His bus stop’s my white school.

Sally Childs-Helton, Indianapolis, IN. I was raised (white) in the pre-segregated south and grew up with separate bathrooms, water fountains, and schools. My parents ran a general store and many of our customers were black and I knew them and their families as members of our rural community. There was a black family I knew […]

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Black mom. Blonde daughter. She yours?

Amber Duke, New Albany, IN. My bi-racial daughter has her father’s blond hair and fair skin. Soon after she was born, I was shocked when people would randomly ask, “Is she yours?” Once, in an airport, when I responded yes, a woman challenged me saying, “…but she has blond hair.” Due to a new upgrade […]

What would the neighbor’s think?

Dolly Szymanski Fort Wayne, IN Both of these quotes are things my mother heard or said. The second quote – My mother said to me when I wanted to invite some college friends to our home. Some of the friends were persons of color Grosse Pointe, MI in 1959.

Calling me white is not compliment

Chappell Watkins, Indianapolis, IN. I’m a 47 year old black male I’ve grown up in all white neighborhoods, and over the years I’ve had multiple white friends tell me I’m not black I’m white as if it were a compliment. My question is if you think calling me white is a compliment, what do you […]

Why must our differences be wrong?

Sarah Whitlock Indianapolis, IN It is so frustrating to be around people who are discriminatory. I am tired of having to worry about offending someone because I make a comment that mentions their race or ethnicity. Such a comment is not a problem specifically because it is potentially negative, but because it mentions their race. […]

Husband Said Last Name Wasn’t Mine

Annie, IN. We just got married about 3 months ago. I am Hmong, and he is white. During some sweet talk, the subject of my surname came up. My husband said, “It’s not [your last name] anymore,” with a smirk. I cried. It was the kind of tears that just came, the kind you cry […]

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Western Michigan meets Korea near Chicago

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 […]

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I’m not white, I’m a Scot.

Samuel J. Lawson, Indianapolis, IN. I’m always annoyed when I have to fill out a form that only includes five or six races and there is no ‘other’ option. I feel ignored when I’m lumped together with all the “white” people in the world. “White” is not a race, it’s just a color.

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“Are you Irish?” I don’t know.

Andee Bateman, Noblesville, IN. As an adoptee with flaming red hair, I was asked this question frequently. I found out at 47 that I am not – my biological relatives are from Wales and Norway. In the meantime, I wore the ‘red-headed-step-child’ moniker like a badge. I was loud, round, sassy and nothing like my […]

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More letters add less Dr. Makombe

Scheri-lyn Makombe, IN. My confidence increased when I got married, even more when I graduated from Medical school. I never thought that the addition of ‘Dr.’ and the changing of my name from Green to Makombe would present as a hurdle.

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You’re deaf, but you talk good…

Warren Miller, Indianapolis, IN. I have been profoundly deaf since early childhood but raised in a hearing family and attended an oral school. I was not exposed to Deaf culture and American Sign Language until college. Hearing people do not see me as deaf because I “talk good” (even though I heavily rely on a […]

Riding on a train crying, mommy braiding.

Donna Monroe, Indianapolis, IN. It was the summer of 1957. I was riding on a train with my mother when I saw another little girl who was having her hair braided. She was crying. My heart went out to her because I cried when my mom tried to comb the tangles out of my hair.

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I look white, I’m also Japanese.

Hanae Weber, Greencastle, IN. I am mixed race. My mother is half-Japanese, my father is white. I was raised in a Japanese-American household, but sometimes people struggle to grasp this or accept me as Japanese-American because of my blue eyes and brown hair. I am so proud of my culture that I refuse to sink […]

Don’t underestimate a common white girl.

Stephanie Kuhn, Muncie, IN. I think women get a bad rep and are judged a lot by their looks. Well we are not all the same and just because I may look like a common white girl, there is a lot more to me than what you see on the outside. Stop and take a […]

Ilinois Grandfather fought South, Still There.

Joe Fricke Greenwood, IN My mother’s Great-Grandfather fought for the 121st Illinois Volunteers in the Civil War, was shot and killed in action against the Confederates near Resaca, Georgia. He is buried in an unmarked battlefield grave. I guess he gave his all for the cause too.

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You don’t really look that black.

Linda D. Calvin, Westfield, IN. I am one of five siblings, but I am the only one who is black. My brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces, uncles and aunts are white. After three children and a divorce, my mother met and married a black man in the 60s and had me. I […]

Yankee child crossed South’s colorline. Paid.

Rebekah Bickford, Baldwin, ME. My white family moved from Indiana to Mississippi in 1977, when I was 8 years old. Our family was seen as “Northern Yankees” and we were not welcomed by many in the white community. The black children were kind to me when I entered school and quickly became my friends. I […]

We must preserve our nation’s history.

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!”

It’s a black and white world?

Lauren Rodriguez Indianapolis, IN … But I’m Hispanic. People always want to categorize me into one or the other “category of people” just because I don’t hangout with a lot of Hispanics but I’m proud of my roots. Just because I listen to a certain genre of music, or I am part of a nationally […]

Not born racist, just born white.

Jake Skillman Greenfield, IN Even as a small child I loved diversity, insisting on going to Korean school on Saturdays with my friends, checking out language books in Romanian, Japanese, Spanish and even Swahili. It’s crazy, because I grew up on a country farm, living in a trailer. Some how that automatically made me a […]

I’ve been the ONLY Black kid..

Kelly B. Ferrell Sterling, VA As the child of nomadic parents, we lived where we could and/or where my parents found work. At one point in the mid “70s, we lived in up-state NY, outside of Ithaca. We were the only black family in the area (in the county the way I remember it) and […]

How do you pronounce your name?

Inchara Carmel, IN Whenever I met someone new, the first two minutes of our conversation was how to pronounce my name and what it meant. I dreaded roll call when there was a substitute teacher. At times, they’d skip my name entirely, making me feel left out. Both non-Indian and Indian people had trouble pronouncing […]

Crazy driver. Rude Midwesterner. White female.

Lisa Schwager Muncie, IN Many people automatically assume that I am a bad driver because I am a female. I have never been in an accident and have been driving for over 5 years. I went to live in South Carolina this past summer with my sister and brother-in-law. I work in retail and was […]

I was a minority. Are you?

Peter Lorenger Fort Wayne, IN I lived in some rough places, so this might not sound surprising. I have been bullied, pushed around, shaken down, chased and threatened, usually because of my color. I have lived in large, medium and small cities, some near rural areas. I feel like I have been victimized. What color […]

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“What are you?” I’m a girl…

Amanda Totteana Muniz, Anderson, IN. All my life I’ve had to face the question, “What are you?” This always made me uncomfortable, and irritated. Last time I checked I was a human. When I was younger I would try to explain that I was mixed,(black white, native American) but then I got tired of explaining […]

Depends on where you are/live!

Henry C. Tribble Indianapolis, IN The issues of race became more open when Barrack Obama became the Democratic standard bearer and then elected president. Most racism in is based on “scapegoatism”, the need to have someone/group to look down on.The people who had/have those needs went berserk because a Black president meant, in their minds.”Now […]

Read Ralph Bunche’s comments about race

Richard C Evansville, IN Dr. Ralph Bunche was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his UN activities after world war II. He had remarkable people skills, intelligence, negotiating skills, humility and congeniality. The NAACP gave him the Spingarn Medal for his great work and he said “There need be no more Spingarn Medals nor any […]

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In Rwanda they were all black.

Jan Ramer, Indianapolis, IN. I lived in Rwanda for 2.5 years, and got a small taste of what it is like to be in the racial minority. The larger lesson for me was that we humans can define “other” in many ways, not simply the color of our skin, and even more importantly, we CAN […]

20 plus years’ experience, entry-level salary

Leroy Wilson Indianpolis, IN I’ve been a programmer for 20+ years now. I’ve worked in every industry you can think of. I’ve build small throwaway apps up to large mission critical enterprise level systems. Those that have worked with me know I’m the one of the best developers in town. I tried starting my own […]

I stole scholarships from the needy.

Kristy Bryan Indianapolis, IN Race-based scholarships were meant to help increase the numbers of minorities in universities, but I felt like a fraud when I was awarded, as I am too pale and have no spice to my name, as a Latina should. I don’t even have a cool accent. And my family wasn’t in […]

Proud mixed heritage, does not count!

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 […]

I see a black man. Why?

Drew Mills Greenville, IN I grew up in a tiny town in Kentucky where black people lived in another part of town, always. Although I don’t think of myself as racist, and I’ve had black friends and; colleagues, and church brothers, I still see black people as black and not as just people. I can’t […]

Am I “that” old white guy?

Brian N. Neilson Indianapolis, IN I grew up in racially mixed atmosphere in California, where there were always “those” old white guys who couldn’t be called racist, but the undertones, comments, and lifestyle left little to the imagination. I moved to Indiana to find a completely different situation 25 years ago…then it hit me, was […]

Not born racist, just born white

Jake Skillman Greenfield, IN Even as a small child I loved diversity, insisting on going to Korean school on Saturdays with my friends, checking out language books in Romanian, Japanese, Spanish and even Swahili. It’s crazy, because I grew up on a country farm, living in a trailer. Some how that automatically made me a […]

Kenya 1965: child sees poverty, privilege

Jane Alexander Indianapolis, IN I spent two years of my childhood (ages 8-10) in Nairobi, Kenya, where my father was teaching. It was the most formative time in my childhood, and what I saw/learned there informed my adult ideas and character tremendously.

White flight child knows no brOTHERs

Jeffrey Kingdon Danville, IN Whether my 50’s era parents chose their life in the suburbs due to racial considerations or were simply following the trend to find affordable post war housing, the effect was the same. The west suburban central Indiana communities were largely small farming towns rapidly on their way to becoming bedroom sprawl […]

I wish I could fully understand.

Hilary E. Cooke West Lafayette, IN I was unsure how to answer “where I am” because I am currently on sabbatical in France, but I technically and a resident of West Lafayette, Indiana. Although I’ve been thinking about the race card project for a while, it is only here, on sabbatical, that I’ve finally had […]

THE RACE IS IS OUR CENTER

James P. Ayers Ft. Wayne, IN Dear Michele, We enjoyed your Fort Wayne Presentation. My 6 and 5 words in two versions: THE RACE IS IS OUR CENTER or RACE IS AT OUR CENTER (in 5 words) I was tempted to ask a question as a follow up to your including the reference to diction […]

Lived with black guys in college.

Artie Dee Franklin, IN My first real contact with black people was living with some black guys in college. There were restaurants, in the mid 50’s where we were refused service if our black friends were with us.

Is “McDonald’s CEO Black” racist statement?

Anonymous Franklin, IN It seems that this wouldn’t have been pointed out if he were white. It is an important milestone, but with a ?Black President, Black Coaches winning the Super Bowl, and lots of Black Executives at all levels it seems that this is not a necessary statement or headline. I can see that […]

I see color in every thing

Shanita Nelson Fort Wayne, IN I hate when people say they are colorblind…because then they are ignoring pieces of everyone. Please notice me is what I say when I hear those words. I am black, I am a teacher, I am a wife…do not ignore any parts of who I am!!!

What my southern mom taught me.

Donna Lovelady Indianapolis, IN Born in the south in 1924, mom was the granddaughter of a slave owner. She saw blacks pushed to the back of the bus, unjustly convicted and forced to hide from whites. It broke her heart. She made sure to teach me that color doesn’t make anyone better or worse. One […]