I’m white, I’m lucky; not fair.

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 [...]

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They only see the Asian half.

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 [...]

Saw an ugly world too early

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 [...]

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Some see me as an Oppressor

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… [...]

Uncomfortable around non-Asians, don’t know why

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 [...]

White and poor, must be stupid.

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 [...]

I’m Mexican-American, heritage comes first

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 [...]

Injustice is Immoral; deserving of struggle.

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 [...]

I thought slavery ended decades ago.

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 [...]

Black, Mixed, Metisse, Exotic, Afropino, Fulatto

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 [...]

Color-blindness benefits a global vision.

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 [...]

Still separate, still unequal! CHANGE NOW

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 [...]

You don’t look Latina, prove it.

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 [...]

Educated Puerto Rican can’t even dance!

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 [...]

White-skinned negro: community of one.

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 [...]

Ambivalent, because my family owned slaves.

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 [...]

Jewish daycare, Catholic college, Hindu wedding

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. [...]

I was born because of racism.

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 [...]

1968. Black freshman roommate. Different planets.

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 [...]

What opened my eyes: “flesh-colored” bandages

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 [...]

Much progress; much more to do

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 [...]

Multi-racial man without a country to call home.

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 [...]

Plantains and potatoes get equal weight.

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 [...]

Korean, but I don’t speak Korean

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 [...]

But you don’t look Puerto Rican…

Paul David Mena Wayland, MA As if a Puerto Rican can’t be fair-skinned, middle-class and college-educated! Granted, I was raised by parents who looked for a life as far away from their Depression-era upbringing in Brooklyn as possible. They found it further east in suburban Long Island, where I grew up with zero consciousness of [...]