Tall girl plays piano not basketball.

Dianna Hamden, CT I realize that height isn’t necessarily race, but it’s a preconception that I’ve dealt with my entire life. Yes, I’m over 6 feet tall. No, I don’t play basketball. After years of the same answer, I finally learned to respond: “No, I play piano–there’s less running involved.”


Racism is too weak a word.

Amelinda, New Haven, CT. I am as white as they come… Blonde hair, blue eyes; English, Swedish, Irish, German, French heritage… I grew up in Nebraska, surrounded by the ‘whitest’ people you can imagine. The first ‘black’ person I saw was a professional photographer when I was a toddler, and I was absolutely shocked (I […]


You know why they chose you?

Alan Smith, Angier, NC. This was said to me by an instructor, as an 18-year old US Navy sailor, having just completed submarine training in Groton, CT in 1978. I graduated 14th of 98 in my class, and was presented with an award for excellence by the Eastern Connecticut Council Navy League of the US. […]

Just what do you people eat?

Judith A Harper, Pikesville, MD. Years ago our family integrated a Predominantly Jewish neighborhood in New Haven, Connecticut. I am African-American. While walking our German shepherd, I was approached by an elderly woman who asked if she could ask a ‘personal’ question. It was the question submitted. For a moment, I was speechless, but then […]


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 […]

Michigan, 1970: Where are your horns?

BJ Diamond, West Hartford, CT. Just married, moved from East Coast to Midwest, found a job as an urban planner for the county. First woman in a professional position at the agency. The other women were administrative staff. I was always asked to fill in for them if they were short-handed (e.g., please get the […]

Who Will Your Children Play With

Linda Hunt CT I am in a 40 year bi-racial marriage and very early on when my children were small, my grandmother made the comment above. I said they will play with whoever they wanted as long as they were decent.


Slavery’s legacy broke my family pride.

Katherine E. Byroade, West Hartford, CT. When I was a child, my southern grandmother took great delight in the fact that she was a Jamestown descendant and DAR member and saw her membership in those organizations as part of her legacy to her granddaughters, ensuring our social success. She was matter of fact that the […]


Parents gave me Confederate flag: protection

Steve Morris, Seattle, WA. In the mid-1950s my father made a business trip from our home in Connecticut to Florida and back. He decided to make the trip by car, and to take my mother, my brother, and me along with him for a family travel experience. In the Deep South I witnessed undisguised segregation […]

Always check “White, Non-Hispanic origin” box

Jay Marie Fernandez, Bridgeport, CT. With white skin, being of Hispanic origin, in a household that did not speak Spanish, in a predominantly Spanish speaking neighborhood, this sentiment taught me being Hispanic or Latina was something to be hidden. The kids hated me because I thought I was better than them, proudly pri-claiming “I’m white”…now […]


You’re Dominican? But you’re Black, really.

Juleyka, Oxford, CT. This phrase is often said to me by African Americans and other (usually darker) people from the Caribbean who insist that though I am Dominican/Latina, I am Black in the United States because of its racial history and current xenophobic climate. It’s nullifying in so many respects, and usually leads me to […]


What do you mean “White Latino?”

Andrea Fabiola Vazquez, Ridgefield, CT. I grew up in Ohio, but both of my parents are from Mexico. I speak Spanish, most of my extended family lives in Mexico, and I identify very much as a Mexican American. Still, when people ask me where my family is from—and people as me this a lot—they are […]


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 […]

African Americans are second class citizens

Mary Ann Costanzo, Beacon Falls, CT. Most of us will not admit that we are biased against black, African Americans. We are not intelligent enough to understand that most of our racism is due to ignorance and fear of our society, government, and culture. Instead of targeting the real sources of our problems (government, corporations, […]


You’re not Spanish, you wouldn’t understand.

Sean Patrick Nicholl, Storrs, CT. Heard it plenty of times… I mention that my first name is after my grandfathers; John… y Juan. That stops them for a second. John, Juan, and Sean are all the same name in various languages. A great grandfather of mine adds Jean to the list. They think I’m joking. […]

God made us all His rainbow!

Charity Dell, Groton, CT. The beauty of humanity is in our God-given genetic diversity–in all its infinite variety! The DNA molecule is a miracle of divine engineering; we humans are blessed to have it.

This man has your daughter

Karen Button, Middletown, CT. Phone call from the neighborhood grocer – followed by my husband on the line asking me to come down to the corner store to verify that he was in fact the father of our bi-racial infant daughter since they were used to seeing me with her and were refusing to let […]


Who will love this black girl?

Gabby Mbeki, Boston, MA. In the fall of 1997, I started 6th grade at a day independent school in Connecticut. I grew up in a predominately West Indian neighborhood surrounded by faces like mine, but my father wanted me to have a more rigorous education. I entered the school being one of three students of […]


Race is irrelevant: I’m just HUMAN

Rabab Ahmed, Stamford, CT. “Where are you from?” is a question I used to proudly answer to when I was younger. Although I always had to clarify, “no, it’s not in India. It’s a small country right next to India.” But as I got older I found the question tedious and sometimes puzzling. It wasn’t […]

Don’t Deny Experiences That Aren’t Yours

Bryan Chapman, East Haven, CT. I feel like so often when people of color tell their stories and experiences with racism and injustice some white people are quick to dismiss or deny the validity of those experiences and stories because they themselves have never experienced anything like it.

I’m Proud To Be Irish/Italian American

Sean, CT. I’m not proud to be white, because there’s so many different kinds of white and I’m not proud of my skin color, I’m proud of my culture. Sunday dinners. Seafood. Irish bread. That’s what I identify with, not the color of my skin. And to call me racist for that is complete shi*.

“You’re Hispanic?,” he said. “Prove it!”

Irmie S. Bristol, CT I grew up in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. Both of my parents were from Puerto Rico but were of Spanish ancestry, which caused my fair, freckle-prone skin. I looked so different from so many of my caramel-skinned classmates. So, in Junior High School, when one Puerto Rican boy began teasing all […]

White mother of adopted Bolivian son

Nancy Rawn Storrs, CT I have been so proud of my beautiful boy for all of his 20 years. He struggled with so many high school identity issues but it has been especially painful to watch him struggle with the big question of “Who am I?” in this white community and white family. He has […]


Integration ended my neighborhood’s block party.

Shoshana Hoose Portland, OR I grew up in an all-white neighborhood in Newington, Ct. My mother’s best friend, a Quaker, and her husband sold their home to an African-American family in 1966 as part of an organized effort to integrate the Hartford suburbs. My Dad, a lawyer and state legislator, handled the legal work. When […]

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.

I am Puertorican, my DNA Moroccan.

Alexis Quiles Danbury, CT I migrated from Puerto Rico to the USA in 1998 to improve my career opportunities. As Puertoricans are a mixed race I always wanted to know exactly what was in my DNA. Recently, I submitted a swab for DNA testing and was happy and surprised to find out that my main […]

Bland identity. Culturally disappointing. Plain white.

Dianna Pategas Sandy Hook, CT I’ve always felt a strange longing for more cultural identity. My family doesn’t have strong traditions or ties to any particular heritage which has left me with a certain emptiness. I marvel at people who have strong racial and cultural identities. I think this is why I have an appreciation […]

Evolve beyond one’s name; embrace Justice.

John Charles Taney IV Stamford, CT I am a descendant of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (pronounced Taw-nee), author of one of the most universally denounced US Supreme Court cases in history, the Dredd Scott decision. He was also the first Catholic to ever serve on the Court, but whatever good he did was overshadowed […]

Invisible white mother feels demographic betrayal

Amy Chai New Haven, CT I am “white.” I am not European-American, I do not have permission to honor my heritage with a hyphen. I am simply a member of the melanin challenged group that bears collective blame for something that some British, African, and Arab people did a few hundred years ago. It doesn’t […]

Excruciating childhood. Beaten, tormented. Why? Jewish.

Beth A New Haven, CT My worst experience was in graduate school when an educated adult from a wealthy Connecticut town said “Oh, so THAT’s what a Jew looks like.” My response was “No. That’s what THIS Jew looks like.” Racism is not just about skin color. I have always embraced diversity and have a […]

White, straight, male. New favorite target.

Chad Lariviere Crystal Lake, CT Dr. King spoke about his dream that one day, his children would live in a nation where they wouldn’t be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I pray for a time when people do not perpetuate stereotypes by their emulation of the […]

What does skin color actually mean

Gregory M. Foster Sr. Hamden, CT I served in the military with many different races. they were my friends my brothers in arms and my companions in times of despair I never felt they were anything less then another human being!

Unfair Affirmative Action quotas must stop.

Susan Whitemore, Hartford, CT. Most qualified white passed over due to unfair Affirmative Action quotas. AA is unfair to all whites applying for higher education and employment. Let us concentrate on CONTENT OF PROVEN ABILITY which is truly fair and not color.

Mr. Joe White Avenue, Black honored.

Babara Sloan Wallingford, CT In Myrtle Beach, SC, Mr. Joe White was a local black man who washed windows of many stores, including that of my father. Town borders put all African-American homes outside the city limits. I remember Mr. White on his adult tricycle. There was no high school for Black teens. Most Blacks […]

Most White People Are Not Racists

Glenn Schwitter Simsbury, CT I live in CT, am socially more liberal and financially more conservative, and I do not know any white people who are overtly racist. That would be zero, nada, none. I have also rarely/never seen a problem solved by others. All progress is made by you. The world may not be […]

I’m a German Russian Nazi Jew.

Rachel Stahr Bozrah, CT This is my heritage. My maternal grandfather and father are both Pennsylvania Dutch, but my great-grandmother is where things get interesting. Her family emigrated from Russia and was Jewish. She studied German and later moved there. She married a man who I’ve been told was in the S.S. Before things got […]

Black. Cuban. Both. Are you sure?

Guinevere Thomas New Haven, CT So many times I often get the “what are you mixed with?” question. Like any Black person from the Americas, I am well aware I have European, and Indigenous roots, but my roots are the most deeply rooted from Africa. Growing up in a Cuban home, I shared my culture […]

Disappointed to find no African DNA.

Kathleen Wieland Norwich, CT I’m a 6th generation New Orleanian & a genealogist. My natural-blonde sister & I had always hoped to find something “interesting” in the family tree to explain her incredible tan – as well as some very dark complexions & hair in one of our “purebred German” lines. I got very excited […]

White couple adopts four brown Brazilians.

James F. New Haven, CT A few years ago we adopted four beautiful children from Brazil. Their skin is darker than ours. We also have a biological child who, obviously, looks a little more like us. We love our little multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual family. It’s a beautiful thing!

Tomorrow’s prejudice is class, not race.

Nate Pickett Kensington, CT If I see a group of rowdy teens in large fitted hats, Ed Hardy sweatshirts, and baggy jeans, I get a little uncomfortable, regardless if they are black, white, Hispanic, etc. If I see a group of well groomed men and women in suits carrying briefcases/laptop bags, again, regardless of race, […]

Jewish: No longer a race. Right?

Jessamyn CT My parent’s generation lost relatives in Europe for being part of the “Jewish race.” In America, they dealt with antisemitism and quotas until one day, they were suddenly “white.” Now American Muslims feel the lash of religious discrimination. And yet … even as we think antisemitism is over, someone bombs a synagogue in […]