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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 […]

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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 […]

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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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, […]