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.
Meg Nicknish, Davenport, IA.
Elizabeth Johnson, Arlington, VA. There are so many things I wish I could say but am worried they will come out the wrong way. I want to say I see you’re struggling. I want to say I see racism among my friends and within my own family. I want to say it’s wrong. I want […]
Richard Haynie, Oakland, CA. I walked into a roadside tavern near Allentown PA that had several motorcycles parked outside. Loving bikes, I thought nothing of it. Inside, a motorcycle “club” were the only patrons on that Sunday morning. I ordered some food and, despite a warning from the proprietor, decided to stay and eat there. […]
Ashley Wu, Tucson, AZ. The glass reflect myself, however, if look carefully, you will find out my best friend is inside the room. Friends are important to me.
Lynn Li, Hilo, HI. I feel a little sheltered living in Hawaii. I’m 100% Chinese and my significant other, Angel, is Afro- Latino. No one looks twice at us on the islands. Mixed race couples and children are everywhere. Plus, we pass as locals because of our looks. But we met in San Francisco and […]
Danielle Pitsenberger, USA. My mother is black and my father is white, so I’m mixed. In my day to day life it is very unlikely for me to deal with any discrimination or prejudice. All of friends are from all different types of places and are all different races. My friends and I all cherish […]
Ruth Santiago, Rochester, NY. A very close long time friend said this to me. I was totally taken off-guard. I asked for an explanation. She stated, “the fact that I came from a home with both parents, parents who loved us, encouraged education, and values”. It actually made me angry to realize that this is […]
Brandon Yang, St.Paul, MN. I use to have friends that were nice to me for one reason. Homework. Even though I knew that they were still good friends to just talk with. But one day they copied off my test and the next day we got them back, we all had bad scores. And so […]
Katy Carpenter, OH. I recognize that we don’t live in a color blind society, but race is never something I felt was central to my identity, and has no biological base. It never came up until I moved to the Bay Area and people started associating this idea of whiteness as a central component of […]
Nicholas Pencak, Chicago,, IL. From hailing a cab to asking for help from a stranger. The difference my presence makes when I’m with minority friends is inexcusable and wretched.
Daniel Cohen Stroudsburg, PA I am so grateful that you have this exhibit. The sixties and the political movements of that time were so exciting to be part of. We could sure use that passion and commitment today. In spite of King, would anything have happened without blood? Is that what it will take today?
Linda Hunt CT I am in a 40 year bi-racial marriage and very early on when my children were small, my grandmother made the comment above. I said they will play with whoever they wanted as long as they were decent.
Ayla A. Wilk, Blacksburg, VA. I grew up in a small town in the south side of Virginia. Our town was built on a foundation of tobacco plantations and textile factories. We had only one high school. The population breakdown was nearly 50/50 African American to White – other ethnic groups were negligible. The blessing […]
Pinkish Jim, Seal Beach, CA. I was raised hearing this idea expressed many ways. My parents bought into all the racial stereotypes in the 50s and 60s and yet they had black friends. Their friends weren’t like the rest of them. They were different. None of the African Americans we actually knew fit the stereotype, […]
Tim, Zeeland, MI. Some times i just think, “maybe if I smile they wont do any thing”, I feel so bad for even doing that. I should smile and be happy to smile, there people to so why don’t you smile at them like you do to your best friends. Think, what would you do […]
Jami Tatum, Carol Stream, IL. ‘Blexican’ became my new name when everyone found out I was mixed with black, Mexican AND white! Of course the people calling me blexican were my best friends but they didn’t understand how I felt because they are fully white. When they called me that it made me feel low […]
Cathy Spaulding, Muskogee, OK.
Kyle Cruz, Colorado Springs, CO. When freshman enter my high school, we instantly separate to our “designated friends”. We are sectioned off into racial biased groups (all decisions are by students) and we stay with our “true” colors. But not my friend pact, if you look into our cafeteria you’d see a sea of different […]
Noko Haha Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation
Dan Dodge, Sutherland, IA.
Zachary Hill, New Rochelle, NY.
Alexandra Gradwell, Pittsburgh, PA. I come from a mostly white town and have heard that many of my friends have heard this from their parents as they go off to college.
Star Houston, TX I am a 15 year old middle class white girl. I lTexasove everybody. Why do black/mexican/etc. people I have never meet bully and a avoid me? I go to a school where my brother and I are the only white kids, and he is my only friend. Racism is real and its […]
Jani Lee New York City, NY I accept what African American friends/co-workers say, I would like to answer, “But it wasn’t me.” I listen, feel and absorb their pain in an attempt to try and make things right.
Jasper LaFortune Corvallis, OR I don’t know what it’s like to be black, or Mexican, or mixed race, or anything but the collection of molecules that makes up me. But I know what it’s like to be hurt. So do you. Can we be friends?
Matt McDonough Morris, MN I chose these six words because I find that I sometimes will forget that I’m Asian just because I’ve been raised in the United States my entire life and live in an Irish-American family where we don’t really practice any traditional Korean customs. Most of my friends are white and it’s […]
Donovan Holder, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. In South Florida, I am a chameleon. Mother is white, Dad is Jamaican. But my skin is the exact same color as my Latino friends, my Indian friends, my light skinned Black friends, and my Muslim friends. I am all of them, yet none of them. This is why my […]
Rosie W. Tucson, AZ When I was in the third grade in the sixties, my best friend and neighbor was Joyce, who was Japanese. She was wonderful. When my mother found out, she let me know, albeit gently and with compassion, that my father would be terribly hurt by my friendship because he had fought […]
Eric Carrera St. Louis, MO
Julie Ford Valdosta, GA In honor of Nellie Hammond, Mary Wright, Iris Branch, Sylvia Andrews, Deborah Lumpkin, the other Debra, Gwen, Dr. Ed James,and most of all Paul Mitchell (“P”) and my grandchildren: L’il P, Princess Jasmine, and Lakisha DeJohn.
Laura Brengel Clifton Park, NY This is something a “friend” said to me as we dropped the kids off at her house so we could go out to dinner.
Tom Angell Santa Ana, CA Parent to child.
Mary Beth Bergeron Rapid River, MI I am white. I have lived in Tidewater, VA and a highly diverse college town in southwest Ohio. My husband and I have just moved home to the UP of Michigan after 32 years away, homogenous and familiar. I am reminded of how effortless it is–regardless of your race […]
Julie Satterley Ft. Lauderdale, FL When my father said this to me at while I was in grade school, I was truly shocked. He was a well educated, mild mannered person, but I would never have called him racist. He had the patience that I would only wish for when raising my son and he […]
Glenn Richardson Wilmington, NC Every spring we would travel from Washington DC to Oktoc Mississippi to help my Dad work the cows. He had about 200 head to push through the mucky shoot to the cattle squeeze where they were tested for brucelllosis, wormed, weighed, pregnancy checked by an arm length plastic disposable glove to […]
Liz Hohl Oakland, CA Race is so intrinsically linked and correlated to wealth, education, and power. I frequently consider my surroundings and realize how few daily interactions I have with people who are not white. My job, my community, my wealth accentuate disparities and separations that fall along lines of ethnicity and skin color. In […]
Dan Rinzel Washington DC A memory from my junior high school bus in DC in the early 1980’s.
Holly West Ann Arbor, MI My five best friends have taught me a lot about race.
Lawrence Odie San Tan Valley, AZ Great project!
Pauline Devlin Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan This is in reference to my friends and I. I do not believe any of us would consider ourselves racist, so I feel bad when I hear people casually perpetuating stereotypes.
John Fisher-Smith Ashland, OR . I immigrated from UK in 1939 when I was 12 1/2 years old and entered 7th grade in Huntington Long Island. I was afraid walking miles to school. I was teased a lot and bullied for being different. Sammy, the only black boy in town, was my true friend in […]
Webdoyenne, Tampa Bay, FL. (I am a) middle-age white female…but it’s not even an issue for my son…college freshman…who has friends from many ethnic groups and every color of the rainbow.