Nicholas Howe, Northhampton, MA. Smith College I attended a mixed-race suburban public high school in Connecticut, where I competed on both the swim team and the track team in the late 80’s. Only one member of the swim team was African American, and his race was the elephant in the room that nobody would talk […]
Virginia, Cambridge, MA. I’m half Filipina. And I’ve always thought of myself as half. But one day at a faculty meeting a colleague told me I “passed” as white. It’s bothered me ever since.
Seja Hussein, Boston, MA.
Jacquie Arnold, Hopkinton, MA. I was an A student at Key West High School when I graduated from Key West High School in 1981. While applying to top ranked colleges, my guidance counselor, Mrs. Adair, told me that Stanford University was not for students like me. I’m African American. I knew what she meant. I […]
Melanie Gilbert, Boston, MA. Love who you are not what you are.
Samantha Charter, Phillipston, MA. My six words may seem a little odd until you hear the story behind them. I am white and my boyfriend is not. I grew up in a small predominantly white town and because of this the few non white families in town tended to stick out a little. No one […]
Kimberly, Pittsfield, MA. My father, whom I don’t know, is black and my mother is white. I was raised in a White, Irish family. Growing up, no one in my family looked like me, but I never noticed until ‘Roots’ premiered on TV. I had my son with a white man, so he is one […]
Clara Silverstein, Boston, MA. As one of the white children in Richmond, Virginia in the 1970s whose family willingly participated in busing, I had few friends of any race. What we could have used at the time was leadership instead of racist rhetoric, white flight, and school administrators who cancelled all after-school activities. The possibility […]
Anonymous, Northampton, MA. He’s a white European, and has never considered black women to be attractive, apparently until he met me and we got to know each other. Since he is curious about interracial relationships, he’s often on youtube watching videos on black and white couples/babies/marriages. Yesterday, he proudly told me that he watched an […]
Liz Pryor, Northampton, MA. Smith College. My mother was white. So was her whole family. After my husband, who is white, proposed, my grandmother cornered my cousin and asked “Does he know about Elizabeth?” My cousin asked back, “Does he know what?” and my grandmother answered, “That she’s Black.”
Emily Carter, Needham, MA. I am un-mistakenly white. I have blonde hair, blue eyes, grew up in a neighbourhood full of other white people, and had teachers who were all white. I have an name that is unmistakably white and very easy to pronounce, yet in a classroom filled with children with difficult sounding, Chinese […]
Stephanie, Marblehead, MA. My husband is of Italian decent and has dark features, such as brown eyes, black hair, olive skin. I am 100% Irish with light features: light brown hair, blue eyes and pale skin. Our oldest daughter shares the same dark features as my husband. Once while picking up a few thing at […]
Jamie Bishop, Florence, MA. I am a bastard child conceived in the back seat of a Chevrolet in 1965. When I was born, I was sent to an orphanage. I don’t know what all happened, but my grandfather, (Daddy, or Mr. Bishop) had strong feelings about family duty, and five days later, against my grandmother’s […]
Anonymous, Brookline, MA. After growing up in a predominantly black town (Bloomfield, CT) as the daughter of Northern, white liberals, I became a nenatologist. Racial disparities in infant mortality and preterm birth motivate me to leave my 3 daughters in daycare and go to work. There, I not only look after preterm infants in the […]
Lisa Smith, Boston, MA. In 1610 Catholic priest asked his superiorsif slavery was condoned by God. Answer came back…none of more learned men of cloth saw anything against the enslavement of another human being. I’m white and l seeth with anger over what happens (ed) to Blacks.
Josephine Kim, Cambridge, MA. When it comes to race, we need our eyes to hear and our ears to see.
Annie Berman, Northhampton, MA. Smith College This is what it means to be a good ally. It is not POC’s job to be the only ones constantly asserting that their lives matter. Silence can be a powerful tool of resistance and empowerment, but not when white people who think race does not concern them choose […]
Jada Golden Sherman, Boston, MA. I’m so frustrated with people’s limited understanding and acceptance of genetics, and upbringing. The labels ‘white’ and ‘black’ are over-generalized. Especially when now that we have dark parents having white-looking babies, and white-looking parents having brown babies. Not all white people are…white, nor “white-minded”.My mother’s family is African-American, and many […]
Ashrafi Hasan, Boston, MA.
Thien Kim Ho, Somerville, MA. I grew up in what seemed like a movie representation of my own race. My mother was a nail technician. I don’t know if she still is. My father probably still is an engineer. I don’t know whether I had “tiger parents” or if they were just plain mean. I […]
Elsie Pontes, Boston, MA.
Robert Markel, Charlestown, MA. Raised in a very white town in Chester County Pennsylvania, I had little consciousness of race issues until high school. We had one black student in my class, and he was the Salutatorian. At the end of our senior year at Archmere Academy, several members of the class went to lunch […]
Joseph Palmieri, Framingham, MA. As a white male, I feel like I have been subject to a sort of stigma just like people of other races and genders have. Some may think that white men are relieved from a form of discrimination, but this is not the case. I have been told multiple times that […]
Amal Nazeem, Shrewsbury, MA. My parents are Muslims from Southern India. Growing up, I had many friends from all over India. They were mostly Hindu and they only knew other Indians to be Hindu. When I told them that my parents were from India, they thought I wasn’t a true Indian. I might have been […]
Kia Goodell, Hopkinton, MA. Both my parents are white, my mother being an earthy-crunchy liberal, and my father a stereotypical red-neck. Racist comments by him were frequent, and my mother, wanting to make sure I didn’t catch onto that gave me a black baby doll for Christmas when I was two. I opened the present […]
Lauri McNamara, Greenfield, MA. I see strangers in my neighborhood when I walk my dog and instead of being afraid and making snap assessments based on their age, skin, group, I slow myself down and try to make eye contact, say hello and take it from there. I wish more people would give it a […]
Anonymous, Orleans, MA. I have no problem with anybody doing anything no matter who they are as long as they’re not hurting anyone else. I’m white though, and feel like people who don’t know me will just hate me because of the history of white prejudices towards others.
Carlos Hoyt Andover, MA We entered this cognitive predicament only a few centuries ago, but have since, like the hapless fly, found it impossible to extricate ourselves and have come to regard it as eternal and inescapable.
Marilyn Gardner, Boston, MA. Born in the United States, Grew up in Pakistan. Hold American passport. Birthed 5 kids on 3 continents. Now trying to make sense of a life in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Tessa D, Chicopee, MA. As a young child, we moved from a mostly black neighborhood to a nearly all white suburb. The background music of my life changed. There really wasn’t any background music anymore. The neighbor kids who came to visit were no longer just the neighbor kids. Judgement and difference took on meaning, […]
Sonia Paz, Boston, MA. Would it make you more comfortable if I did? I was born in Boston. Raised in Boston. Educated in Boston. Did I mention that I was born here? My mom is from Colombia, my father from El Salvador. When I look in the mirror, my facial features (along with my lack […]
Lucia Flores Medford, MA My parents raised us to be proud of our Dominican heritage, and at the same time went to great lengths to ensure that we had the cultural/intellectual capital to succeed in a white-dominant society. As a result, I am an active participant in American culture as well as Dominican/Hispanic culture in […]
Sarah Diggins, Berlin, MA. I’m almost entirely Irish by heritage (my dad’s side is 100%), but I never really clicked with the culture. I grew up loving Celtic music, looking at gorgeous landscapes of the Irish countryside, and hearing stories about my Irish cousins and ancestors from my grandparents. But when I went to live […]
Kendra Meyers, Moses Lake, MA.
Diane Curtis, MA. Six words happily taken from the President’s speech.
Brandon Milardo, Somerville, MA. Me with my parents at graduation in 2012.
Raysa Rivera, Worcester, MA. I have struggled with my inability to fit in within the Hispanic culture. I cannot speak the language without having trouble with grammar and sounding like a “white girl.” I’ve gotten mocked because of it all the time. My family has also decided to leave some of the cultural traditions back […]
Zulema Peralta-Saltos, North Hampton, MA. People believe that being Latina gives you a higher advantage at getting into college, graduate programs, internships, and jobs. I didn’t get into college to fit a quota, I got in because I am as smart as everybody else.
Sam Stiller, Worcester, MA.
Daniel Karanja, Marlborough, MA. My parents are immigrants from Kenya and I feel this better describes me than just “black”.
Nour Alami, Northborough, MA.
Christian Sawyer, Hudson, MA.
Alice O’Neill, Boston, MA. People get the impression that you can’t have anything wrong with your life if you’re white, but there are plenty of things that anyone can experience regardless of race. You don’t know my experiences, you know the color of my skin.
Wes, Boston, MA. I feel like the topic of race has become uncomfortable for many people because we assume the worst of people’s words. A discussion that includes the ethnicity of another person too commonly leads to an argument or someone accused of being a racist when no harm was intended or when a fact […]
Vishwa Dhuleshia, Shrewsberry, MA. I started Kindergarten knowing how to say only two things in Enlgish: “my name is Vishwa” and “I have to go to the bathroom.” I spent the first 3 years of Elementary school going to ESL classes while my classmates took spelling classes. Those few years I had to face the […]
Bruce Hawkins, Northampton, MA. That doesn’t make me guilty, it makes me responsible. Prison is the new slavery, and the Drug War is modern slave-catching.
Sergio R Velazquez, Lowell, MA. The label Latino bothers me, same as Hispanic. Both have colonial roots and do not properly represent any specific group or culture. This is why I always select OTHER and fill in Cuban. Just my five cents worth.
Gabby Mbeki, Boston, MA. In the fall of 1997, I started 6th grade at a day independent school in Connecticut. I grew up in a predominately West Indian neighborhood surrounded by faces like mine, but my father wanted me to have a more rigorous education. I entered the school being one of three students of […]
Annaleis Thibault, Bolton, MA. As a white, middle class american, I feel as though I owe reparations for the crimes committed by my ancestors.
Kathy Gips, Boston, MA. 65 year old. White suburba. Removed, but remember. 65 year old, white, witness from a distance.
Sally Holmes, Bourne, MA.
Mo, MA. I am neither white or black so I am not invited to the debates on race.
Jasmine VanExel, Northampton, MA. Smith College
Tanya Rao, Shrewsbury, MA.
Thomas M. Lenz. Weston, MA. I was the white kid in Providence. I stayed in my 4th grade class where I was happy. The Black kids were forced to come to unfamiliar territory and join us, and their neighborhood was closed. No wonder they became angry at the White world. Who wouldn’t be?
Livia Messenger, Northhampton, MA. Smith College Before I told you my grandmother was from Japan, I wasn’t Asian to you. I’m white. I don’t speak Japanese. I’ve never been to Japan, worn a kimono, or even met my Japanese relatives. I flunked out of calculus – but I suppose my “white side” was holding the […]
Jessica, Taunton, MA. Being Black in America means that you constantly have to change and work on yourself in order to please the dominant group in society (Whites). Its about making them feel comfortable and at ease even if that means rejecting your culture, traditions, ancestry, and basically everything that makes you who you are […]
Alia Suleiman, Northhampton, MA. Smith College Thank you, so so much, for speaking at Smith College.
Martín De Greiff, Winchester, MA. Just because I am hispanic, does not mean I should be working on your lawn… I was walking one day early in the morning after a run and I noticed some hispanic guys working on a lawn on a house with an odd machine. So I stopped and asked what […]
Nicholas Ellis, Somerville, MA. Being referred to as simply “white” strips me of my ethnicity, of which I am very proud. I look Slavic, I am Slavic, why should I be OK with being referred to in any other way? My people were also slaves, in fact the word “Slave” comes from an old French […]
Holly Wenninger, Malden, MA. I’m white, but for the past six or so years I’ve worked out at n athletic center whose focus is primarily on the POC community — so when I’m there, I’m usually the only white person in the room. A couple unanticipated side effects of this are (a) now when I […]
Christopher Lee-Rodriguez, Boston, MA. We don’t live in a post-racial society. We live in a post-race society. We live in a country where in a short amount of time, there will no longer be a majority race. And race is continuing to be reshaped and redefined. I am half Chinese and half Puerto Rican. I […]
Laura Reeder, Boston, MA. I teach teachers. I am a teacher. I am exhausted by the confusion that we perpetuate about who deserves to learn and who needs to be schooled.
Sarah Butler, Weymouth, MA. I am not blind to the similarities of then and now. A newspaper cover connected the past and present for me with the headline “Three Negros Shot in Cold Blood by Police”.
Roberta Smith, Boston, MA. During the conversation, once the white guy spoke about self responsibility a lot of black people were visibly upset and I feel, most black people in the audience stopped listening because they were “offended”. The black rapper basically encouraged black people NOT to get involved in government. What if Obama felt […]
Yessica Guarin Arias, Boston, MA. Yes, I don’t have the same accent as the actors and actresses on TV. The reason to why is because they were born in a specific part of the country in which I am not from. However, people only hear these people speaking “Colombian Spanish”. When in reality Colombia has […]
Astrid afKlinteberg Gloucester, MA As a criminal defense attorney I am reminded constantly that I am privileged because I am white. I’ve represented many minority clients who where initially pulled over because the cop ran a ‘routine’ plate check on the cars they were driving, or in which they were passengers. There have been several […]
Katelyn Tsukada Northampton, MA My mother is of Irish and Italian heritage; my father of Japanese descent. Both of my parents were born in the United States as were their parents before them. Both consider themselves to be American as documented by their passports, drivers licenses and birth certificates. My mother and father speak English […]
Shoumita Fiorillo Wellesly, MA
Diana Ryan Millbury, MA My last name notwithstanding, I am 100% Puerto Rican through and through. That is an ethnicity, not a race but too many people don’t make that distinction. My features are typical in the culture, full lips, broad nose, dark curly hair, olive skin that tans deeply and easily. It’s a blessing […]
Adrian S. Bennett Bremerton, MA I am dedicated to Equality for all persons and the values that make up Diversity. As I journey through my career as an Equal Opportunity Adviser and an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist and Program Analyst, my hardest realization has been that some people will always see me as an oppressor… […]
Pamela Hung Boston, MA I grew up in a predominantly Asian neighborhood in Southern California. It was a hard transition living in places where Asians were the minority…non-Asians were just so foreign. But I’m doing exactly what I’m fighting against: making others the Other. My brain has learned to fight these Othering thoughts, but I […]
Aris Foucault Etheridge Leverett, MA I think it’s possible that the poor urban white perspective may be a helpful one in thinking about race as it relates to poverty. What are the similarities between the poor urban white experience and the poor urban black experience? What are the differences, and how do these differences effect […]
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 […]
Sheila Mahoney Boston, MA I was 10 in 1965 and am the Granddaughter of Irish immigrants also brutalized by white supremacists who went to Ireland from England to perform their cruelty. I cold relate to other American children in the south because of what my people in Ireland had endured. When will it all just […]
Alexa Ogno Salem, MA In the 1980’s, I went to a Catholic prep school that was full of privileged white kids. My good friend, Duchess Harris, was one of the few students of color. There was a single African American teacher. One of the student government fundraising activities was a “Slave Auction” in which fellow […]
Susanna Gourlay Wilbraham, MA This is a saying my dad taught me. I moved to the USA from Scotland and it was a phrase he told when I was talking to him about how sad it was that people get treated differently based on the color of their skin. The saying means, “We’re all God’s […]
Justin Natick, MA We must remember that a proclamation of “preference” still hurts. I am a 17 yr. old African American boy. I am also a member of the lower-middle class. Lastly to make matters “worse” I am homosexual. In today’s society this draws me victim to most social stigmas that can be associated with […]
Deborah Washington Brookline, MA Institutional racism still exists. It makes racism anonymous. “nobody’s fault”. Those who carry it out use systems as a scapegoat, like systems don’t represent the thinking of groups of people.
Edward Lyons Boston, MA If all schools provided a quality education, it wouldn’t matter so much how we decided who went where.
Gabriel DeMiero Cambridge, MA
Christina Lewis Halpern New York City, NY The strange thing about race in the western world is the strong need to put people’s identities into boxes. I have a complicated identity, which led to people helpfully telling me what category I fit in, including making up some words to describe me. I’ve chosen to describe […]
Lisa Wenger Hampton Falls, NH As a US History teacher, my 8th grade students were studying segregation and the Brown V. Board of Ed. ruling. I heard the NPR piece this morning and shared the Atlantic Monthly article on the resegregation of Central High in Tuskaloosa and the Dent family’s experiences from the 50’s until […]
Sophie Dover Jamaica Plain, MA Despite all the gains we have made as a country (which people love to harp on) – a harsh reality still exists for people of color and low income individuals across the nation. Schools and neighborhoods still remain separated by race and income. More money is funneled into schools serving […]
Kristy Luk, Cambridge, MA. I am an Asian-American woman, and my racial identity is not to be used as a weapon of oppression against other people of color. My story, and that of my immigrant parents’, will not be held up as examples of how “some folks can make it, if they try hard enough.”
Dan L. Lowell, MA It seems wrong to me that other races can be proud of their race or ethnicity, but if you’re white you’re supposed to act like it’s some sort of bad thing and that you aren’t proud of it. I like being white and I’m not afraid to say that. Shouldn’t you […]
Victoria Oliva Medford, MA As a light-skinned Latina born to a Guatemalan immigrant father and a mother of French-Canadian descent, I find myself searching for where I fit in – constantly being asked by others to prove that I am Latina, and trying to come to terms with the discomfort I feel surrounding my white […]
Max Haverhill, MA I’m an American with mostly German and Italian backgrounds. When the warmer months begin, I tend to get tanner than many friends of mine, likely because of the Italian background. I have been confused for other races in the past; there’s a photo in my home of me an my African-American cousin. […]