Rebekah Bickford, Baldwin, ME. My white family moved from Indiana to Mississippi in 1977, when I was 8 years old. Our family was seen as “Northern Yankees” and we were not welcomed by many in the white community. The black children were kind to me when I entered school and quickly became my friends. I [...]
M. Landrum Atlanta, GA I grew up poor in a mixed neighborhood in south Atlanta. My two best friends were white and black, and for the most part we all got along. One day my white friend was angry and called my black friend a n*****, and even though I’d never heard the word I [...]
Achilles C., Saint Paul, MN. I am a young African American single father, working hard to make sure my two daughters understand and value their own beauty, in the face of constant imagery and media messages that would suggest otherwise – my oldest was 3 the first time she wanted her hair straight like some [...]
Robin Greeley St. Louis, MO This is what my relatives said to me at a family reunion in the 1950s.They were afraid that if it was known that Grandma was Choctaw, she could be sent to a reservation – something that was done in those days. In Pueblo, Colorado, the hatred and direct discrimination of [...]
Zuhura Hussein Houston, TX
Roy Kutz Chicago, IL An innocent child pays a horrible price for presuming he can interact equally with white people a rich, famous man who interacts mostly with white people receives an undeserved dividend. Redemption is often unjust.
Alicia Barnes Starkville, MS Shared race is not a qualifier of being a mother to a child. Some of us birth kids who don’t look like us, and it’s hurtful for people to question our status. When I saw people trying to figure out if a white mother with brown daughters had adopted them, I [...]
Ann Altman New York City, NY “Liberty and justice for all”? Not until every child receives a good education.
Champagne Girten Miami, FL
Seth Wittner Henderson, NV My parents were ahead of their time. I was born in 1950, and when I was ten or eleven, my parents arranged for me to go to a young black pediatrician–Dr. William Hewlett, who I recently learned became the first African-American physician to have privileges at Jamaica Hospital. There was a [...]
Asheley Woodruff Burtonsville, MD My family recently moved from Idaho to Maryland. For the first time, my children were immersed in a racially diverse population. I realized, quickly, that my children did not understand that the United States is not a white country with a few Black, Hispanic, Asian people living in it. Furthermore, we [...]
Debra Taylor Bolton, MO Fourteen years ago I married a black man. My father told me my child and grandchild did not exist because I was dead to him.
Rob Jones Ocean Ridge, FL I remember as a 6 year old in down town Tampa in 1953, having seen colored drinking fountains and bathrooms for the first time, that it was not right.
Peggy Person Cleveland, TN I have always been so disappointed in “America”, for labeling bi-racial, or mixed race children as one race or the other. I am a white woman, who has had to listen to society brainwash my child into believing that he can be accepted as “anything but white”. I raised him to [...]
Cecelia Lawshe Tujunga, CA When I was 9, I didn’t realize my best friend was black until I brought her to my birthday party and was told I shouldn’t associate with her because she was black. That was the first time I realized skin color differences.
Nancy Harris Cadwell Mulvane, KS As a small child in the early 1950s, I really loved the black man that worked at the local drugstore. Every time we went to town in central Kansas, I wanted to go see Silas.
Sarah Day Waynesboro , VA I have an adopted child and a biological child. My son looks Hispanic, Arabic, you choose. I fear for him, have seen him pulled out of line at airports for scrutiny I have never faced. Some say he has advantages but I see no evidence of that anywhere. The world, [...]
Nina Martin Phoenix, AZ I am quietly proud of my multiracial background: my mother is Chinese, and my father is half German, half American. I also look absolutely nothing like my mother, save for straight hair and slightly tanner skin. While never a negative issue, this has led to some interesting situations since the time [...]
Tom Angell Santa Ana, CA Parent to child.
Lisa Forster Englewood, CO It doesn’t take much wood to build a child’s coffin, but it takes a lot of wood to build all the coffins of the children and teens who die every year from gun violence – nearly 3,000. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, black children and teens accounted for 45 percent [...]
April Bamond Surprise, AZ I am a blonde white woman of European heritage. I made a choice to have a mixed race child. As early as age 5, I remember seeing mixed raced children and thinking that they were simply, beautiful. The more I saw prejudice and bigotry, I knew my choice to have a [...]
David Denver, CO Four words that chill my heart. We had adopted our biracial son when he was 15 months. Now, at four years old, he had come in from playing with his friends and asked Mom, “am I black”? Am I black?, as if there was something wrong with black. As if white was [...]
William B. Cogswell Salinas, CA
Rebekah Porter Birmingham, Al I was an 8 year old white child in the Fall of 1972. In August of that year was the first time I set foot in Alabama, in a small town, home to a white writer who had had cross burned in his front yard. I didn’t know that famous author’s [...]
Lara Furar Canton, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I remember being asked this question as a child. And at various times throughout my life ever since. There was enough of “something” in my background that made it difficult for people to “figure me out”. For some reason, they needed to do that – [...]
Helene M. Angevine-Fina Phoenix, AZ My six words ( amazed how it fit!) were said when I was 3 years old (1959) and I had just seen my very first dark skinned person, a lovely women who laughed loud, long and hard when I said it. In my childs mind I realized that like many [...]
Dolly Szymanski Fort Wayne, IN Both of these quotes are things my mother heard or said The first quote – my mother was a child playing at the home of a classmate who happened to be black. Detroit, MI 1920’s.
Sarah Richards-Desai Ithaca, NY Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Laura Orlando, FL Trying to raise my child to respect differences not fear them.
Jessica Sheffield Age 8 Iowa Jessica Sheffield at age 8 as quoted by her adoptive father, Val Sheffield at the University of Iowa He wonders, “Should I be happy or dismayed by this comment?”