More than just a “white” woman

Brandi Schroeder, East Lansing, MI. I have a rather diverse group of friends, and the other day one made a comment about my origins. I grew up in a predominantly caucasian town where my high school held maybe 10 black students. My friend, who happens to be Somali, asked this question, and upon my answer [...]

I am German, not a Nazi

Peter Alison, Richmond, VA. I come from an Austrian mother and an American father, so when people ask me about my ethnic background I tell them I’m half-Austrian. Throughout middle and high-school this elicited responses asking me if I hated Jewish people, or if I praised Hitler. It was annoying at first, but later it [...]

Joelle

I’m black. He’s black. Perfect match?

Joelle Kanyana TN Going to school in a town where I’m in the minority as a black girl (Burundian heritage, Ghana-born, American citizen) has its interesting experiences. One that always seems to repeat itself is the matchmaking by my classmates with the black guys there. I’ve had this conversation many times before: “Joelle, you’d look [...]

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Honey, you must come from money.

Christine Faris Lufkin, TX Actually, no. Yes, I was blessed to come from a middle class family. And yes, I’ve been blessed to travel the world. Wanna know how? I worked my ass off. Blew out a knee, graduated high school early, started college at 16, took summer school, worked multiple jobs, all so I could [...]

You’re the whitest Hipanic I know.

Annie Woodbridgem VA In high school, a white male classmate once said this to me. I am a half-Korean, half-Dominican woman. I had no idea how to respond. The context I perceived was that he meant that I spoke very clear, unaccented English, ate American-typical food staples for lunch, got excellent grades, and was in [...]

Always felt different. All are unique.

Nona Lynn Simons Orangevale, CA My Six Words: Have you ever felt different from everybody else? I have and sometimes I still do! In the fifth grade, I was different because I was part Jewish and my classmates weren’t. They went to church and I didn’t. During the last week of school, one of my [...]

Mom, talk about your “black firsts.”

Janice Lowe New York City, NY My mother, Dr. Willa Lowe was one of the first black English teachers in several high schools in New Jersey, Washington, DC and Ohio. She was part of that first wave of school integration in which talented African American teachers were hired before African American students were admitted. She [...]

Washtenaw students use The Race Card Project to confront bullying

Powerful words from a high school student—shared during the second annual Youth Diversity Forum with a room full of Washtenaw County high schoolers—helped set the tone for a day-long discussion Friday at Eastern Michigan University.

About 200 students and teachers from every public school district in Washtenaw County attended the forum, held at EMU’s College of Business in downtown Ypsilanti.

High school students participate in a social identity exercise at the second annual Youth Diversity Forum at Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business in Ypsilanti.

Boy From America’s Heartland, Indian American

Rahul Iyer Mesa , AZ I graduated high school from Dixon IL, a small town halfway between Rockford and Moline, in the Northwestern part of Illinois. Dixon IL is a small town, and boyhood home of former President Ronald “Dutch” Reagan. Cornfields surrounded the town. I am the son of two medical doctors who practiced [...]

What opened my eyes: “flesh-colored” bandages

Irene M. Pepperberg Swampscott, MA I was in high school, a racially integrated one, in the 60s, discussing racial issues with a contemporary black woman, an honors student, headed for a fine college. I asked her why she was so angry, what kind of discrimination she felt, living in a middle class community, going to [...]

Southern white privilege and racial ambivalence.

David Painter Winter Springs, FL I had a black southern Mammy in 1963 (who I adored), graduated from private, elite, lily-white high school in 1981, and welcomed my first niece, who’s mother is black, into the world in 1991. I have benefited from white privilege throughout my life, but most frequently black people bestowed the [...]

Sterling Whites is my town’s nickname.

Jacob Barshaw Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan For my entire life I have lived in in a town called Sterling Heights. When I was in elementary school, close to 800 children went to my school. Only one was black. Until last year, not one black person owned a house in my [...]

Interracial marriage isn’t a bad thing.

Ryan Wilcox Urbandale, IA My parents moved my sister and I out of Milwaukee in the early 1970’s to avoid the repercussions of desegregation. We were very young at the time so we did not understand the reason for the move. Later on my siblings and I attended an inner city high school, Washington Park [...]