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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 […]

White. Wish I had a culture.

Jan Spooner, Tucson, AZ. As a white American, I don’t have a strong feeling of culture. My African American, Jewish, Native American and Hispanic friends can all talk about a strong cultural background. Their stories reflect their heritage and what it means to belong to their ethnic group. What is my culture and what are […]

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Seen It With My Own Eyes

Elizabeth Swenson, Hacienda Heights, CA. I went to school in NC were it was predominately black & white in2006. My husband and the majority of my friends are Hispanic or Spanish descent. I never really though racism exist coming from LA, CA were its divers. But here I saw people say nasty things, dirty looks, […]

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Black? White? Where are my Hispanics?

Janice Mendoza, East Lansing, MI. I moved to Michigan from Southern California in middle school. I was very shocked to find out that there were not many Latinos in my new area. I felt very out of place. I am current student at Michigan State. I loved the idea of diversity when I got accepted […]

Likes to be asked about surname

Katherine, East Lansing, MI. My last name is very unique. It is a Croatian last name and my mother’s maiden name is Croatian as well. Whenever people ask me about it, it makes me happy because no matter how many times it is misspelled or mispronounced I realize that those aren’t things that matter. My […]

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Race does not exists, culture does

Cheri’ Chambers China Race is a classification system based on physical traits, such as skin color, made up in an attempt to claim superiority. We are all members of the same species whose genetic material is over 99% the same. Each group of us living in different parts of the world, exposed to different environmental […]

I struggle with appreciation and appropriation.

Alec Marchant Ashland, OR As a white male who finds much inspiration, pleasure and interest in cultures other than my own, I sometimes worry if I muddy the lines between appreciation and appropriation. Through my studying and relationships with these other cultures, I know I have been guilty of appropriation on at least one occasion. […]

Native Americans swept dead under rug.

April & Bill Ledford Carrboro, NC Native Americans and their contributions to US history, heritage, music, culture, food, customs — along with the often ignored, horrible American Holocaust — are still swept under the rug on a continuous basis in the media, history books, and everyday American society. The fact we have an NFL team […]

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African american boys like my booty

Wendy Stokesbary Cedar Rapids, IA I went to middle school with lots of African american students and noticed the boys seemed to admire my curvy figure- I was flattered, not frightened, because no one ever tried to hurt me. I grew up with a curiosity and respect for diversity, and partly because of my professional […]

Being white doesn’t mean can’t understand

Tim Fall El Macero, CA I refuse to believe that complete understanding is barred because of the color of a person’s skin. There may be other factors that interfere – culture, economics, religion – but not the amount of melanin in one’s epidermis. Being in a mixed race family and raising children who are navigating […]

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 […]

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Are both your parents from Cuba?

Barbara Rodriguez, Florence, SC. Yes, they both are Cuban. The look of shock never ceases to amaze me. Is it because I’m blonde and have green eyes…yes! Is it because of where I live…yes! Growing up in New York, everyone I knew could tell me about their heritage. My neighborhood was a perfect melting pot […]

White American: No Culture or Identity

Lance Remington Stuart Rood Redlands, CA Sometimes I feel like I have no identity. White american? what is that? Irish? German? Dutch? Danish? I want to be able to identify with those around me. I love learning about people. Their heritage, traditions and culture. By knowing someones race or races I can then proceed to […]

Usually not racism. Instead, cultures clashing.

Susan A. Chicago, IL Stereotypes that are now labeled as racist, actually have nothing to do with race. Actually, it is cultural difference which causes problems. Culture is what forms differences in values, ways of speaking, ways of dressing, whether people talk in loud voices or quiet voices, what people eat, what their cooking smells […]

Black Latina not AfricanAmerican, neither Latina

Diama Gabriel Miami, FL I’m in between waters. I’m not African American for the black Americans, and I’m not a Latina for the Latino community. I’m a proud black Puertorrican woman who moved to USA 13 years ago. Upon my arrival to the States, I lived in a mainly African American community in Miami but […]

Enough to make you look pretty

Adrienne Zimiga Minneapolis, MN I was born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation my first 12 years. Upon moving from Batesland, SD to Castlewood, SD my caucasian grandmother was concerned that my brothers, sister, and I could face social problems being part Native American (iyeska: mixed blood/race) in an all white community. She told […]

Ex-military, don’t understand my country’s culture.

Alan Hill Minneapolis, MN Why don’t veterans speak of their experience? Because of the culture barriers to understanding. Military veterans don’t yet understand (as a population) that they have a different culture than their country, a separate, distinct, yet invisible, identity. The worst part is they are disconnected from it and therefore unable to express […]

Cultural Competence: code word for racism

Darcel Reyes Yonkers, NY I am a nurse and the concept of cultural competence is taught in nursing school and addressed in mandatory inservices in healthcare organizations. I am now a doctoral student and find that the topic is being researched to death. But white cultures get a pass on cultural competence. We only have […]

Cascade Engineering

Cascade Engineering Race Card Project

Published on May 16, 2012 by Mercedes Barragan Inspired by Michele Norris, some very ambitious employees at Cascade Engineering wanted to know how its employees felt about race. We created race cards similar to the ones Norris uses and passed them out to employees at Cascade Engineering. Over 100 employees expressed their personal feelings around race […]

Inescapable mulatto nature of American culture

Submitted via Twitter: @zerode San Francisco, CA A quote from jazz critic Albert Murray. More about Albert Murray: Taken from http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/murray-albert-1916 Albert Murray, an African American novelist, jazz critic, professor, and essayist, was born in Nokomis, Alabama on May 12, 1916. His birth parents were Sudie Graham and John Young but he was adopted by […]

In a bubble, then it popped.

Emily Laske Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I lived in a small city that was 94% white, with minimal exposure to the concepts of race and racism. Coming to the University of Michigan was an extreme sort of diversity culture shock for me, and through my courses I have gained knowledge […]

Color blind is forever culture blind

Katherine Liu Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I dislike it when people say that they don’t pay attention to the color of one’s skin, or they’re essentially “color-blind”. There should be no PREJUDICE or DISCRIMINATION toward anyone on the basis of their skin tone, but race creates cultures that have their […]

Race is a most powerful lie

Matthew Duris Fresno, CA Race has no basis in biology I hope it’s OK that I did a number of them, each one encapsulates a bite-sized chunk of the construct of the human mind that is race. Much like other constructs of the human mind, such as time and money, race both mesmerizes and beguiles […]

Race regardless, you still have culture

Jasmine Elizabeth Smith Oklahoma City, OK “But I’m White. I don’t have a culture I identify with.” I often hear this rueful phrase during discussions about multiculturalism with my non African American friends. I think Americans need to redefine the meaning of the word ‘culture’. Culture does not refer to ethnicity or nationality, but should […]