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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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. [...]
Katherine McEvoy Westford, MA
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 [...]
Kayla McCormack Hanson, MA
Carmen C. Brenes Jette, Ph.D. Lexington, MA “What! You don’t look Puerto Rican!” was my other choice. I wanted to convey the power of stereotypes – how burdensome they can be and how tiring it is when you have to explain yourself, educate others constantly. Going beyond people’s expectations can be so freeing (I am [...]
Charmaine Brown Waldorf, MA Thank you for doing this project.
Catherine Marenghi Marblehead, MA My family is white, and I was pleased to find no slave owners in my past — but I found a slave. The American Revolutionary War was fought with the help of slave soldiers: Hessian (German) soldiers were forcibly taken from their homes an sold as slave soldiers to King George [...]
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 [...]
Elena Rodrigues Houghton, MA Living in a small town in the UP of Michigan and having a fairly Hispanic name can sometimes bring out the worst in people. Sometimes it shows how some people view a person from a different background in a negative way and other times it can be positive. I have been [...]
Maggie Whitman Boston, MA My African-American friend freaks out whenever anyone asks to touch or play with her hair, but she is always coming up and playing with my hair (and other white women’s hair) without asking. I don’t want to say anything… but it seems hypocritical.
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 [...]
Tara Conforto Sharon, MA I was adopted when I was less than 3 months old and raised in a non-diverse area of NJ. People have always made assumptions about me based on my Asian appearance, such as saying that I’m so respectful because Asian children are taught to respect their elders, asking me for Asian [...]
Rhonda Frederick Chestnut Hill, MA
Byron Parrish Boston, MA The idea of race is a fiction. There is no basis in biology for saying there are different races. Our ideas of race are a social construct, historically made up to support the unequal privileges and disadvantages that occur because of racism. However, racism is a real aspect of life in [...]
Louisa Etim Cambridge, MA I often get frustrated with the notion (held by people of all races) that there is a single “Black Experience” and that by not fitting into this box of “acting Black” I am somehow shunning my race and orchestrating some malicious plan to intrude on a lifestyle that should not be [...]
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 [...]
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.
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?
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 [...]
Sonia Boston, MA When people look at me, I clearly look Hispanic. So much so that many are surprised to hear that I speak perfect English, with no accent at all. Once I was told, “Wow, you speak so well!” I was born in Boston, educated in Boston, worked in broadcasting and took voice an [...]
Charles H. Sides Westminister, MA I always felt superior because my great-great grandfather Sides was conscripted against his will or support into the Confederate Army, deserted, was captured by the Army of the Potomac, and imprisoned at Elmira where he died. Then, as I learned more about my personal genealogy, I discovered that every other [...]
Kayci Baldwin Cambridge, MA For more than 7 years I have worked as a Multiracial advocate with Project RACE and Project RACE Teen. One of the main goals of this work has been the appropriate inclusion of Multiracial people on any forms that require racial identification. Ultimately, my goal is to eliminate the resilient “or” [...]
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.
Sally Sampson Watertown, MA http://www.chopchopmag.org/
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. [...]
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 [...]
Barbara Dean Great Barrington, MA This is such a painful subject for so many people, but I believe to my core that there really is only one race, and that someday we will get beyond all the conflict, misunderstandings, racism, and pain and realize that we truly are brothers and sisters.
Chelsea Lowe Boston, MA In 1959, my mother was engaged to marry a man who wanted a black best man at their wedding. Even though my grandfather had made a point of drinking from “colored” fountains when the family drove south to Florida, this was–you could say–beyond the pale. “I can understand an old family [...]
Vincent Remolete Boston, MA I had blacks and whites chasing me home after school. Anyone Asian was considered a chink or a jap in 50’s America. My father was a veteran of WWII. No respect.
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 [...]
Bob Blizard Acton, MA Growing up in western New York State in the ’50s, there was only one black kid in school. I remember our First Grade teacher answering a question from another kid in my class about why Tommy’s palms were light colored by saying “God made them that way so we know all [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Valerie Fanarjian Great Barrington, MA
Mark Babbitt Clayton, NC I was born in 1954 in Western Massachusetts. I was raised to be color-blind. I still remember a friend of my father, who was black, came to our house in the late ’50s and had a reel to reel recorder. Thought that was the coolest thing ever. The color of his [...]
Victoria Finney Cambridge, MA I still remember how upset she was when I asked her this. Like I had said something wrong that I shouldn’t have. Like I had failed a test somehow. “Tori, aren’t you happy with the way you are? You are beautiful; black is beautiful.” Why is she saying this? Why does [...]
Tracey Lincoln Needham, MA I am a proud Jamaican immigrant who was raised in that tiny island until I was eighteen years old. There, we have rampant classism, but racism – in a country that is over 90% black – is not something I had to deal with until I went to an elite small [...]
Daniel Marino Methuen, MA
Ingrid Monson Newton, MA I’m white but lived in a black neighborhood in Chicago for part of the 1990s. I tried to get a plumbing firm from a nearby white neighborhood to come and clear a sewer pipe blocked by a tree root. Everything was fine until I gave him the address of the house [...]
Lyn Needham, MA Edward R. Murrow said that we are all racist, i.s., we make judgments based on race (color, religion, gender). He said the solution is to be aware of it, thus to remake our judgment. One would hope that that would become the mental habit. The lyrics of the song quoted above include: [...]
Brandi Artez Boston, MA I’ve had this debate a lot over the years, where usually white people, will tell me that I’m wrong to consider myself bi-racial, because I’m Black and Latina. It’s the craziest thing. Someone actually said to me that since White is the dominant race in the US, unless I’m half white, [...]
Sue Rushfirth Sudbury, MA It strikes me that one way of assessing just how evolved we are as a culture would be to consider the reaction of most people to a trans racial adoption with black parents and a white baby.
Jennifer Chow Brookline, MA We seem to occupy this in-between space, identified as neither a minority, nor the majority. Where are we?
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 [...]
Andrea M. Newton, MA I grew up not really ever thinking about my race until my college applications asked me to literally box myself into one race. I always thought I was “white” with my Irish last name, Swedish grandmother, and my other American family. I just also had a mother who took us to [...]
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 [...]
Chandra Craven Boston, MA As a future mother of a biracial child and as black America I get insulted when someone says they don’t see my color. Unless you’re legally blind, my race is an attribute (like hair and eye color) but it is also my heritage and has helped to build parts of my [...]
Christine Boston, MA I was shopping with a dear friend and her two children. She needed to use the restroom so I gladly took her precious chubby baby in my arms while I waited with the other boy in his stroller. It could not have been 5 minutes before some nasty woman came up to [...]
J. L. Woodward-Lyons Boston, MA
Jessica Goldhirsch Arlington, MA
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 [...]
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
Susan Fentin Conway, MA My son and his wife had their first child in April 2010, a beautiful brown-eyed baby girl with a head full of dark brown hair, whom they named Laila. Her complexion was a delightful coffee color, a blend of her dad’s fair coloring and her mother’s Indian ancestry. Since I knew [...]
King I Allah Lowell, MA This question is at work and on the streets (I’m a so-called Hispanic teacher in a predominantly white teaching force in a predominantly immigrant city). What they mean to say is, “You know what I’m talking about, right? You are like them. So, you must know. Right?” No, just because [...]
Brandon Milardo Somerville, MA Me with my parents at graduation in 2012.
Patricia Johnston Walpole, MA On behalf of my children, who are indeed Mexican.
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 [...]
Richard Finnegan Plymouth, MA
Cliff Song Medford, MA I’m a Korean-American. My parents are from Korea. I was born and raised in Southern California (recently moved to Massachusetts). I spent some time teaching English in South Korea and traveled throughout Asia. Throughout my travels I’ve been asked by expatriates and locals to explain my origin but the complicated answer [...]
John May Franklin, MA I was a salesman of warehouse equipment . On an ordinary sales call, I would drive to a warehouse and try to meet with the boss to deliver my sales pitch. Most times I would go in a back door, loading dock, or other path that would avoid the receptionists and [...]
James Sandborn Boxborough, MA If a person called themselves an African American and someone asked if they could provide a genealogical search at your own expense to prove they were a direct descendant of an African slave from a list of government approved and documented slave sales or they could not legally call themselves that [...]
Wendy Allmendinger North Attleboro, MA I was asked this question far too many times to count when my children were little. I am white, my two beautiful boys are black. The question was often followed by, “Not that there is anything wrong with that.” Depending on my mood at the moment, my answers ranged from [...]