You look Scandinavian but wrong color

Stacy Reuille-Dupont, Durango, CO. This was a statement made to me by a woman at work. She was a client, me an employee. She had been curiously watching me. She was Finnish and had previously remarked that she struggled to capture English spoken around her. I assumed her glances were about language until one day […]

What am I supposed to say?

Zack Ritchie, Boulder, CO. I am a white male. Race doesn’t play a very important role in my life. I go through my daily activities without having to think about how people view the color of my skin. My uncle, however, is African American. His children, my cousins, have dark skin. Because of that, race […]


I pass. What is my place?

Jennifer Ward, Denver, CO. As discussions have proliferated in Denver and online about race, the Black Lives Matter movement, and how change should be implemented, one idea that has been reiterated is that white people’s place is to support, while black people’s place is to lead and direct. I understand that, but where does that […]


You’re lucky you look ambiguously minority.

Cristina Gonzales, Denver, CO. All throughout my life I’ve worked hard to succeed only to wonder if any success, any award, any accomplishment was truly earned, or if I am just helping someone make a quota, create a statistic, or justify an extra dollar or two. The worst is having a seed of doubt planted […]

Papers? Does your dad do construction?

Josue Roberto Rodriguez, Denver, CO. A question that most of the Hispanic youth gets. They are many stereotypical questions and jokes for Hispanics. These are just some of the more common ones I receive. It is a stereotype for Hispanics to not have their green card. Also for Hispanics to be construction workers.

Don’t know if I’m a bad person

Judea, Estes Park, CO. I have heard it said that being White automatically makes me racist. Although I grew up in a mainly White town, I’ve always been kind and respectful to everyone regardless of their skin color. When I heard that many people believe that all whites harbor racist thoughts, I read more into […]

I have never enslaved anyone’s ancestors

Paul, Colorado Springs, CO. I am not the enemy. I am a 40-year old white, middle-class male- the prime demographic; according to some. It hurts me when people assume that I’m bigoted, racist, sexist or homophobic. To many racial and gender-based groups; I am looked at as the enemy. Neither I, nor my family has […]


My Chinese daughter, whiter than white.

Rachel Drummond Highlands Ranch, CO Jasmine stands apart. She doesn’t want to. Like may people of color who also have albinism, she is often not accepted or believed to be Chinese. Very few people who meet her haven’t had some strong reaction — new age folks have told me she’s New Age magical, children tell […]

He’s my cousin. You can tell.

Emily Bryant, Denver, CO. My last name is Bryant. Like Kobe Bryant. Whenever people ask my to spell out my last name, I usually just tell them that. Sometimes I tell them that he’s my cousin and it always gets a good laugh from people, no matter what their race is. You see, not only […]

You’re wearing a hijab? I’m nervous.

Camille, Castle Rock, CO. I grew up in an area where there were no Muslims. I moved to Colorado and that’s when I was first exposed to the religion. My mom gets very nervous when she sees a woman wearing a hijab. She almost leaves the store we are in every time. It’s just something […]

We are all from planet Earth.

Maggie Trias, Boulder, CO. I am half Puerto Rican, but I look white, and lost contact with my Puerto Rican family a long time ago. Instead of feeling empty like I’m missing half of myself, I have learned to cherish my connections with people from all over the globe, and have let go of my […]


You have the right skin color

Erin Fischer, Boulder, CO. This is actually the end of a quote from Abraham Verghese’s novel, Cutting for Stone. The whole quote says “Accent be damned in Africa, as long as it’s foreign and you have the right skin color.” It is referencing how a person who was low class and not well educated in […]

My friends and then your friends.

Kyle Cruz, Colorado Springs, CO. When freshman enter my high school, we instantly separate to our “designated friends”. We are sectioned off into racial biased groups (all decisions are by students) and we stay with our “true” colors. But not my friend pact, if you look into our cafeteria you’d see a sea of different […]

A white body, a black soul

Lauren Johnston Denver, CO I may fit under the common-white-girl stereotype but I love black history and music. A lot of my friends are black and I find inspiration in Hip-Hop culture, and music. Whenever I’m singing Jazz and R&B, I feel it in my soul. No other genre of music does that to me….

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I wish I had darker skin

Melanie Douglas, Peyton, CO. I have transracial adopted kids. They have better hair than I do, they have better skin than I do, it is really something that they got everything I could ever want for them outside of my gene pool, and all I ever want is to be in their gene pool. I […]

Simple Shorthand for Dismissing an “Other”

Vince Darcangelo, Flort Collins, CO. “Sadly, I believe that underlying the race issue is a deeper human need (perhaps fear- or anxiety-driven) to label and discount those different from us. I don’t believe it’s as simple as skin color. Skin color is simply the signifier that facilitates easy division or grouping. If we were all […]


Differences never change but opinions do

Molly W., Denver, CO. I am a 6th grade teacher and my class has been reading Fire From the Rock about the integration of Central High School in Little Rock in 1957. This six-word story was written by one of my students in response to our reading.

Is your uncle Osama bin Laden?

Tiffany Compton, Colorado Springs, CO. I always thought I was like everyone else until a kid in my 6th grade class asked me this question. After 9/11 my Middle Eastern background has been stereotyped and my life hasn’t been the same.


REMEMBER–For WHITE patrons only

Mary Smith, Fort Collins, CO. “Growing up in southeast Texas, I went to segregated schools until high school – Junior year. Laundromats and water fountains bore these signs. I asked my parents why we lived in a place with such hateful attitudes, and they said, “”If people with better values didn’t live here, things would […]


Adopted from India lived in NH

Kayla Eckhoff, Denver, CO. I was just a year old when I was adopted, I was born in India and grew up in a small town in New Hampshire. For the most part I had a normal childhood, especially growing up in an all white community. Went to school, made friends, played school sports. Though […]

No moccasins. You’ll wear real shoes.

Elizabeth, Denver, CO. My mother is mixed race, Indian and white. She grew up pretty poor, but she told me once that she always had two pairs of shoes: one pair of moccasins and one pair of boots. Depending on who her father was trading with she would either have to pull on her boots, […]

Happy Birthday, you missed teen pregnancy.

Riley Witting, Denver, CO. More often than not, whenever a friend turns twenty, most of my friends congratulates her by saying “Way to go! You missed teen pregnancy”. Although I know this is a harmless comment, and is meant to be funny, I think it is really sad how in todays world we have brought […]

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I speak better English than you.

Nicole Huber, Colorado Springs, CO. I am Asian American. Being an Asian American, no one clutches their purse tighter when I walk by, and no one finds it surprising that I teach at a university. But despite Asian Americans being perceived as the “model minority,” we are not seen as “real” Americans. I was adopted […]

Dear White People, See systematic racism.

Joscelyn Gay, Denver, CO. As a white woman, I’m frustrated with white society saying they are ‘color blind’ and their reponsibility is voer. I would like white people to understand the profound impact that decades of disparity in education, incarceration, and employment have had on Black society.


Noir, Schwartze, Negredo – I Am Black

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 […]

Melody Barnes with The Race Card Project, Say What?!? Players at The Aspen Ideas Festival, 2014 Tent of Conversation
Michele Norris and The Race Card Project, Say What?!? Players at The Aspen Ideas Festival, 2014 Afternoon of Conversation

Is It Racist to Ask People Where They’re From?

URI FRIEDMAN, The Atlantic  JUL 2 2014, 9:05 AM ET ASPEN, Colo.—”The moment was fine for me…. But I don’t know, how was it for you?” That’s New York Times columnist Mark Oppenheimer asking Tessie Guillermo, president and CEO of the consultancy ZeroDivide, how she felt when he inquired about her ethnicity. “Context is really […]

This project gives racism more power

Brandon Aspen, CO The purpose of saying something racist is to invoke. By allowing people to express that they were hurt by these words gives them (words) more power. The more we try to educate to not say these things because they hurt the more we lose traction in this battle. We need to teach […]


Racism: prejudging ANYONE based on race.

Jeff, Arvada, CO. I was raised in a military town with such overwhelming diversity that I didn’t realize race was an issue until I was 12 and went into foster care. Suddenly I was surrounded by a predominantly African-American group that hated me because I was white. Now let me be clear I didn’t assume […]

One person is all it takes

Hannah Lindberg Denver, CO One person is all it takes. To start a rumor, it only takes person. It is said that racism is taught, and it only takes one person to teach another, and that person to teach another. On and on, through generations, the seed grows until it becomes a beast, an inhumane […]

I hate these walls between us.

Joel Bass Englewood, CO The idea of race was created to keeps us apart, to make it easier for us to harm each other, to make powerful people even more powerful. It’s arbitrary, it’s hateful, and in my heart I can see a world without it. I ache for that world.

Cops can’t see us with you

Alexander Hileman Commerce City, CO People are afraid in parts of the USA to be seen with white people. I was down in Texas, and a couple of black kids asked us if we wanted to play some basketball. We said yes and we played for about an hour and a half until they said […]

Economic segregation will add to problem

KL Anderson Colorado Springs, CO Educational disparity has long been a racial card, but it’s one the sinking middle class is now being dealt, too. This might actually play out as a great eye opener to the blue collar job holder who has been traditionally manipulated into bigotry.

Only one race: hue-man!

Michael Thau Centennial, CO I noticed that people of different races are no different in their core. Some are smart and others less so – just like every group! Once you get past the social construct of race, you can truly know people better.

Anger sadness hope live inside me

Susan Riederer Boulder, CO I was a teenager during the 60’s and feel such sadness at remembering what occurred in my youth as a white midwestern girl. I remember the race riots in Kansas City where I lived and my parents picking me up in downtown as opposed to taking the city bus home because […]

Aren’t you supposed to be blonde?

Mikayla of Westminster Westminster, CO People tend to assume that all Germans are the Nazi’s idea of perfect: blonde with blue eyes. They also immediately assume that we’re pure-bred Nazis, or racist against Jews. Most of them can’t grasp the fact that my dad is as American as it gets, and are shocked to see […]

Minorities must be “stomped” out, removed.

Colton Denver, CO An incredibly close friend of mine was one of the only white girls at an African-American/Asian majority school. Months ago she was assaulted at a graduation party by a group of girls, for the main reason of her being a “privileged white girl who needs to be roughed up.” She was kicked […]

“At least my mother is real.”

Shoshi Shaw Denver, CO In middle school I saw nothing wrong with being honest about my past so anyone who asked I would tell, I’m adopted. One day in math, I was correcting a classmates work on the whiteboard and on my way back to my seat, I heard the boy say under his breath […]

If we ignore it, it’ll leave.

Nick Lakewood, CO Personally, my experience with racism hasn’t been very bad, Growing up in this time period, my generation has come to accept the idea seeing someone for their character, instead of their appearance. In middle school, was called a couple names, but they weren’t necessarily directed towards my ethnicity, but towards my physical […]

“Aren’t you supposed to be smart?”

Coco Centennial, CO Stereotyping; the act of judging one based on society’s perception on a group of people, is a form of racism that has effected me personally. “Aren’t you supposed to be smart?” is a phrase that I have heard directed towards me many times due to the stereotype that all people of Asian […]

Controlled by the chains of society.

Lila Jordan Denver, CO There are many demeaning stereotypes that our nation has adapted throughout history. For example, women are typically judged as weak, which is why the phrase “you can’t loose to a girl” is so prevalent among children. These stereotypes are often applied to people of a different race, color, or religion, and […]

“Everyone can go through, except you.”

Ashlyn Herd Denver, CO In 2012, the top choirs at Denver School of the Arts took a trip to Boston, because we had been accepted to perform in prestigious settings such as Berkley College of Music, Boston Conservatory, New England Conservatory, and Harvard. In Bellissima (our 33 member, 9th and 10th grade all women’s choir), […]

I am more than my culture

Eric Arellano Denver, CO Being Mexican has always been tough love for me, I have been bullied and given a stereotype that labels me as a gardner, a trumpeteer with a Mariachi Band, or a Peleta Man who sells Ice Cream out of carts. I am none of these, I am a dancer with a […]

We assume you don’t speak English

Sabrina Leira Denver, CO Sometimes when people are trying to do the right thing, they end up being wrong. For instance, every year at school, we have to check a box that says what our ethnicity/race is. I, being half Hispanic, sometimes check the Hispanic box. A few weeks later, I get called into the […]


Raised in segregated north, I’m racist.

Rev. Kathy Bird DeYoung, Aurora, CO. I was raised in metro Detroit in one of the white northern suburbs. Now I live in the most integrated city in the nation, Aurora, Colorado. My city of origin is more integrated now, thankfully. But, I still wouldn’t want to return. I’m frustrated by this new ethic where […]

Judge people based on their character.

Pamela Priest Denver, CO I’m white, grew up in Michigan. Had black kids tease me in 7th grade because I was poor and couldn’t afford the extra penny for chocolate milk. they said, “Are you afraid you’ll become black like me?” Was chased home from the bus stop in 6th grade by them. Yet none […]

Ancestor shame – free, slave, Black, White

Lisa Roy Denver, CO I have done lots of genealogy research and DNA tests on my family. Most African Americans are mixed race. My great great great great great grandfather Thomas’s Buckingham was white and married a Black woman in the late 1700s. I am their descendant. Yet my family has a hard time accepting […]

Before 9/11….Unique, After 9/11….ARAB!

Miriam Piper Colorado Springs, CO Before 9/11 I was just this unique mix of who knows what. I am really Palestinian and White, but no one ever knew what I was (Indian, Puerto Rican, Greek). But as soon as 9/11 happened, and living in a large military community who were then trained on facial features, […]

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 […]

Black ? No. White? No. Human? Yes!

Douglas Rice Fruita, CO I struggled for four decades to find some sort of racial identity…I’m bi-racial by my DNA, but having been raised in white culture where white people called me black I’ve never identified as white, and having been raised in white culture I didn’t “experience” black culture so I don’t Identify as […]

Every Race Has Been A Slave

Jimmy Naughton Colorado Springs, CO Why does any race deserve restitution for their hardships? Every race has been enslaved, yet today’s discussions only ever focus on the Atlantic Slave Trade, i.e., the black slave. Hell, the Irish slaves were more plentiful in the English Empire, they were cheaper and treated far worse since they were […]

You’re named Carlos, but you’re blond?

Leah Gillett Boulder, CO My mother is Mexican-American, my father is Irish-American. My brother and I are blond haired and blue eyed. People frequently react to his name, Carlos. They are surprised that suburban kids from Michigan have Mexican heritage… It doesn’t bother me, but it can be tiring to cover our ethnic background immediately […]

Black in this world is a death sentence

Sylvia D. Stevenson Thornton, CO Will all black-African Americans ever be given any breaks? Foreigners get better treatment in America than Blacks. Jews are looked at because of the holocaust. Blacks were kidnaped and brought here, but we get no retribution for being treated as animals. Even today, I tried to purchase a condo on […]

Look like them, Sing like us

Geoffrey Wodell Wheat Ridge, CO Many years ago an African-American Country-Western singer, Charlie Pride, released a live album. After one of the cuts someone in the audience yelled out “Charlie, how can you look like them and sing like us?”. I have remembered that comment ever since and now, as a Norwegian-American Jew who sings […]

Tail the black guy buying moscato.

Erik Aurora, CO I was in a mixed-race neighborhood, in line at a convenience store behind a black man checking out with a white clerk. He asked if there were any larger sizes of the wine he was buying. After the clerk said he wasn’t sure, he went back into the store to look himself. […]

Hardship. Coffin-ships. Caucasian?! Don’t whitewash me.

Olivia Myers Denver, CO I get rather irritated by the way, whenever race is discussed, it’s assumed that I’m part of a classification because of the color of my skin:because I’m milk white, I must be affluent, privileged, part of WASP culture. It’s assumed by many, implicitly or explicitly, that I will have trouble understanding […]

Tiger Moms eat their children alive

Ethan Tsai Boulder, CO Growing up with the stereotypical Tiger Mom supposedly fosters the growth of amazing children, but I have only seen the heartbreak and misery it usually brings. The incredible pressures brought on by parents that want to live vicariously through their children – raising them to only accept being number one (and […]

Natives can only be poor or past.

Maranda Compton Denver, CO For most of society, the American Indian is conceived of as strictly an historical figure. People maintain images of Tonto or the Crying Indian walking alongside the highway in buckskin and feathers. And if they do allow the Indian to exist in modernity, he or she is relegated to an impoverished, […]