What are you? The ubiquitous question.

Laura Mariko Cheifetz Atlanta, GA I call myself hapa yonsei. I’m biracial white Jewish and Japanese American, fourth generation on both sides. However, there are two assumptions that I run into all the time. First, “what are you?” People want to know my ethnic background (not racial… that doesn’t satisfy their intrusive curiosity), but they […]

Bird Watching: A Metaphor on Race

Keenan Chandler, Atlanta, GA. There are all sorts of birds in the world: big birds, small birds, flightless birds, aquatic birds, birds with wondrously colorful plumage and those with subtle, dull feathers. If we want to appreciate them equally, do we pretend not to see their differences? Do we say the pigeon is the same […]

Perceptions of race…change….over time…

M’Karyl Gaynor, Decatur, GA. I am 52 years old and I am from the Midwest (Rockford, IL) and while there was not an absence of racism per se…my friends and I were fortunate enough to grow up in a community where our families, communities and educational experiences allowed us to experience integration at its best…I […]

From a white teenage girl’s perspective

Victoria N. Fortson, GA My ancestors came to America just like many others. Just because I am white, does not mean my family “owned” “slaves”. When an African American girl says to me “you’re so lucky to have that hair” or “I would pay a lot for some of your hair”, it makes me mad. […]

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I’m amazed at Lillian Smith’s courage.

Bob Thomas, Rabun Gap, GA. I have been working on a web site for the Lillian E. Smith Foundation located in Rabun County, Georgia. In doing research for the project I’m learning more and more about a remarkable woman who as a Southerner spoke out frankly and with unflinching certainty against segregation. As an author […]

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White, male, privileged, finally getting it.

J. Calvin Smith, Ranger, GA. After years in the Federal workforce trying to engage said workforce in my own philosophical struggles with whether statistical under-representation should be sufficient reason to favor female and minority candidates for hiring or promotion, I finally heard some speakers talk about the implicit privilege that comes with being White, Male […]

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“Black-Looking” Female, White Father, Glaring Eyes.

Kayla Doering, Statesboro, GA. My father is of Irish descent and my Mother is Native American. Something I’ve always dealt with while being out in public with my father is people staring at us like we were a rare species. Growing up, while running daily errands with my father, I remember older women asking if […]

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When will the next one go

David Rotenstein, Atlanta, GA. In April 2012, I sat in an elderly African American woman’s Decatur, Ga.,dining room with a digital recorder asking her questions about gentrification in her neighborhood. For more than a decade, developers have been buying small homes and tearing them down to build large new homes some people call “McMansions.” The […]

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Life experiences shape our daily lives.

Kristine Yager-Rushton, Statesboro, GA. Our life experiences make us who we are. I grew up with a chronic disease that led to me having an organ transplant several years ago. In my volunteer work, I get to share my story as I help mentor future organ transplant recipients on what to expect. I often find […]

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Family contrast black white shows beauty

Sherry Weaver, Woodstock, GA. Our family is a beautiful rainbow. We are pink with brown spots and brown with pink spots. We are just a family. I didn’t “rescue” anyone-we gave each other gifts. I was given the incredible gift of love and diversity, and they got a family who loves them and can appreciate […]

“Black Only” Events perpetuate the segregation

Giovanna, Atlanta, GA. I am a second generation American Jew (meaning none of my family members ever owned another human being) I was raised to treat everyone for who they are – not outward appearance – I just moved to the south and have experienced something entirely different. In a city full of educated, eloquent […]

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Really? But you don’t LOOK Brazilian…

Tessa Voget, Atlanta, GA. To say I have a complex about how pale I am is putting it mildly. I vacillate between wishing I were more golden, to meet Americans’ (and even my own family’s) expectations — and getting super defensive, layering on the SPF while feeling guilty about the privileges porcelain skin bestows upon […]

Black husband not “stolen” from you

Amanda Weller, Atlanta, GA. I’m an army brat, a former soldier, and an army wife. Of course I notice differences in skin color and culture (I’m not blind, or stupid); they simply take a back seat to the most important color in my life, a shared color: green. When I met my husband at the […]

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I survived the white flight.

Misty Johnson, Lilburn, GA. I moved to Georgia in 1988 when I was 8 years old. My father left his job on the oil rigs to start his own landscaping company in Lithonia, Georgia. I was a minority at my elementary school back in Texas, which was predominately Hispanic. The move to Atlanta was different […]

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Hispanic chick doesn’t speak Spanish, WHAT?

Cynthia Deras, GA. Are you hispanic? Why don’t you speak spanish? What part of Mexico are your parents from? Say something in Spanish! Your not really Mexican if you dont speak spanish. Basically thats the reaction I get from the latino community when someone finds out I dont speak Spanish. I lost Spanish as a […]

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Mixed heritage. Feeling strange growing up

Katie Moore New Echota, GA I used to hate the way I looked growing up. My mom & brother had fair skin & freckles & I had darker skin & hair. I like the way I look now. I’m proud of my heritage. I am of cherokee, creek, German,& African decent. I stand taller than […]

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Teacher of black youth, ancestors slaverholders

Ernie Lee Savannah, GA Struggling with my whiteness and my student’s blackness until we connect. I am a good teacher and after a while I don’t color just students who want to learn. It is more of a socio-economic divide, but I will never know what it means to be black as my students will […]

Economic Independence Key To Black Freedom

Merlin Gentry Atlanta, GA Blacks can learn from Jews.You get your revenge by getting rich and making hiring decisions. When you’re collectively wealthy, you can influence local policies to your advantage. That’s just how the world works. How do you get rich? By owning your own businesses, not by working for others. How do you […]

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Being Sicilian explains who I am.

Annaleisle Gingher Peachtree City, GA Understanding my ethnicity has explained so much and helped me understand who I am. I may be classified in a box as “white” but I am a second generation Sicilian with dark skin and dark hair. I’ve always identified with other races. Only to understand we are all the same […]

Why are we still moving backwards?

Briana Almeida Savannah, GA Everybody has problems. Instead of moving forward, equalizing and acknowledging everyone, we are squashing and devaluing. We are hashtagging #noRacism2014, and yet putting nooses on Black statues. We are allowing sororities to host “Mexican” parties in sombreros, and accusing the poor of food stamp fraud. Help, not hinder.

Still Lifting the Veil of Ignorance

George Greene Atlanta, GA In Tuscaloosa and places like it across the resegregating South, we are being forced to fight a battle that seemingly cannot be won. Upward mobility in Tuscaloosa has been, and will continue to be halted because of closeted, good-ol-boy dealings that ruin the future of thousands of people. As a graduate […]

PROUD TO BE A CENTRAL FALCON

Cheyenne Miranda Winston, GA 1982 was the first true Central High School class of seniors –none of us had previously attended Druid or Tuscaloosa High. I had the high honor of presenting the graduation speech as Senior Class President, challenging our class and community to move beyond color together. I have been moved deeply the […]

RACISM IS ABOUT MONEY AND POWER.

Lillian Muriel Birchette East Point, GA Racism and oppression are means to establish and maintain servant and ruling classes. Racial differences are easiest to discern and objectify. For example: Europeans in the colonial Americas; in Africa; and in India, etc. When there are no discernible physical differences, oppression occurs strictly regarding socio-economic status, e.g., feudal […]

White guilt is luxury: do something

Ann Claycombe Atlanta, GA I am a middle-aged white woman working at Georgia State University, where no race is in the majority. Instead, what I see is poor students of every color – the average household income of our students is $25,000 a year. And what I’ve learned is they don’t need my pity or […]

…dreamed of being Nino Brown’s accountant.

Styron Pennywell Atlanta, GA After watching New Jack City, I dreamed of being Nino Brown’s accountant. He was the only respectable brown face that didn’t have to shoot anybody. I was eleven and gang-banging was on the rise in the early 90’s, spreading it’s way through the deep south, black boys with bravado, eyes sparkling […]