Avery, Chicopee, MA. I’m white, but many of my friends growing up were children of color. I always thought that we were treated the same because nobody was overtly racist. Then I started educating myself and learned about concepts like dog-whistling and microaggressions. I was stunned to realize that I had been totally wrong the […]
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 […]
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 […]
Jasmine VanExel, Northampton, MA. Smith College
Sierra McGeoghegan, Weymouth, MA. Growing up and even now I am always denied my Mexican heritage by lots of people of all races. I am Irish + Mexican and a few other races. My family treated my Hispanic blood as a taboo, the Latinos I knew as a child rejected me once I shared I […]
Laurence Barry North Attleboro, MA The above is a reference to our double-standard justice system.
Yvette T. Waters, Boston, MA. Diversity is the strength we share for reaching common goals and moving forward. This is the key to the true democracy of our beautiful country.
Melanie Gilbert, Boston, MA. Love who you are not what you are.
Juan Carlos Greater Boston, MA If you look at me… I look Latino. Not tall, dark features – hair, eyes, skin, wide nose, full lips. If you ask me, my ancestry is African, Incan, Iberian, and Jewish. Those are the ones I know of. I grew up in New England, attending a catholic school in […]
Kelly Le, Chelsea, MA. Sometimes I feel like the only way I can feel beautiful is if a white person tells me I am.
Moassia Bede, Boston, MA.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Kyle Glasper Houghton, MA Everything I feel I learn in sociology is telling me that as a black male, life has doomed me to the pits. A third of us have been incarcerated or will be and the half of the rest won’t ever go to college. It’s been this way for a while now […]
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 […]
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 […]
Michelle C-H Dorchester , MA When I was a little kid, in the 70’s, My family was the only black folks most of the people around us had ever seen. Everyday in my elementary school I got some ignorant comment. “Are you brown cuz you eat brown bread?” and the like. The worst was from […]
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.”
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 […]
Renee Sumby, Washington, DC. Thanks Michele for an amazing keynote at Society for Human Resource Management’s Diversity & Inclusion Conference in Boston last week. People are still talking!
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.
Canary Lee Burton, Wellfleet, MA. It’s hard to read to hard core hate messages, hopefully they will stay around long enough to learn something.
Nobody’s daughter, Boston, MA. It’s simple, really: Anything over 50% is a majority. Therefore, being 25% black (one black grandparent) does not equal “being black”. I say this because I’m fed up of being told I’m crazy, or getting looks because I’m 25% black AND IDENTIFY AS WHITE. Guess what? My kids are white; I’m […]
Charles Hirsch Mount Washington, MA I had the wonderful opportunity to grow up in a multicultural community. I attended daycare sponsored by the Jewish Community Center, was a confirmed member of the Congregational church (United Church of Christ), I chose to enroll at Catholic Saint Michael’s college where I learned about Catholicism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. […]
Ngan Ly, Boston, MA. I’m Vietnamese.
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 […]
Natalie Rossi Canton, MA I am 50% Irish, 50% Italian, and 100% Chinese. I am adopted, I live with a white American family. I am Asian and when we went to Flushing NY and I looked at the building beside me and saw all the Asians, I could not find myself. there was a sea […]
Ann-Mary Spellman, Norwood, MA. Dear Michele, Thank you for your wonderful presentation at Boston College and for signing my book. A book that I will treasure forever and refer to for strength as I move forward in my career as a woman, in a mostly male environment. Thank you for the love and connectedness you […]
Josh Staveley-O’Carroll, Natick, MA. I teach at the college level (in Massachusetts, Virginia, South Carolina, and Washington, DC) and consistently my black students are in the bottom half of my class in terms of grades. This effect is especially pronounced in my black male students.
Meryl Poku, Needham, MA. The most hurtful words said to me (white) about my biracial Jewish daughter.
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.
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.
Michael Boyle, Newtonville, MA. If you haven’t read it, read the essay by Peggy McIntosh: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
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.”
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 […]
Josephine Kim, Cambridge, MA. When it comes to race, we need our eyes to hear and our ears to see.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Anne Lincoln, MA I was asked by Admissions if I would agree to having a black roommate. I said yes, but when she learned of the request (I never knew how), she was angry–at the school, and confusing to me, at me. From that moment on, there was only anger. I was naive and woefully […]
LesleyAnn Moore, Boston, MA. Race is beautiful. Diversity fills the globe and allows freedom of expression through its inhabitants. We are born already filled with differences. Our color is our culture, ethnicity, and race. The world is a painter’s palette ready to disperse every shade imaginable. Once we recognize and become accepting of other colors, […]
Tom DiMartino, Boston, MA. I had the immense pleasure of listening to Michele speak today in Boston, and the topic of adoption touched me personally. I am a white man with two adopted black sons who mean more to me than anything in this world. The topic is touchy and Michele’s comments on it were […]
Claire Berman Boston, MA I am a white woman and didn’t begin to understand my racial identity until I was in my late twenties. The more I learn about racism and its intersection with other systems of oppression, the more I realize how little I know and how far we have to go. So now […]
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 […]
J. L. Woodward-Lyons Boston, MA
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 […]
Sara Bee Boston, MA I have been passing as “white” most of my life–on the phone. People of all stripes seem to have misconceptions about what black people sound like, if their reactions to me in person are any indication. This happens especially at job interviews or when I go to see an apartment. One […]
Shaun Boston, MA Why is it that blacks can have their own history month, their own channels, their own scholarships, their own culture…but when i take pride in being white i am “racist”. If i were to say there should be a white television channel that would be “unfair”. If i said whites deserved scholarships […]
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 […]
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.
John Butterworth Boston, MA My mother has just graduated from nursing school in Boston and moved to Maryland in the mid ’50’s with my dad, who was in the Army at the time. Mom found a job at a nearby city hospital in the maternity ward. Mom placed a beautiful newborn in the front row […]
Robert Dokes Beverly, MA Maybe it’s the way I present myself, but sometimes people forget that I’m Black. It’s not they are colorblind it’s just they’ve got so comfortable with me being around that people feel they can say anything around me and believe it’s okay
Sam Daitsman, Walpole, MA. Not that there is anything wrong with being a Mexican, it’s just hard to be Latino and get lumped all together.
Diana Lew Boston, MA Chinese people use two terms to identify a Chinese person born in a Chinese country (China, Hong Kong, etc.) and a Chinese person born outside of a Chinese country, like myself (NYC). Born in China = bamboo core (“real Chinese”). Born in the U.S.A. = bamboo husk (i.e., Chinese on the […]
Justin John Banks, Boston, MA. My ancestors were both Native and African American. The U.S. was molded by the labor of both of these brave peoples and although they shed blood and tears in the countries formation, they left their mark on U.S. soil forever.
Ray Magner Amherst, MA I may not be the most religious person, but I do know that the God I believe in has no patience for hatred.
Sabreena M., MA. My parents are from China. I was born here. The fact that I look like a Chinese person shouldn’t override the fact that I’m American. I always get this question (from strangers who just come up to me) whenever I tell them that I was born here.
Jalize Brooks, Boston, MA. I like that im mixed. It makes me different.
Lisandra, Boston, MA. Race is not something simple but complex issues with opinion and facts.
Maya PS Boston, MA Growing up in a color-challenged yet friendly midwest suburb, we were one of 3 families of color in our local school. Even though it was not an issue for most of our childhood, sometimes the desire to squelch our culture reared its ugly head. We did try to assimilate as much […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Jen Deaderick Cambridge, MA