouth University To know the story of my six words, one just needs to turn on any news channel, daily. Or, check the bureau of labor statistics since its inception. Or, check statistics on levels of incarceration for African Americans. Or, view all forms of media open to human consumption. Or, […]

Este hombre es un negro blanco!

Isaias Ortiz Davenport, FL Este hombre es un negro blanco! This man is a white black. The first time I heard that phrase was circa 1980, a family member said while referring to one of his friends, while they were singing and playing their guitars together. I was 20 years old by then, growing up […]

Educated man people see only black

Jason Adams Wichita, KS I have fought to educated myself so I could raise my family into the middle class but at every job I applied for I did not get the job. My name helps me get into the door but as soon as I walk in the door their eyes get big and […]

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 […]

To be young, gifted, and black.

Maynard Hearns, Santa Cruz, CA. The black story in america is very simple: we were slaves, and then we weren’t. We were never given freedom, or equality. When we begged for it, we were lied to. When we Marched on Washington and pleaded our case, we were shot in the back of the head. When […]

You’re not like most black girls.

Felicia Oakmon, Autin, TX. This statement is a repeat offender. I am half black and half Mexican, but I wasn’t aware that ALL “black girls”,or ALL people are exactly the same. Instead of judging people by media, social networks,and what you have heard… take the time to have a conversation, take the time to listen […]

No offense BUT, what are you?

Francesca Sam-Sin, Katy, TX. “No offense BUT, what are you?” That’s usually how the conversation about my race begins. When I arrived in the U.S. in the 80’s I was really surprised by the emphasis on race. The first time someone asked what “race” I was, it took me a minute to understand exactly what […]

Does her black baby doll offend?

Michelle Martini, USA. When it came time to choose my daughter’s first baby doll, there were only dark-skinned dolls left in the specific brand/style I wanted. Thinking it didn’t matter, I bought it. She has since chosen her own doll — also dark skinned. I’ve gotten a few comments. Most people seem to think we’re […]

I Am Not White Or Black

Matthew, TX. Black, White, Asian, or Pink with Purple polka dots – your skin color is not who you are. Do not obsess over the shade God painted you when you were born. Do not let history define you. Do not allow others to control your actions. Love, respect, kindness. Not hate and vengeance for […]

Black~Soulful~Queen~Loving~My~Skin

Ebonee Small, Ontario, CA. I am a young black woman proud of the skin I’m in. I love my race of people when those who don’t. I’m always proud because it seems as if every obstacle placed before my race we always concur leaving others dumbfounded. Others outside my race seem to always try and […]

To know Black, ride a bicycle.

Peter S. Fair Oaks, CA It is extremely difficult for those in the Majority to understand the grinding reality of our structural Racism. Few people have the imagination to place themselves in the lives of others, and even fewer seem to have the willingness to do so. The great bulk of the Majority just doesn’t […]

“No offense, but you’re so pretty!”

K.E. Broadnax, Cleveland, OH. This was said to me while attending college. I am black, and went to a predominantly white, upper-class university (as many are, to be fair). His statement was prefaced by the question, “What nationality are you?” If I was me now, back then, I would’ve replied “American.” But I knew what […]

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 […]

Black, he fixed it and me.

Winslow Parker Portland, OR Back story: She was from upstate New York, I from San Diego; both of us from snow-white neighborhoods. It was 1971. Grey-brown smoke on the the northern horizon still lingered in my mind; Watts burning. We moved into the thin white line on the eastern edge of the Grand Concourse young, […]

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 […]

They hate me because I’m Black?

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 […]

Black with dreads and white husband

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 […]

Our different skins hold one love.

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.

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, […]

Why can’t I call them that?

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.

I’m black, but not “African American”

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 […]

Son, indignant: I have the right to be!

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.

Not Member of Your White Club

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 […]

Free Black since at least 1820

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 […]

I wish that Race meant EQUALITY.

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 […]

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 […]

White, Black, Brown! Just an American

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 […]

We all come from Black ancestry.

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 […]

Blacks can own nice things too!

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 […]

I didn’t know you are black

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 […]

Black and part of the solution.

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 […]

Blackanese is not Black or Japanese.

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 […]

1968. Black freshman roommate. Different planets.

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 […]

White, Black, Latino, Asian, or Human?

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 […]

Neither This or That, but Also

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.

First I am Black, not Female

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 […]

I have pride in my black!

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.

My adopted Black sons are priceless.

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 […]

White voice, black skin, awkward interviews.

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 […]

We’re black We love the outdoors

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 […]

Self Identifying as Black

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 […]

Father of two girls…I’m Black

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 […]

White Love Black, Black Love White :)

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.

What shade of black am I?

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.

Raised by whitefolks judged by blackfolks

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. […]