first experience

Prayed God would make me White

Amber Price, Atlanta, GA. I was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I grew up ashamed of my Blackness. I heard the n-word for the first time in elementary school. I prayed every night for God to make me white. At the age of 17 I was told to go sit with the rest of the Blacks […]

Peach crayon never worked for us.

Maya PS Boston, MA Growing up in a color-challenged yet friendly midwest suburb, we were one of 3 families of color in our local school. Even though it was not an issue for most of our childhood, sometimes the desire to squelch our culture reared its ugly head. We did try to assimilate as much […]

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Soul Surfer is Light without color

NanJo Carter, Richmond, CA. I grew up in the fifties and sixties. We moved to Japan when I was 2. We moved to Montgomery, AL when I was six and I attended Capitol Heights Elementary School. These were intense times with the National Guard escorting us to class and the school. We experienced discrimination and […]

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“Appalachian” means “none of your business.”

Amy Tanisha, Petaluma, CA. When asked the infamous “what are you?” question, I define myself on my terms. Sure, its easy for someone to understand that my mom is white and my dad is black, but “white” or “black” is not the house I grew up in. I grew up in a house full of […]

What would the neighbor’s think?

Dolly Szymanski Fort Wayne, IN Both of these quotes are things my mother heard or said. The second quote – My mother said to me when I wanted to invite some college friends to our home. Some of the friends were persons of color Grosse Pointe, MI in 1959.

We don’t serve Your Kind Here!

Pilar Leano, San Francisco, CA. This was said to me in a small town of Fremont, Ohio. In fact, they got my nationality wrong also (they thought I was from Mexico). I still get comments like, you speak great English (even though I just told them I was born and raised in San Francisco). And […]

The facts stop where feelings begin

John Smith, Las Vegas, TX. Races are diffrent, not only by color of skin, but by brain and how our body is built, its sad but true some races are capable to do better things then others, when the white man whas building rome the Africans where still living in mud houses, and most of […]

Color Doesn’t Matter. Tell My Boss.

Tina, MI. These six terms are my experience as it relates to every work environment I’ve encountered. I’ve been successful whereever I’ve worked and am now busy doing the “enterepreneur thing” (successfully). My employment experiences have all been the same. Single black female, alone in a sea of white as if no other qualified blacks […]

I, Woman Of Color Can Articulate

Epiphanie Malloy Inkster, MI This stereotypical notion that women of color,especially us in the African American community, are incapable of orating with yell, screaming, being “angry and black” has become accedingly old hat. The shock an awe I receive when I properly articulate my feelings, ideas and general statements/responses is far more annoying and frequent […]

Not racist, proud to be white

Rusty Loiselle, Huntsville, AL. I don’t have a problem with anyone of any color. Color is not something we had a choice in. I have a problem with ignorance, thugs, people who are morally bankrupt and think the world owes them a living. I have a problem with people who think that they should receive […]

I am American, not just Brown

Francisco Lemus, Sanger, CA. These six words signify that I am more than just brown. People tend to categorize others based on how they look, and using that to clump them in a certain group with preconceptions about their ways of life. I have had moments where I was not seen as American because of […]

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See my color. I see yours.

Florencetine Bourne Jasmin, Gwynn Oak, MD. My response to those who say, “I don’t see color.” But I need you to see my color. It is beautiful! How could you not see it. If you don’t see it, then you don’t see me, hear me, or know me….or won’t get to know me.

Italian Boyfriend Uncomfortable Visiting Arizona Home

Mike McNamara Chicago, IL Especially in the non-winter months because he gets so dark. Growing up in Tucson, he was sometimes mistaken for Mexican, which makes sense when you look at him from afar. But only recently has he felt uncomfortable going home to visit his family based on that same mistake that people have […]

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‘I don’t see color’ is cringeworthy.

Jasmine Honegan. Brazil. Growing up as one of 5 black families in an all white town in CT, ‘ I don’t see color’ was the go to phrase whenever anyone said anything controversial, racist, or condescending. I remember always feeling uncomfortable with the line, it was used as if the inability to see color made […]

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Black-white man; white black man

Kirl T. Lawson, Oakland, CA. I have so many tales to share about my experience with my color (or lack of “definitive color recognition”). growing up in Chicago, I was called “a white n*****” by friends at times w/ affection and at times derisively. Initially the appellation hurt my feelings until I took an objective […]

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We are HUMANS, NOT COLORS

Nik Parttridge, TN. I am classified as White/Caucasian because of how I look. This does NOT mean that I am the same people who enslaved your ancestors, or made them go on the Trail of Tears, or genocide them because of their religion! My mother’s side is Finnish, and my father’s side is Cherokee and […]

Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb blonde.

Heather Saskia Nichols, Maple Grove, MN. I do not bleach my hair. I do not color my hair. I do not highlight my hair. I do not think about my hair. I do not think with my hair. Why am I called dumb because of my hair? In 7th grade, I stopped talking in class. […]

I’m A Strong Powerfull Mexican Woman

Andrea Cordero Salt Lake City, UT I no longer wan to be viewed just by the color of my skin or my gender. I am ready for this world to see me for my abilities and streangths and not just catagorize me as a “minority”. If we want to see each other as equals we […]

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Is my color who I am?

Lora-Ellen McKinney, Renton, WA. I am not my color, though I am in some ways what my color represents in America. I am, by this definition, an African American first because this what people see. I also identify with African American history, culture, family structure and faith practices. But alone in my house where I […]

Post racial society–dream not reality

Jennifer Woods, Okemos, MI. I am a 65 year old African American and am sick to death that in 2012 we are still, Still, STILL having this same tired conversation about race. That we still have to have “the talk” with our young men. That black people continue, decades after Dr. King’s dream, to be […]

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Human? We have something in common.

Brandon Attala, Grand Rapids, MI. ‘Race’ is just a way to classify ourselves on a more individual level. In actuality, we are all made up of 99.9% of the same DNA, and I think that should take priority over the color of our skin or our place of birth or ancestry.

Being blonde isn’t always more fun.

Heather Raymond Grand Rapids, MI Understanding Race Project – University of Michigan People say that “blondes have more fun,” but having light hair isn’t what it is cracked up to be. Many times I find myself at the receiving end of stigma when I have a “blonde” moment: dumb, human mistakes blamed on the color […]

Hero. Musical Genius. Jazz is color.

Mark Lynn Honeycutt, Knoxville, TN. I’m a white, middle class, born and raised East Tennessean. But also a musician. Well, drummer. And my heroes have been black men since I was little. Jazz was tinted “black” to me, and it was/is wonderful.

Entire countries meld in this body.

Isabella Thomas, Philadelphia, PA. My name is Isabella Thomas, and I’m a student currently attending Central High School in Philadelphia. The concept of ‘race’, to me has always correlated with ‘color’. Or perhaps an erasure of identity. I am not simply white, just as my peers- my friends- are not simply black, or Asian. I […]

Am I here because I’m Asian?

Jamie-Claire Chau, Philadelphia, PA. We have reached a dilemma in our fight for justice. How can we intentionally battle racism without being racist? We think reconciliation is embracing people because of their race rather than despite of their race. I constantly question whether I have what I have and am where I am because I […]

Color Defined, Now Mixing is Fixing

Doug Shipman, Atlanta, GA. The demographic changes seen in the census are at a turning point– race has to change because the categories are rapidly falling with intermarriage, internationalization and the rise of majority-minority in America.

More Than a Color; a History

Michaela Helinski, USA. Yes I am white, yet I am so much more than a color. I have a whole history behind me of relatives traveling from different parts of the world in order to make a new life in America. Yes I am Polish as my last name contains a “ski”, but that is […]

My ancestors do not define me.

R.M. Lutz, East Lansing, MI. My color does not define me. Why should being white make me feel guilty? I didn’t want slavery. I didn’t want Jim Crow. I didn’t ask to be born into a family that is upper middle class. But somehow, people blame me like it’s my fault. Like I wanted to […]

My color shouldn’t determine my future!

Tyler Logan, East Lansing, MI. Don’t fall under the pressure of society telling you that because of your skin color your path has already been chosen for you. Make your own path and lead the way for others regardless of what color your skin is! Success is colorblind!

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I’m An Individual NOT A Color!

Nadra Enzi, New Orleans, LA. Anyone with eyes can see that I’m a dark Black man. That and a couple dollars might buy you a cup of coffee at a trendy shop. Two terms of Obama-inflamed identity politics makes me reassert a lifelong commitment to individualism. I’m not a one-size-fits-all person. The fact I voted […]

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The difference is culture, not color.

Brenda Ward, Schaumburg, IL. The color of our skin has nothing to do with who we are. It is where we live, who raises us, our family traditions, our geography. We try to peg the differences on color because it is easier to see and understand and our lack of interest in exploring and appreciating […]

Do you love them the same?

Paige VandenBrink, Holland, MI. The worst question I have ever been asked is, “Do you love them the same?”. This was a question I was asked when I got a new adopted black cousin. I almost cried because I was too young to understand why anyone couldn’t love someone the same just because of a […]

I see human beings not color

Christopher Wydler, Miami, FL. People always ask me does it bother you that more than 90 percent of the university you attend contain African Americans? My response is simply I see people for who they are not because the skin of their color.

She is just some white girl

Brooke, Richmond, VA. Virginia Commonwealth University Racism goes all sorts of ways. My race shouldn’t define everything about me, and definitely shouldn’t generalize me as a person. My race shouldn’t decide how I get treated in public or how much I get paid. My race should not put me above or below anyone, and it […]

They hate me because I’m WHITE

Eddie Savage Gilberetville, IA There are bad people in the world, black, white, brown. the color of your skin does not matter. I know I am judged being white and a cop. Racism no matter what anyone says is HORRIBLE and needs to end, but so does the hate children are taught from a young […]

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I will never be black enough.

Janeen Irving San Leandro, CA For the first 12 years of my life I was clueless to my own color (or lack thereof) growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the next 20 years I tried to prove I was black. To no avail. Now I’ve come to the conclusion I’m an amazing […]

“I am chocolate Mama is ice-cream”

Naghmeh Moshtael Portland, OR These are my daughter’s words. We live in a world of different race, culture and heritage. My husband in African American, born in Seattle and raised in Compton, CA. I am originally from Iran, raised in Cameroon (Central Africa) and now living in the US. My daughter is adopted from Ethiopia. […]

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Didn’t know/you don’t sound black.

Charity Son Anchorage, AK I was disappointed that this seems to even surprise a congenitally blind white woman I work with–“I didn’t know you were black!.” Happens on the phone as well. In person, black people, white people, all kinds of people seem to resent the way I speak. What does it even mean, to […]

Think you cute because you’re lightskin?

Kwazi Owens Washington, DC I see so much divisiveness among black women due to colorism. I remember growing up and girls automatically not liking me just because of my complexion and me feeling the need to reel in my personality as not seem as though I’m trying to be “better” than others. As an adult […]

I am more than my color

Frank Benson Knoxville, TN I am native american from Alaska. I have been mistaken for hispanic, asian, hawaiian. it’s difficult not to see someones color, but to make assumptions about who someone based on skin tone before meeting the person limits us all.

I bet you don’t charge whites.

Steven Columbus, OH Working a parking booth. Black woman pulled up. Sign clearly posted with the rates for parking. Open the gate. That’s 2 bucks to park here. I bet you don’t charge white people. The sign is for everyone Mam. I’m interested in green not the color of your skin.

We invent race to justify intolerance

Joshua San Antonio, TX We are all one race and have only minor different biological features. Do you really believe that is the driving force behind our discrimination and stereotypical caricaturizations of each other? If we were all perfectly homogenized and mixed race, would will still discrimination against each other based on class, money, or […]

family

What color will your kid’s be?

J. Torres Kansas City, MO My father is from Puerto Rico, born and raised. My mother is Colombian. However, raised in Panama. They met in the 1950’s while my dad was in the U.S. Army. Us kids always called ourselves PanaRicans. Until my mother gave us her true background. I attended college in Michigan in […]

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We’re a’ Jock Thamson’s bairns

Susanna Gourlay Wilbraham, MA This is a saying my dad taught me. I moved to the USA from Scotland and it was a phrase he told when I was talking to him about how sad it was that people get treated differently based on the color of their skin. The saying means, “We’re all God’s […]

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Why do you always act white?

Anika Moore Gulfport, MS You can not act a color. You can not be a color. Just because I speak as though I have read a book once in my life does not make me instantly “an Oreo”. Please stop.

Racism doesn’t have an expiration date.

Courtenay M. Miami, FL I live in a city where racism is alive and well. Many say “You’re in Miami, there is no racism”, or “People don’t treat people like that anymore,” and the most used response I hear is “Maybe it was a misunderstanding.” If someone mistreats you, how can you debate with them […]

What color is she? -Grandma

Ashley Ward Edgewood, MD My Grandmother grew up in a different time, where to be light was right and to be dark was wrong. My grandmother was extremely light, but my biological father is west indian and extremely dark. Dark like the ocean and I favored his complexion over my maternal genes. I was my […]

Assist based on need, not color.

Bobby Chicago, IL Current iterations of affirmative action programs are a relic of the narrowminded thinking of the past century. They should be reformed to award assistance based on socio-economic status, not race/gender/religion/etc. To truly help all disadvantaged people we must break from the outmoded thinking of archaic legislation.

Self segregation leads to continued stereotyping.

Monica Mingo Germantown, MD Whenever I meet someone who doesn’t have friends who share different skin colors, I challenge it. How can you live in the world we live in and not have White friends if you are Black and Black friends if you are White? If you live in the United States, the melting […]

I’m caramel, you’re peach, we’re sweet!

Leah Turner Lancaster, PA One time, a little girl ask me what color I was. At the time my snippy come-back was “Choca-mocha-latte!”, but I figured that was a little much for a six year old who was honestly curious. So I looked at my skin and said “Caramel”. She said “Oh,” Looked at her […]

African-American is more than color.

Carmela Atlanta, GA I am significantly more than the color of my skin. I am the culture of my people and I am amazing. Get to know me and my color and you will be amazed. If not, I can continue to be amazing without you. I realize I have nothing to prove to anybody […]

Raised by a village of color

Karen G Augusta, GA I was raised in the south by my single, widowed mother and a handful of Christian women of both colors. I learned about compassion, empathy, justice and God, at their knees. Later in life I learned prejudice while living in another country, because I was white. And I know that prejudice […]

I’m closer to pink than white.

Hailey Dodge Grand Rapids, MI Everywhere I go I am always being called white-girl all the time. But the truth of it is that I am not white I don’t blend in with the snow, flour shows up on my skin, and I have blood running through my veins. And to be honest the color […]

Black and white at their grayest.

Brelynn Evans Riverton, UT This sentence came from the idea of the phrases: “the difference between the two are black and white” and “the similarities make for gray areas.” The black and white race has such little impact on the different characteristics of a person that the difference is just a huge gray area. Regardless […]

Color of skin has no value

Sura Tewolde Menlo Park, CA I just feel that whether your skin is white, black, yellow, blue, green, whatever! Your skin color should not make you any more important, superior, valuable, desirable, etc. than anyone else. It should not determine whether you will be a doctor or a garbage man. It should not define what […]

My skin color is not white

Jordan Schramm Richmond, VA When I think of white, I think of a simple 8×12 sheet of printer paper. My skin does not resemble that color at all, so why define me in such a way? And when you call someone “black”, they are not the color of a chalk board, you are wrong. Color […]