David Murray Springfield, IL Racism is real – all around. Frankly, I am tired of being considered a racist just because I am a white male. I have a family history that had some slave ownership, but also those that worked (worked very hard – and died) to end slavery. Levi Coffin is ancestral First [...]
Janeen Irving San Leandro, CA For the first 12 years of my life I was clueless to my own color (or lack thereof) growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the next 20 years I tried to prove I was black. To no avail. Now I’ve come to the conclusion I’m an amazing [...]
Vicki Vardaman Lynn, IN When I took my 4 year old grandson to the Indianapolis Children’s museum’s exhibit of Ruby Bridge’s school and the reproduction of the empty classroom she entered, he listened intently to the story and replied, “Mamaw! I did not know that!”
Lonna Jo Bowen-AlMoctar Louisville, KY I am from a clan of hillbillies in Eastern Kentucky. My family has a swath of land, called Bowen Farms, near Red River Gorge. As long as I can remember, the old cemetery on my family’s land has been called the “slave cemetery”. My Uncle has always kept up with [...]
Bessie King Boston, MA I don’t think I have been offended by being asked “Where are you from?” before. I was raised to know that I am a Mexican with an American passport in a country where everyone is from somewhere. Until the USA truly embraces diversity and it’s own history, there will be no [...]
Ashley Williams Outside NYC
Saundra Thomas New York City, NY My life began at the start of the civil rights movement. 1962. the music of the civil rights movement is the soundtrack of my childhood. I grew up black in a mixed community, too black to befriend the whites and too “white” to befriend the blacks….and lesbian. my legacy [...]
April & Bill Ledford Carrboro, NC Native Americans and their contributions to US history, heritage, music, culture, food, customs — along with the often ignored, horrible American Holocaust — are still swept under the rug on a continuous basis in the media, history books, and everyday American society. The fact we have an NFL team [...]
Tracy Harris Washington, DC
Jonathan T Sciance Norfolk, VA I am me, I want to be judged by my history, not my people’s.
John Staunton, VA It is factually true that I never owned slaves. But while this statement is true for every American person of any race, it is also the great white excuse. I think that all people today of every race owns responsibility for the moral and historical consequences of slavery. But today’s descendants of [...]
Cynthia Farrell Johnson Silver Spring, MD First, the Civil Rights Movement opened doors, allowing me to train as a visual artist, and also study art history. The Movement forced changes in hiring practices which enabled me to have a rewarding career as a diplomat, traveling the globe conducting cultural diplomacy programs. I thank God every [...]
Chyealla C McBride Chicago, IL I’m an emotional person, but I wasn’t raised to properly express emotion. In learning and reading about other’s experiences, gave me language and comparisons to my own experience in the world. Starting with empathy for my people’s struggles, I grew to be able to express myself emotionally in ways I [...]
Cynthia McCullough Port Orchard, WA Race studies student. Americans seem to think that being colorblind is a solution when in fact it is a tool to maintain White supremacy. The colorblind mentality is the denial of the history of people of color and supports the institutional racism deeply embedded in American culture as many can [...]
Christopher Bland New Orleans, LA Recently I’ve been studying my history, my essence, that extends beyond what was taught in school and at church. I remember learning more about my race’s detriment and disabilities over our triumphs and royalty. From Kemet up until now, we possess more powerful stories than we know about and every [...]
James Wyatt Aiken Memphis, TN Sentient life is in its earliest stages, its infancy. As a sentient RACE, humanity has the joyous opportunity to witness its own growth as the Universe tends toward life and complexity. Stepping back from earth and its petty banalities, I see the infinite variations in skin tone like iridescent flecks [...]
Stacy N Knight New York City, NY Brooklyn The “civil rights movement” has not ended nor has the history eluded my development- It is my current reality. I vividly remember the first time I was called a ni**** at age 5 and the most recent experience of being called “black devil” at age 28.
Ann Elizabeth Hemphill Quartz Hill, CA Born in ’46 in Midwest, visiting with relatives in Florida each year, adult years in California. From my early childhood to present, I’ve witnessed the persistence of racial prejudice passed on through the generations. I’m reciting 5 generations, from my grandparent’s to today’s youth. I spend time instructing teens, [...]
Everett Robinson New York City, NY Manhattan The story behind my 6 words creates a platform for history surfers who seek wisdom and the truth to know the difference.
Megonon New York City, NY History has proved that mankind cannot under any circumstances good/bad..rule each other fairly..there will always be prejudices/favoritism/biases..thats the common psychcology of man…they need a higher power
Melissa Johnson Brooklyn, NY With the continual killing and imprisoning, marginalization and exploitation of the black individual–blackness as an identity is loved and hated all while being continually othered
Kiesha Ireland-Tran San Francisco, CA I am an African American girl, yet I grew up scared of black people. I felt that I was unsafe and didn’t belong with them. An adult in my life lead me to believe these things that changed how I perceived myself and others. People identified me as ‘white’ despite [...]
Jeffrey Miller Tampa, FL Our rich history, our artifacts, our language, even our names were taken from us.
Anonymous Chicago, IL I am female and white. Often I am told by my POC friends that my life is easier than theirs and I am privileged because I am white. We discuss race and culture because we are comfortable and open with one another. I hear their points of view on a predominately white [...]
“GIRL” Seattle, WA Thinking about who I am and my racial past in the US.
Marlene Resnick Sarasota, FL My Uncle Eddie was my favorite uncle. He took me to every carnival, fair and circus in town. He was Irish, my only non-Jewish relative and he was my hero. Aside from the ethnic confusion he created, he was the kind of mentor, supporter and playful companion that I wish for [...]
Maureen Shaw Durham, NC Thank you for doing this. This is a photo of my mother’s family, this is the reason why I wrote it’s okay to be black. I look at it an feel so proud of this photo. We let ourselves believe we are a people are people with shattered history. I’ve discovered [...]
Taylor Hern Harrison, AR I was raised a white person in a very, very, very white town in Arkansas with a reputation of hanging people off bridges. A lot of people use the N word or use other out dated (or flat out offensively) terms when referring to African Americans or other minorities. Overcoming that [...]
Alex Liu Columbia, MD Culture, inmigration patterns, history – it’s all very nuanced. Confucius did boil down the success formula though…what do ya’ll think?
Kwende Idrissa Madu Russellville, AL I am a seeker or TRUTH!
Carol G. Arnold, MD I want to be able to hold my head high when my grandchildren look at old pictures of this time!
Emily Green-Cain Nashville, TN I grew up in the city where James Lawson led teach-ins for non-violence that led to sit-ins throughout the Southeast. No one in my schooling, neither my parents, my church or the local education system taught me anything about these events. I did not know the specifics of what happened here [...]
Kristi Boehm Spring, TX Every year on my birthday I give thanks to the woman who loved me enough to give me up for adoption. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother and father, and my family life was nothing but ordinary. As an aging adult, with no idea of whether I’m Swedish, German, [...]
Leigh Ann Mullins-Zugelder Carmel, IN For all intents and purposes most people would call me “white” or ” Caucasian” and it always seems like an insult. It means that because of my outward appearance I may receive the ” benefits” of what minorities may not. On the flip side, what also is indicated when someone [...]
Jeff Bowlin Kingsport, TN Throughout history the white race has been the dominate race for only one reason, struggle. Humans with lighter skin lived further north and had to endure cold winters. In order to survive, they had to invent better places to live, and more ingenious things to survive in harsher environments. Humans with [...]
Kelicia Hollis Ann Arbor, MI Being internally defined means I’m not worried by external scrutiny.
Noah McDonald Warren, PA It’s time to get over it! Before you point your finger at me, and call me a racist! Don’t forget there are three of your own pointing back at you! I won’t be held responsible for my ancestors actions! Educate yourself! Look at history. Every race, religion, and creed has been [...]
Kwende Idrissa Madu Russellville, AL REVOLUTION IS THE SOLUTION!
Chris Vaught Submitted via Twitter: @chrismali @michele_norris
Maranda L. Glass-Shelhorse Grovetown, GA We can forgive; we must never forget. History forgotten is doomed to be repeated.
Laura College Park, MD University of Maryland
Paul Hobson Douglasville, GA My paternal great-grandfather was white who loved my great grandmother who was a slave. They lived together as one because they could not be married under VA law. He gave us our name and cared for all his children. My grandfather could not tell me our family history beyond his father. [...]
Daria Roithmayr Los Angeles, CA For me, and maybe also for Rich Ford, race isn’t primarily about people’s interpersonal interactions but about big structural processes, that explain why jobs, housing, health care, wealth (WHOA that’s a big one), education, incarceration, infant mortality and just about everything else is distributed massively along racial lines. Those disparities [...]
Margaret Angela Thomas Chatsworth, GA I’m the descendant of a runaway slave who passed as Latin and was beaten to death by a slavecatcher, other runaways who moved to Indian Territories to pass for Cherokee, and a trafficked Chinese woman. I look Scotch-Irish and have a huge red vascular birthmark. I live with color bigotry [...]
Ruby-Beth Buitekant Brooklyn, NY
Raechelle Fields Denver, CO
Juan-Day Charlottesville, VA I chose these words because there’s nothing left to say. I’ve grown tired of the same dance around this issue. Race matters because history matters. History hasn’t been kind to brown skin. Educate yourself and your loved ones. If WE don’t appreciate our brown-ness it’s laughable to expect others to.
Tristan Moritz Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation