Julie Long, Pioneer, CA. When I was 8, we moved from a big city to a small country town, where there were, maybe two other families that weren’t white. I had no idea at 8 years old what race was. I never even differentiated a difference based on appearance, but I remember being suddenly shocked […]
Michelle C-H Dorchester , MA When I was a little kid, in the 70’s, My family was the only black folks most of the people around us had ever seen. Everyday in my elementary school I got some ignorant comment. “Are you brown cuz you eat brown bread?” and the like. The worst was from […]
Eesha Verma, USA. When I was in elementary school, we had a Diversity Day kind of thing where everyone was asked to bring in something that represented a holiday or a tradition they had in their family. I celebrate Diwali, so I brought in a clay lamp called a diya that we put candles in […]
Amber Price, Atlanta, GA. I was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I grew up ashamed of my Blackness. I heard the n-word for the first time in elementary school. I prayed every night for God to make me white. At the age of 17 I was told to go sit with the rest of the Blacks […]
Emily Patten, Phoenix, AZ. I grew up in a city with a substantial lack of racial diversity, yet my parents and teachers were able to instill values of acceptance and empathy. In my adult life, I’ve found that those two beliefs go pretty far in the way of understanding those who don’t look like me. […]
Tara Jackson, MS They go to the highest scoring elementary school in the state of Mississippi which happens to be 98% African- American. My kids are white and they don’t care about skin color and because of their school probably never will, I hope.
Caitlin Defoe, RedLake, MN. I want to be one of the few that leave the reservation and get an education and make a life for myself. Most of the kids I went to elementary and most of middle school with are still living on the reservation but with kids that they weren’t ready for with […]
Karen W. Gronau, Perry Hall, MD. I taught elementary school for four decades. I saw a good change over the years. My classes became more integrated. More importantly, over time, many of my students did not see color in their choice of friends. Change is way too slow though.
Mark Cooper Lafayette, IN In elementary school, my best friend turned to me and said, “Mark, I don’t even think of you as asian anymore!” I knew he meant that our friendship had stepped beyond perceived race, but the phrasing could not be anymore alienating. I have family that trace back to the Mayflower, to […]
Donald A. Dale Lancaster, PA I believe in a loving, caring and gracious GOD and that we are all GOD’S children, created equally.
Eric Wall, Kent, WA. I was fortunate to be part of an integrated busing program all through elementary school. I went to college and got a master’s degree in Multicultural Education. I still spend too much time talking the talk and not walking the walk. Fully understanding the impact of Race is truly a life […]
Laura Speegle Waco, TX I teach elementary school in Waco, Texas. I can’t remember why this little bitty girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old, was sitting in my lap crying… but suddenly she reached out and stroked my pale white are and looked up at me in surprise. After making this observation she snuggled […]
Erin Thomas, Riverside, CA. In 1956, when I was in 4th grade (9-10 years old), we had a less-than-kind teacher, but you were taught to respect your teacher, no matter what. We were sitting in a circle on the floor having some kind of sharing session and the teacher had a boy, Dale, stand up […]
Susan Crandall, Albuquerque, NM. I was infected with racism early breathing it in almost with my first breath. I was injected with racism early along with my immunizations, this one, though, making me prone to its infection, instead of immune. Although my mother tried to teach me otherwise, racism lives in the voice floating up […]
Solveig Whittle Woodinville, WA In 1992 I moved to Seattle and began working at a new job. The first week I saw in the company email roster that someone else had the same last name as I did. I dialed his extension and introduced myself as a new employee. My last name is not common […]
Michelle Baird Berkeley, CA My daughter is in a fairly diverse elementary school. She is African-American, I am white. She commented one day on the way in to school that all the kids in the class she says is kids with behavior problems are black. She wonders why. So do I.