David Chen, New York, NY. I grew up in China listening to artists like 50 cent, Tupac, Snoop dogg (lion), and Jay-Z. I have every one of Jay-Z’s songs memorized and for a Chinese kid, that wasn’t easy. For as long as I can remember, I was fascinated by African American (is this the politically […]
Anaisa Sanchez, Riverside, CA. Ever since I was a little girl, my mom made sure I knew about all the Mexican Traditions within our culture. Of course growing up Mexican you always listen to everything your respectful elders comment on. However, as I’ve gotten older, I question everything that crosses my path. For example, there […]
Jennifer Campbell, Chaska, MN. Growing up in suburban Minneapolis I never had to talk about my skin color or rarely meet others of a different color. As an adult I am a special education teacher who works in a suburban school. I’ve been on a journey trying to be more aware of diversity. I joined […]
Michael Greene, Philadelphia, PA. Kudos to Ms, Norris for bringing the kindling for when it comes to race there have been, are, and will be fires figurative and literally of every imaginable combustion. Growing up I watched and was part of the Civil Rights Movement from the first time I was stopped and frisked by […]
Robert San Francisco, CA Fear of outsiders is not the same as hate for outsiders. Urban cultural stereotypes popularized and promoted by the very individuals in that culture have played an important role I creating fear. It’s not the reason but it is irresponsible of us not to talk about it.
Sun Absy, Omaha, NE. My family is incredibly diverse, racially, culturally and religiously. I feel fortunate to have spent a life within environments where peoples’ superficial traits aren’t the focus. An aspect of overcoming racism and prejudices is learning to let go of categories and labels and to stop (whomever you are and whatever group […]
Amanda Bajema, Riverside, CA. When my great grandparents immigrated to America from the Netherlands after World War II they put in their best effort to become a part of American culture, which in turn meant loosing their own. Growing up my mother and her siblings were growing up they were not to learn Dutch, to […]
Shannon Harris, Ashland, OR. We need to open up the idea of what it means to be “American.” American is all of us and all of the different ways that we experience this country.
Sandy Mayer, Los Angeles, CA. I was surprised that our daughter’s Guatemalan foster family lovingly called her Chinita but understand that this is accepted in some Latino cultures. Growing up in a bi-cultural household, my sisters and I were called “cosas de la vida” by my Mexican mother. My husband and I are determined to […]
Stephanie USA I have visited the countries of my ancestors and I may have similar features, but that is where the similarities end. Americans have a unique, rich, and varied culture that I am proud to be from this country. I am American, pure and simple.
Reynolds Tenazas-Norman New York City, NY Brooklyn I realized that art was a major part of the political story and it was uplifting.
Julian D., Las Cruces, NM. Thug and Welfare culture is NOT what your ancestors and forefathers fought and died for! The Rev. M.L. King, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, etc. are all turning over in their graves over how much Black America has degenerated. Time to get it together, men and women. Don’t let their efforts […]
Amber Nicole Gutierrez, Hemet, CA. Everyone grew up with a different life-style, just because I look of Mexican decent does not mean I am the same as every Mexican stereotype. I am an American and have grew up in the middle of both worlds of “American” and “Mexican”. I understand Spanish and speak some. I […]
Abigail Finn Singer, New York City, NY. Being white, I feel uncultured. There is nothing special about where I’m from. My great-grandparents were immigrants, from a place they weren’t really from. They came from Poland, but don’t qualify as Polish. I have nothing behind me. Not a custom, not a community. I feel like I’m […]
Fleetwood Wilson, Seattle, WA.
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 […]
Desiree’ Parker, Sacramento, CA. In a room full of black people I am comfortable, in a room full of white people I am comfortable, in a room full of mixed races I am comfortable. I act “black”, but I have no reason to hate them just as they have no reason to hate me. We […]
Mara Sobotka, Seattle, WA. It is true, and my heart is irreparably broken.
Yzolde Chepokas, Eden Prairie, MN. Going through this process of learning about race, racism, culture, multiculturalism, diversity, and so on, I have come to the conclusion that being aware of the world outside of my own world is only the beginning of this journey of supporting social justice. As this change occurs within myself it […]
Gabrielle Ientile, Spring Lake, NJ. Monmouth University Sometimes I hear people say that white people don’t have a culture. Then what am I? Where do my traditions and lifestyle fit in? What are the consequences of an “absent” culture?
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 […]
Emily, Perris, CA. I have NEVER been so proud to be a Filipino-American. My culture is my everything and I would not trade it for the world. Being the handful of Asians at my school makes me even more unique. I want to promote diversity, I want people to be okay with the color of […]
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, […]
Tamara Oneida, KY I don’t think that white Americans should have to apologize for being in the majority in this particular country, nor should they feel bad for having their own unique culture. I think people should just live their lives and quit worrying about whether the majority approves.
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 […]
William O’Lynnger Deep River, CT As the world culture swirls together, the flavors are lost.
Desiree Carlson, Elmhurst, IL. Both my mother and I grew up in white culture even though we are both from ‘Hispanic’ descent. But because we do not look white, we weren’t accepted into that culture even though we were raised in it. The same vice versa. We were born Latina, but we weren’t raised in […]
Carissa Lew, CA. Being born in America but having my heritage from China leads me to believe I should choose one or the other. Many people question me about how “connected” I am to my heritage, but truth be told..I’m not very in tune with my Chinese culture. It’s difficult to discern who I really […]
Tina Bradford, Chino Hills, CA. Being raised in a home where “White is Right,” I only had one thing I could do. So I went on my own path of development. Creating myself into the black sheep of the family. Why would I do such a thing? So my children could learn we do not […]
Rebekah Epling, Ripley, WV. Appalachian people are treated in this country as second-class citizens. It is perfectly acceptable for mainstream media to characterize Appalachian people in ways that would incite outrage and not be published were it about another minority group. Just because the majority of Appalachian people are white, does not mean it is […]
Angie Cruz, Los Angeles, CA. As a person of brown skin color and Latin heritage, I am often spoken to in Spanish by strangers with the assumption that I only speak that language. It can often be demeaning when people assume that because I have a culture different than the “majority”, I am automatically categorized […]
Erin, MN. Racism isn’t in our curriculum, it’s not a lesson taught by chalkboards and worksheets. However it is learned. Yes, in school but also at home. It is taught through culture, through actions. This problem cannot be solved by a student’s eraser or a teacher’s pen.
Misbah Ahmed Submitted via Twitter: @misbabaa #theracecardproject
Chevelloni El, Newark, DE. My daughter attends a multicultural festival at her school each year where students share their experiences, cultures and history. She wants to tell about our history an cultures but I would be embarrassed to set up a table that says that we are African Americans- Africa is a whole darn continent. […]
William Lee Posey, Jr. San Diego, CA DNA test indicates I am 13% Sub-Saharan African which is the same DNA of African Americans. Since my heritage is from the Southeast United States, this should not be surprising. Some people, both black and white do not want to believe or accept that a white person raised […]
Robert Falcon Birmingham, AL Grew up in Birmingham in the 1960’s. My father never gave me cause to judge anyone else because of skin color. He always emphasized that it was the content of their character that really mattered. When I turned 16 one of my good friends introduced me to his family, his neighborhood, […]
Margaret Hayes, Bartow, FL. I am mostly White on my mother’s side. Her family is all Southern. I do not look anything like them nor was I raised in the South so I don’t always think or act like they do. I am Native American on my father’s side. I definitely look much more like […]
Lezlie Graebel, Mount Shasta, CA. Science has showed us that our origins are from Africa. With the exception of those in Europe who have the distinction to carry some Neanderthal genes. The gene for light skin has also been traced to a relatively recent mutation. What divides us,; what unifies us; what protects us is […]
George Nalbandian, San Francisco, CA. I look like a typical white boy, but my culture and family traditions are nothing like that of a white male/ or an American. My ethnicity is Armenian, and my skin tone is pale, but there are a lot of darker skinned Armenians too. A lot of us look Middle […]
Joshua Cruz, Salt Lake City, UT. As a Hispanic growing up in Utah, I have lived in multiple cities, each different than the other. From cities where the Hispanic culture is massive, to where I have become the only colored family in the neighborhood. With multiple occasions filled with accusations such as have you asked […]
Marlo Torres, Riverside, CA. I am Puerto Rican and I have always grown up with the question of; You’re Hispanic, why don’t you speak Spanish? At first it was always something that I just laughed off and my usual response was I don’t know or my parents never taught me. As I grew older and […]
Cassandra Coats, El Cajon, CA. I grew up in a very multi-cultural school where being white was the minority. I was never teased for it, but I felt like I was missing out. I spent most of my childhood wishing I could be Asian, or Native American, or speak Spanish, etc. Sure, I have red […]
Kabao Lee, Sacramento, CA. I am Hmong and I am proud. I think it pretty much explains itself, but there are many people I know growing up who do not embrace their culture, needless to say I am proud of being Hmong. Even though many people do not know about the Hmong people, I am […]
Hunter, Birmingham, AL. What does race mean to me? When I think of race I don’t think about skin color. I think about culture, religion, and values. Today many people do not understand what it means to have a specific culture. Even though we seem to make claims about it every day. Truth of the […]
Marvin Hardy, Ferguson, MO. Born in and raised in Saint Louis, it’s amazing how much an African-American male has to give to make a success of himself. From a early age in the 80’s, I was told never to travel alone south of Interstate 64. This was the barrier that separated predominantly poor AA’s from […]
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 […]
Karen Dahn, Athens, OH. I went to Liberia as a Peace Corps Volunteer right out of college in the late 60’s, after having grown up in Montana and gone to school in Colorado with very little exposure to non white people. Being in Africa was a life changing experience. I did not intend to do […]
Shagun Doshi, Naperville, IL. Coming from a predominately rich, white suburb, and not being rich and white has been an interesting experience. While there is a lot more diversity within my community compared to many others, there is still a lot of hostility. The divide between white and every other race is very prevalent; as […]
Kristina T., Oklahoma City, OK. I’m half Native American and half Mexican. I have 3 tribes’ blood that runs through my veins along with Mexican blood. Most people consider and see me as one or the other. I speak and know my Mexican culture, but when it comes to my Native culture, I’m completely lost. […]
Mariah Frisk, Morris, MN. Being from a small town in northern Minnesota, I haven’t been exposed to much culture in my day. My sophomore year of high school, I took a trip to New Orleans with my church for the 2012 National Youth Gathering. We were there to help the community recover from Hurricane Katrina. […]
Anonymous, St. Louis, MO. I truly believe that for me, the down sides of being black would be worth a full sense of acceptance into the beautiful culture of hip-hop and rap that I identify with at the soul level. I’m hated for that and I understand why.
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 […]
Angelyce Serrano, Coram, NY. My whole life people has seen me as “that black girl”. That is not the case. I am Puerto Rican, Black-American, Taino, and Spaniard. Yet, for whatever reason my whole cultural background is ignored and I am just labeled as black. Going to Catholic School from 4years old to 18years old […]
Jennifer Leyla Rincones, Detroit, MI. A Latina with a vision to help advocate for all brown and black youth who endure the injustices of the criminal justice system.
David Brady, Portland, OR. Travel to see new cultures and experiences? I do. But, we can experience the richness of culture here if we look past appearance. Listen, let others’ stories speak.
Heather Melberg, Renton, WA. I am born and raised in Seattle. Lived in Japan my junior year of high school. Fascinated with all races and cultures and our stories of now and the past.
Georgianna Wong, Topeka, KS. When my son, George Wong was playing baseball, I had a woman tell me how handsome my son was and then asked, “How long have you had him?” It always hurt me when people would think I adopted him even though my last name was Wong. Then I had a good […]
Laura Leon, Riverside, CA. My father was full Puerto Rican and very proud of it. He always taught us to be proud of our culture, especially me because I am “whiter” than my sisters. Over the years I’ve been accused of lying about my culture due to my fair skin, a concept I never understood. […]
Emily, San Francisco, CA. I love how there are so many different cultures, and I want for people to keep celebrating their cultures. However, when it comes to deciding who has it harder or who is to blame for present issues, I think that we should focus not on how we differ, but how we […]
Arleigh Worstell, Ceres, CA. I come from a long line of hispanic women who married white men (myself included). Through the generations, even while some of us get lighter, we haven’t lost the culture we were raised with.
Tamara G. Cincinnati, OH When thinking of which six words I would use for The Race Card Project I had to ponder for a bit. I automatically thought of the fact that I am Jewish. Being so, I often get questioned about what holidays I celebrate or why we do certain things. Going to BGSU […]
REPOST: AtlanticLIVE online – May 20, 2015 Atlantic national correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates and NPR host and special correspondent Michele Norris have a conversation about Norris’s Race Card Project, Coates’s noteworthy Atlantic cover story, “The Case for Reparations,” and how the conversation about race has evolved in the past year. See more from New York Ideas 2015: […]
REPOST Lannan.org April 15, 2015, Ta-Nehisi Coates, writer, journalist, and educator, is also a senior editor for The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. His recent piece titled The Case for Reparations intricately and provocatively traces the history of racism in the United States from slavery to recent examples of housing discrimination. The […]
Delaney Rodarte, Prescott, AZ. When I was much younger I was darker skinned and people saw me as Mexican, but now in my later years, especially since I have gone to public school, people see what is now pale skin and refuse to accept me or admit that I am native american and men won’t […]
Erin Miller, New Berlin, WI. No one has ever asked what country I’m from. It’s assumed I belong in the United States. Although I have various European countries in my background, Germany, Sweden, Norway, I have never had to be aware of them anymore than I have had to be aware of the air I […]
Lorna Seidel-Owen, Outside USA. My mother is from Mexico. She married my father in 1959 and came to live in the United States. The plan was for my dad to eventually work and live in Mexico. She never planned on staying here for the rest of her life. Although she never planned on staying here, […]
L. A. Elliott, Rockwall, TX. Submission collected from Pro Publica: Segregation Now Series Every person has a story, a culture, a past and especially a future. If you ignore person’s race in an attempt to be colorblind and inclusive, you’re actually taking away their story, their culture, their past and especially their future. Instead, build […]
Kelly Cutler, Portland, OR. Our beliefs play a powerful role in the discussion of race, especially in the world of education. In my view, the system of education suffers from a “believe gap” related to students of color, rather than students of coloring having an “achievement gap”. When are we going to unpack our believes […]
Brittany Carney, Washington, DC. As a person that is three quarters African American and one quarter Japanese, I feel that culturally I’m the other away around.
Andrew Beer, Philadelphia, PA. As a white male, I am lumped together with the rest of white America, but white isn’t a culture. My family came to the U.S from the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs before WWII from Dubrovnik, but no one seems to even think that I’m not a descendant of the […]
Alex Liu, Columbia, MD. Culture, inmigration patterns, history – it’s all very nuanced. Confucius did boil down the success formula though…what do ya’ll think?
Jennessa Cairo, Los Angeles, CA. I believe it’s important to know who we are, and to learn and respect our cultures all over the globe. But growing up I never saw race, I just saw people as equals. Sometimes I just don’t understand why is matters to people.
Lucie C., San Antonio, TX. I was born in Texas just this side of the river. I’ve lived in Texas all my life although I’ve traveled a lot. One day while traveling through the Texas Hill Country, a gentleman, perhaps Pakistani perhaps Indian (I know NOT to call person either because I might be off […]
Raquela Petre, San Francisco, CA. I am half Filipino and half Swedish, Swiss, and German. However I was born in Hawaii and grew up around second- and third-generation Japanese friends. I decidedly learned Japanese in school and studied there for a year, yet I know close to no Tagalog. I also studied in England, where […]
James Scott, Upland, CA. White people have done more for people not like us than all the rest of humanity combined. Arabs, Jews, and other blacks enslaved blacks for thousands of years. Whites for 200 before we ended the African slave trade. Stone age people were displaced all over the world. For the most part […]
Leah Pepion, Kaysville, UT. Slowly, generation by generation my Blackfeet culture is being lost, stolen, given up, handed over. Will the Native American culture be buried beneath the earth, beneath the rivers, lost in the sea of suburbs and tv? Can I fill my bones, skin and body up with enough of my delicate culture […]
Sarah Diggins, Berlin, MA. I’m almost entirely Irish by heritage (my dad’s side is 100%), but I never really clicked with the culture. I grew up loving Celtic music, looking at gorgeous landscapes of the Irish countryside, and hearing stories about my Irish cousins and ancestors from my grandparents. But when I went to live […]
Pamela Russell Bejerano, Portland, OR. As a white girl growing up, I always felt I had no culture. As an adult, I realized that what I was seeking was a racial identity. But I am discovering daily that this racial identity is not just Scottish and Norwegian, but part of a society that unfairly awards […]
Ryan, Arlington, VA. Like many first generation Americans who have tried to “blend” to American culture so deeply, it’s hard to know what your racial identity is when it seems you’re a stranger in both cultures…
Angelina A., Allentown, PA. I myself always get asked about questions about my racial and ethnic background and it never has bothered me. I usually always say I am half Dominican and half Chilean, then I go on to explaining that my dad is from Chile and my mom is from The Dominican Republic. Although […]
Keville Bowen, Chester, PA. I’m a Black man of three countries. Born in Trinidad, moved Canada and ended in America. Though I have little memory of Trinidad, my recollection of Canada and America are vastly different. I was only know as a Trini in Toronto and as I gained friends, I referred to them as […]
Kevin Stordahl, Seattle, WA. Every time I fill out important documents they ask for my “race” and every single time they do I wonder a couple things; one, why do they need to know that? And two, where is my category? I have never considered myself one race or another. I have always just felt […]
Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Denver, CO. Being light skinned and Mexican has been the hardest thing to navigate in life. A dark skinned mother and an Anglo father gave birth to a light skin mestiza.
Eliana Rodriguez, Winston Salem, NC. I hate the feeling of rejection from the Caucasians I grew up with and the Hispanics that come from my culture. Ive always felt alienated from the white students in my schools but it hurt even more to find out that people from my own culture didn’t accept me cause […]
Tara Conforto Sharon, MA I was adopted when I was less than 3 months old and raised in a non-diverse area of NJ. People have always made assumptions about me based on my Asian appearance, such as saying that I’m so respectful because Asian children are taught to respect their elders, asking me for Asian […]
Rose Collins, Syracuse, NY. Highschool Student ’16 I believe that if we don’t appreciate our differences or acknowledge the fact that we are all different, then we will repeat the prejudice and pain we’ve seen in our past. We all have different stories and cultures, and if we don’t acknowledge that then we will be […]
Jenna, USA. Every culture or race seems to have this deep inter connection with their skin color and culture and heritage. People seem to embrace their ‘uniqueness’ and take pride of where they are from and who they are. I am white. I am proud to be white. But why do those words sound so […]
Brianne Hittenberger, USA. It is the end of me, and I of it. My German last name belongs to me, my disabled brother, and my female second-cousin. My brother and I do not necessarily expect that we will marry, or that our cousin will keep our name if she does. When my brother and I […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
David H Willis Jr., Lansing, MI. Culture is the collective shared belief system for a group of people. Different cultures can respect, value and grow by sharing. Racism occurs when this breaks down.
Damola Adebayo, Chicago, IL. It’s unfortunate how frequently the term “ghetto” is used so flippantly to describe undesirable, often “characteristically” African-American, aspects of culture. Makes me cringe every time I hear it.
Elizabeth Las Vegas, NV Because I have white skin, people automatically strip me of any heritage I have. Please don’t mistake “white” as the absence of culture. My family have lived through many wars, prejudices, struggles, and also victories.
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 […]
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. […]
Destiny Baker Raeford, NC The only thing that defines how you are as a person is you, not your past, culture, and especially not race.
Lea Houston, TX Be aware of what is happening not just in your inner bubble but in the world. Know your rights. Know your culture. Know your voice.
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 […]
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 […]