Helen Zhang, Camarillo, CA. When I was in middle school, I noticed that my classmates tended to form “cliques” with people of the same ethnicity. However, I preferred to learn about the values and traditions of other cultures. Speaking to people of different backgrounds continues to allow me to stay open-minded and gain new perspectives.
Mark Overmann, Washington, DC. I grew up in a mostly white suburb north of Cincinnati, Ohio. My grade school was not diverse. I remember one black classmate in my year – we played baseball and basketball together – and one girl of Asian descent, but that’s about it. My high school was more diverse, but […]
Kokujin Cameron Salt Lake City, UT When I was in kindergarten and in class, I had to use the restroom. The teacher had forgotten and I was unaware but there was a girl using the restroom already. The bathroom is part of the classroom and has it’s own corridor which leads down a hallway to […]
Guadalupe Mitchell, Damascus, OR. Growing up, most people just saw a little brown Mexican girl. I remember when entered the second grade and my family had a moved to a predominantly white neighborhood, I was placed in an ESL classroom. My classmates made fun of me because my Spanish was not very good. After struggling […]
Amber Roberson-Rowell, Essex, MD. That was my second incident of prejudice and what instilled in me that race–the color of my skin–was a problem. The first was during my first day of pre-school and being pushed off a tricycle by a little white boy and being told “You don’t belong here!” I was the ONLY […]
Vicki Parrish, San Jose, CA. My engineering graduate student from India had the family name, Mohammed. He is in the top of his software engineering class but couldn’t get an internship although all his Indian classmates did. I suggested that he only put his first and middle name on his resume. Within a week he […]
Tracey Rae Palmer, Myrtle Beach, SC. I was told never to kiss a n***** or get close to them; they would only rob you or kill you for money. I found myself in collage in 1979 and a black man got an “A” in his class. With arms held wide and incredible excitement, he kissed […]
Jasmin Marie Harpe, Burlington, NJ. It has been hard to fit in to both societies growing up as a biracial child, especially being in academia where there are few people who look like me. I had a lot of race issues growing up with my father who has very fair skin, and my mother who […]
Kim Skillern Samuels, Cleveland Heights, OH. I lived in a neighborhood of black people, and went to an inner city public school. When friends found that I’d be moving to the suburbs they teased me, and said “Those honkeys are gonna chase you home from school.” At the age of six I thought a “honkey” […]
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 […]
Jill Epstein Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan At a family gathering years ago, a relative of mine inspired me. He told me that each time he came across a penny on the sidewalk that was heads-down, he would flip it over to bring the next pedestrian good luck. The next week […]
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.