Tina C. Ozturk, Washington, DC. You can’t imagine how many times people of all races exclaim my daughters cuteness while questioning my motherhood. I try not to take it personally, but I do find it rude and disrespectful to risk hurting a parent’s feelings just because you are curious. What’s the point?
Jack Montgomery, Washington, DC. My husband and I got married and adopted three beautiful children on the same day last summer. Happy times! I have learned more since these kids have arrived than I ever new possible. A same-sex parent family with trans racial kids draws a lot of attention both in the big city [...]
Christina H. Washinton, DC Too often this summer (2014), I’ve felt like we’re reliving the events and emotions of ’65, ’68, and ’69. I cannot believe we still have to protest the killings of unarmed black people. Progress on race? Some days it feels like this nation has just been running in place.
Ezra Rosser Washington, DC Biligaana is a Navajo/Dine word that means “white, other, or the enemy.” I grew up in part on the Navajo Nation where my non-Indian parents worked and where my father still lives.
Tracy Hart Washington, DC Yes, I’m from a tobacco-pickin, Southern white trash family, and I mean that in the most endearing way. Some stereotypes my family breaks: we were Southern but poor sharecroppers rather than slave-owners. Other stereotypes my family embraces: using discriminatory language in equal measure across all those who are not white Southerners. [...]
Lynda Tredway Washington, DC I have about 10,000 words to say about race in America, how we are all affected by it every day — in individual and structural ways. I sometimes remember Cornell West’s words: We are all on the Henrietta Marie (the slave ship sunk off the coast of Florida). We are all [...]
Bassey Etim-Edet Washington, DC No, my name is NOT unique or interesting. You’re world is just very small.
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 [...]
David Smith Washington, DC Racism works both ways.
Keosha Varela Washington, DC
David C. Ruffin Washington, DC I participated in the March on Washington in 1963. I was 18 and home on leave from the Air Force. My most enduring memory of the March was a conversation I had with an older man on the train ride from Pittsburgh to Washington the night before. He told me [...]
Janet Jimenez Washington, DC Puertorriqueño(a) is the “proper” term used to address a native islander from Puerto Rico. Do not confuse with Newyoricans, or anyone else born outside the island to Puertorriqueño parents. A real Puertorriqueño(a) knows the words to “La Borinqueña”, speaks Spanish (FLUENTLY), has lived on the island, and cries to the words [...]
Tracy Harris Washington, DC
Cheryl Head Washington, DC President Barack Obama has too much grace or perhaps it is too much political presence to play the race card. So, I’m going to play it for him and raise the ante. From the “you lie” shout during the State of the Union Address to the terrible debacle of legislative gridlock, [...]
Glennette Clark Washington DC Integration did a great disservice to black people in that we thought that we achieved a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Teachers stopped caring about students and students stopped caring about achieving. Instead, we became “affirmative action’ed” because we lowered our expectations of ourselves along with everyone else. [...]
Edward Darden Washington, DC Every American black person, who succeeds is and was self-educated to a great extent, at least in the beginning. When children are young, the chains around their minds and bodies are able to be broken with a Will to reach farther than what is in front of them. In this way, [...]
Reginald A. Taylor North Bethesda, MD
Tanya Hutchins Washington, DC
Gaby Segalla Washington, DC Most people see me and assume I’m Chinese. As an adopted Asian girl most people think “Oh that girl is probably Chinese.” I don’t take offense to that mostly because I have become used to being asked I’m Chinese. I’ve gotten used to people asking me where I am from and [...]
Miguel Ferrer Washington, DC
Josh Van De Riet Washington, DC
Adam Conner Washington, DC My sister and I are both adopted from South Korea. Our parents are white. One of my memories from childhood is being at the grocery store and constantly having people ask my mom “Are they yours?” point to my sister and me. I remember one time someone then adding “Are you [...]
Kelli Fallon Washington, DC
Josie Villanueva Washington, DC “… pick our melons on my Daddy’s farm.” she said to me, with wide eyes, on one of the first days at Hoosier Girls State. I was one of the very few Latinas in the program, a delegate chosen for my academic excellence and leadership at my high school. I think [...]
Isabel “Scottie” Dalsimer Alexandria, VA It was a bright and sunny day in August 1963. I was 25 years old and just back from a two year assignment in West Africa. My household effects were arriving at my Washington apartment that afternoon, but I had time to go to the March on Washington beforehand. I [...]
Diane Tepfer Washington, DC
John White Washington, DC
Sadaf Qureshi Washington, DC Weekends in the United States make worship on the holy days of Christianity and Judaism convenient. The holy day for Muslims is Friday, a regular working day. In some ways, this reflects the way in which the architecture of a society is built around considerations for those in the mainstream or [...]
Tawana Littlejohn Washington, DC We were welcomed with mostly open arms, the year was 1967.
Eileen Wasow Washington, DC
Jevon Heyliger Washington, DC My son is 2 years old and I refuse to believe he’ll grow up on a world full of George Zimmermans. I refuse to believe that being a black male will be an albatross around his neck. I have to believe this. His generation has to be better than us.
LSSteph Washington, DC I’m a white woman, ever since I read this article back in college by a black man discussing his revelation that he always instinctively looks down or away when encountering a white women because he didn’t want her to be afraid of him and how he no longer does that, I say [...]
Ethan Pickering Washington, DC …a drink. Because he stumbled into the bar hammered. But he was Salvadoran and I am white. Nevermind that I was speaking to him in Spanish (NOT my first language). Nevermind that I was conversing with other Spanish speakers who were drinking–some who were drunk–at the bar. Nevermind that nobody else [...]
Peter Gwynn Washington, DC Police and everybody else, despite any amount of training and good intentions, are still just people and will be influenced by patterns around them. I live in northeast Washington, DC. I don’t know how likely it is that I or a member of my family will be beaten, robbed, killed or [...]
G. Thompson Washington, DC From the historical raping and pillaging of peaceful countries to still being the #1 profile of serial killers and perpetrators of school shootings, there remains one group worthy of fearing.
Patty Reed Greenville, SC Where do they go from here? The only answer that could have brought peace is Guilty. Justice may have been served, but justice doesn’t bring peace. Justice only brings justice. It doesn’t seem to matter what the verdict was, they’ll never have a life again; there is no “returning to our [...]
Lisa Craig Washington, DC It’s a bit complicated. My father’s family consists of Scottish, Swedish, French, German, English, Mexican, and two different Native American tribes. My mother’s family consists of French-Canadian, English, Inquit (Alaskan Native Americans), and some other ethnicities that I am not aware of (I am not close to them). All of my [...]
Tiffanie Luckett Washington, DC I have had men and women approach me on public transit, in the streets of Washington, in restaurants and grocery checkouts, in nearly every domain of my life, and touch my hair without my consent. As a black woman with long curly hair, I feel like somehow people think my hair [...]
Karen Hill Washington, DC Those words were spoken by the first boy I ever had a crush on. I was 12 and had asked my best friend to find out if he liked me. She called him and while I listened in on the other line asked what he thought. He hesitated and then with [...]
Marianne Scott Washington, DC At least strangers no longer blurt out “no, you aren’t black,” as they did for years. My skin is lighter than most whites and quite freckled. My curls are “good” – large ringlets. Instead, people reveal their own stereotypes when they tell me I don’t talk black. As if there was [...]
S. Keita Washington, DC Freedom to choose was never offered.
Ana Mendelson USA No, I’m not joking. Some other questions I have been asked about my older sister: “Where is she from? Africa?” No, DC. “Is she Jewish?” Well, we adopted her when she was 11, so no. “When did you find out she was adopted?” Um…I guess I just always knew…
Stephanie Diane Scott-Melnyk Washington, DC My father is a light-skinned black man. My mother is an extremely fair white woman. For at least the 40 years I can remember, I have felt required to fight for the recognition of my black heritage. My race card is a statement made to me at least once a [...]
Diana Veiga Washington, DC This weekend I was at an event with a roomful of black women. There was this one lady who stood out because she looked “white”, but then she opened her mouth and she sounded “black.”. And then her mother stood up and she was black. I looked at my mom and [...]
Nicola Mrazek Washington, DC
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.
Robert Amir Berry Washington, DC
Margaret Washington, DC St Patrick’s day in the USA does not reflect my Irish heritage, nor do “Irish” bars.
Ashley Bellamy Washington, DC Growing up, I tried so hard to supress my skin, my heritage…it was crippling as a child. It wasn’t until college years that I began to feel comfortable and prideful in being a Black/African American Woman who yes, EMBRACES HER Wild and Free AFRO!! As a teacher, I STRESS to my [...]
Steve Townsend Washington, DC In the 1990s, the US Army was under pressure to normalize promotion rates, especially in “under-represented” branches. I was in the Infantry, which had significantly fewer minorities, especially in leadership positions. When a prime position opened, I was the most senior and best qualified for the position. However, the commander approached [...]
Peter Chin Washington, DC That was the question that my daughter asked me when our house was broken into a second time in three years. As a Korean-American living and working in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, I was tempted to answer her question by telling her about the long-standing hostilities between the two groups. But [...]
Kristen Hartke Washington, DC I have been a DC public school parent for 14 years, and my daughter is about to graduate from high school. She has always attended schools that were at least 80% African-American with about 30% of the students in the free lunch program. I have been a longtime volunteer, working particularly [...]
Steven Shimberg Washington, DC I envy our kids who seem to be colorblind and take diversity for granted. Having grown up in the 50’s and 60’s, I regret that my ability to understand fully, appreciate and relate to some of my friends’ life experiences is limited. Divides based on socio-economics are significant but divides based [...]
Nadine El-Bayoumifoty Washington, DC
Julie Chen Washington, DC
Carson Clay Washington, DC
Joe Colucci Washington, DC
Devin Day Washington, DC As a straight, white, twenty-something man, I am imminently aware of my privileges, given randomly due to my genetic make-up alone. But with a full heart and an excess of empathy growing up, it always bothered me when people around me were discriminated against or treated differently just because of something [...]
Radhika Washington, DC I wish race wasn’t a factor that divided us as Americans or as human beings. Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in. I wish I didn’t have to think about it, but as a woman of color, I am often forced to confront race and racism.
Sahar Naderi Washington, Dc
David Swerdlick Submitted via Twitter: @Swerdlick NC, DC, CA, NYC
Adriene Jordan Washington, DC
Joseph Washington, DC from an essay I wrote in 2008: IN 1980, THE year I ran for president, the country was mired in inflation, the malaise of the Carter administration was about to be overtaken by Ronald Reagan’s Morning in America, and like a lot of the country, Ooltewah High School was swept up in [...]
Charley Sullivan Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan It was 1976. I was 12, and just moved back to the DC suburbs from growing up in Southeast Asia and West Africa. The first question to me in 7th grade English class was “Did you see Tarzan?” This is how much my new [...]
Sydney Buffalow Washington, DC A phrase that continues to be said to me till this day and I’m an adult now! I also hear it used when people feel they are complimenting a pretty female who happens to be black. As if being black and pretty don’t go together!
Kehinde Washington DC Tired of frequently being the only person of color at DC young professional gatherings.
Warren Brown Cake Love, Washington DC