Grandma’s racial rejection disappeared with Olivia

Elizabeth Clair Winslow, Denver, CO. No one from my immediate family showed up when George and I were married. But when Olivia was born, all that changed. George was from Jamaica… a brown man. I was from Maryland; Mom said black Irish. Olivia teaches us about Intersectionality and Bias, twenty years later.

Sorry, My Mom Don’t Like Blacks

Amber Roberson-Rowell, Essex, MD. That was my second incident of prejudice and what instilled in me that race–the color of my skin–was a problem. The first was during my first day of pre-school and being pushed off a tricycle by a little white boy and being told “You don’t belong here!” I was the ONLY […]

My role model was not black.

Jamal Wills, MD. People often say that black kids need black role models. I sort of cheated. The wild hair, thoughtful eyes, the chin and the smile always reminded me of my grandfather. Yet, Albert Einstein was a German Jew whose prominence in the scientific community reached celebrity status. Even then, he still had to […]

Latkes or lumpia- beautiful Hapa struggle

Ann Hirschhorn, Silver Spring, MD. My parents grew up in a time where interracial couples were criticized for diluting the race of their children. My father expressed a fear that because I was of a mixed race background, I might not feel that there was a culture or place where I belonged. My mother grew […]

That’s so typical of you people.

Angela Ogbonna Baltimore, MD I chose these six words because I find myself following this learned behavior. As a Nigerian, I even hold other Nigerians to a certain high standard because that’s what we are taught as children and what’s expected of us. I feel that no matter what your ethnicity is people will always […]

Six humans running Lincoln Memorial steps

Nancy Eliot Corrsin, Baltimore, MD. Somewhere in Japan is a snapshot of a black man, an oriental man, and a white man galloping down the Lincoln Memorial steps arm-in-arm with three wildly various white women, one petite in shorts and dark braids, one sleepy-eyed blonde earth-mother, and me in bib-front overalls. I think we all […]

Too Light, Too Dark…Who Cares

Wilhelmina Street, Baltimore, MD. Actually, more people of our very own race seem to struggle with the idea of an extremely light person marrying someone who is extremely dark. Even after 30 years of us being married I still catch racist remarks and side glances from those on our side of the tracks. In my […]

Father failed his brown bag test.

Derrick Warren, Baltimore, MD. I remember my father talking to me about his college days in Missouri. There was this fraternity on campus that would require their prospective pledges to pass what was said to be a brown bag test. Essentially, if you were darker than the brown bag, you could not get into the […]

“Dad, please tell Emily I’m adopted”

Barney Rush, Chevy Chase, MD. Ours is an adopted family: my wife and I have two daughters, both of whom are Caucasian, as we are. We adopted them through agencies, the older when we lived in New York; the younger when we lived in Florida. After living six years in Europe, we returned to the […]

Mom’s white. Dad’s black. I’m spotted.

William Jones, Reisterstown, MD. It’s Vitiligo. Yes, it’s what Michael Jackson had. It basically means the cells that make skin color stop doing that. All though you can’t see it as well in lighter complexions, anyone from any race can develop it, and at the age of about 30, I became one of the 1% […]

Wrong race, Wrong day for fun

Reginald Leroy Johnson, Randallstown, MD. On my birthday in June 1963 my mother decided to take me to Gwynn Oak Amusement Park as birthday gift… We rode on the #28 bus…leaving the city the air was so sweet and clean, I saw ducks, and trees. I was so overwhelmed by this beauty…that I thought we […]

To boldly go…guess the rest

Blair Brown, Baltimore, MD. “To boldly go where no one has gone before.” These words have defined the human experience long before they were ever spoken aloud or put down on paper. I am neither interested in,nor feel the need to rehash our past in this country. Frankly what I do know is much more […]

Vietnamese is difficult, love is stronger

Tho Nguyen, Greenbelt, MD. Tho is from Vietnam and grew up in Tacoma Amanda is from Oroville, grew up in the Tri-Cities Tho and Amanda met at the Barnes and Noble in the U-Village while Tho was writing his dissertation Tho and Amanda lived in Vietnam for 4 years since 2008 Amanda learned Vietnamese. Tho’s […]

I passed Citizenship test, can you?

Avanti Iyer, Chevy Chase, MD. I’m tired of not been seen as having the same rights as white people (especially after 9/11). I had to pay hundreds of dollars in fees and take a test to become a citizen of the US. I am curious how many native-born white people have the equivalent civics, history […]

Si Senor! I am US citizen

Heidy Avila Murillo, Baltimore, MD. My marriage is biracial, I am Hispanic and my husband is a Caucasian born in Maryland. This year after obtaining my US citizenship, my husband and I decided to have three days vacations in Canada. We visited Niagara Falls, Toronto city, and since I love Diego Rivera’s artwork, we decided […]

My son can wear a hood.

Kristin Christy, Frederick, MD. When my son began high school in the fall of 2011, he chose not to request a locker; preferring instead to wait until he was assigned one as a baseball player in the spring. I admired Chaz’ confidence to be selected to the team, but wondered where he would keep things […]

I fell for the assimilation trap

Brian Roberts, Gaithersburg, MD. I am a middle-aged American black man. I thought that if I lived my life as a solid citizen, went to the right schools, secured a good career, raised a family, I would not only provide for my family, I would set an example that would make white people less frightened […]

Allows me to celebrate my birthday

Nathaniel Hunt Glen Burnie, MD My parents are an interracial couple. I am a homosexual young man. And today is my 23rd birthday. Without the Civil Rights Movement, my parents would not have had the courage or approval to find, love, and marry each other. Without it, I may never have been born and if […]

I’m just an American outside America!

Alma Gill, Columbia, MD. When I travel to other countries, I find it fascinating when asked, are you American? I’ve never been asked or identified that way in my own country. I’m always flattered and proud to answer, why yes ~ I am American.

I am feared yet I’m fetishized

Elijah L Wheeler, Gaithersburg, MD. I’m a big Black man that can feel the fear of others as I enter their spaces, yet I also hear and am told of their amazement of my aesthetic. My muscles, my skin tone, my voice…as if their “amazement” is envious, jeaolous and hateful all at once…

Mom said I never saw color.

Corrine Ferrell-Macatee, Baltimore, MD. Me, bad bangs, my best friend, little girl with braids, my cousin, cute little Japanese girl. My nana and sister are here too, it wasn’t til I was in my early teens I even realized we weren’t all white, black or Japanese.

I awaken further to the pain

Kenzie Raulin, Silver Spring, MD. It gets harder and harder to awaken to the pain caused by ‘white’ folks, out of ignorance, pain, greed. It’s not our fault, but I do feel it’s our responsibility to help change the world.

A Black Christian, not White Muslim

Ellen McDaniel-Weissler LaVale, MD When my sister, a Peace Corps volunteer, went to serve her two years with the Corps in Chad, Africa, my parents realized that she was at an age when she might meet and fall in love with someone and want to get married. My father was a Lutheran minister and a […]

School integration enriched my white life.

Cynthia Waszak Geary, Baltimore, MD. I grew up in Durham, NC and attended Hillside High School as part of the first court ordered desegregation plan to achieve racial balance. I am heart broken that since that time there has been a steady and deliberate re-segregation of schools in the US. I am hoping for leadership […]

Black albino women challenges racial expectations

Brandi, Silver Spring, MD. I’m a black woman with albinism. That has been both intriguing and confusing to people. Some people inquire about it and some make ignorant comments. I challenge the white-black dichotomy because I’m black but have white skin. I happily embrace both of my identities as black and as a woman with […]

Your experience does not invalidate mine

Elya, Chevy Chase, MD. I grew up very privileged, and when I realized that I was being bullied by my white peers because of race, my parents decided that I would no longer be sheltered because of my race. I became very active in my student activism group and because I am mixed, I was […]

A Cajun Girl in her Kilt

Michelle Blanchard Ardillo, Rockville, MD. A Cajun girl in her kilt, that’s me. My dad was born and raised in southeast Louisiana, as was I, but my mother was born to Scottish immigrants who came to the US for economic and religious freedom. Upon marrying my father, however, she abandoned her Scottish heritage and adopted […]

“You can’t change what you find.”

James Edward Harrah, Boonsboro, MD. My Father passed long before I grew interested in our family history. Upon the birth of my son, this was the response from an Aunt when I began tracing my family tree. It’s interesting how something most likely out of convenience and considered scandalous over 130 years ago, represents so […]

I am Isaac; I am Ishmael

Jonathan Aaron, Owings Mills, MD, As a Jew, I have always been intrigued by how Hitler twisted Jewish identity, indicting Jews as having bad blood and thus being an impure race requiring extinction. In the summer of 2015, I visited Berlin and discovered a fascinating art exhibit that challenged people’s notions of identity and asked […]

Just what do you people eat?

Judith A Harper, Pikesville, MD. Years ago our family integrated a Predominantly Jewish neighborhood in New Haven, Connecticut. I am African-American. While walking our German shepherd, I was approached by an elderly woman who asked if she could ask a ‘personal’ question. It was the question submitted. For a moment, I was speechless, but then […]

I wish he was a girl.

Kristen Moorhead, Silver Spring, MD. I’ve always told my son, “You can be anything you want to be.” Before Shani Davis’ won gold, POTUS was elected – prior to Neil deGrasse Tyson gracing our screen in Cosmos. What was once – is still – momentous to me is his normal: ‘I like ice skating, why […]

Dont be afraid to be different.

Allie Cohen, Baltimore, MD. Journalism 175 Class Being unique is what allows the world to be interesting and helps facilitate the creative flow of ideas. Without different types of people with different perspectives, creating innovative, out of the box ideas, would be challenging.

Embrace your race, don’t abuse it

Julia Hirsch, Rockville, MD. I have experienced white privilege several times during my life. I am grateful for everything that I have, but I need to periodically remind myself not to take these things for granted. Just because I have white privilege doesn’t mean I should discriminate, stereotype, or be prejudiced. This is also true […]

Oreo: Black outside, white inside

Lauren, Silver Spring, MD. This was a term that was often used to describe me during my middle school days, it always hurtful to hear that people thought that because I was smart and took pride in my education it made me somehow less black.

Still afraid for my loved ones

Shari Washington, Clinton, MD. Angry that in 2014 I still fear for my beautiful brown children and their children simply because of the color of their skin. I am shocked and appalled by the brutality and number of incidents brought to light as of late involving the denigration of black people, esp., black men.

I saw a group of “undesirables.”

Danielle Giese, Cheverly, MD. This is what my white neighbor called a group of African American young men who were congregating outside of the a local grocery store. Apparently, one of them was showing off his new baby. I wondered if that will be how my sons will be described years from now. Will they […]

Acceptable, only after identified as Hawaiian

Nedra De Lima, White Plains, MD. Experienced “minority status” when we moved stateside from Hawaii in the 70s. I was most often identified as Hispanic/Mexican. Was also identified as generic Native American or African American. Also Inuit or Louisiana Creole. Too many times, I only became acceptable after I identified as Hawaiian Chinese. Then I […]

I struggle with ignorant white people.

Mark Parker Baltimore, MD I write this as a white person myself. And as someone who has always lived and worked in incredibly diverse communities and cities. I am the leader of a religious community, and a leader in a neighborhood, which includes a healthy percentage of folks that fall into this category. I feel […]

Three Strikes- Black, Deaf, and Female

La Toya Plummer, Greenbelt, MD. Although I have lived with three strikes for more than twenty years, the color of my skin always has been and always will be fundamental to who I am. When you are colorblind, you do not see me. Overlooking a portion of me that is susceptible to the brutal ignorance […]

Puerto Rico’s Identity Crisis Defines Me.

Isabel Nicole Otero Hernandez, Silver Spring, MD. I was born in Puerto Rico to a Cuban Mother and a Puerto Rican Father. The summer I turned 10 my family moved to Jacksonville, FL, and only a year later moved again to a small town to the north: Ringgold, Georgia. When people ask me where I […]

We matter because of our SOULS

Briah Stokes, Baltimore, MD. My race nor sexuality should be an excuse to judge me. At the end of the day, our souls are our substance, our physical beings are just vessels that give our souls a home.

“You look white”, erases my father.

Janaki Kuruppu Rockville, MD As a child, my skin was darker and my hair frizzier, thanks to the genetic contribution of my father who was from Sri Lanka. As I’ve aged, I’ve come to resemble my white American mother more and more, Since my father died when I was 19, every time someone brings to […]

Your husband’s black? But you’re Asian.

Nina Ball, Baltimore, MD. When people first meet my husband and/or see a picture of us together, the surprise is obvious. I’ve had a few people outright tell me that they just assumed he was Korean. More often than not, I get the question, “What do your parents think?” When they find out that, like […]

New option at doctors – Eastern European

Anonymous, Baltimore, MD. When people discuss race, they seem to refer to only people of color. I always check Caucasian on forms. At the doctors yesterday, there was a new option, Eastern European. It felt like a better fit for me. Just because my skin lacks pigment, doesn’t mean that I am the same as […]

Slavery is chickenpox, racism is shingles

Tian McPherson, Baltimore, MD. …and these recent events are the visible rash. If a country practiced slavery, the racism problem is already inside it. It’s been there, largely unseen or easy to neglect… but it’s starting to burn and crackle now.

I’m white. So you hate me.

Annie, Glen Burnie, MD. I keep seeing people saying fuck white people. I am anything but privileged. I had a black manager who hated me. She did everything she could to try to keep me from succeeding two years ago. She threatened me on my birthday. Then, next birthday, she had everybody get together and […]

THE WALL, BLACK, AN HONORABLE COLOR.

David DeChant, Marine Vietnam Veteran Key West, FL Michele,Greetings again. I am a member of the core group of Vietnam Veterans who built The Wall ~ National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C.; and was at the meeting in Senator Warner’s office when General George Price, US Army Retired, ended the color controversy about “black” granite […]

Child Immigrant, Grown Defender of America

Ronnie Annapolis, MD The image of a child immigrant, who grew up to serve in the U.S. military is a bit cliche these days, especially after more than a decade of conflict. However, there is nothing cliche about an immigrant wanting to defend his adopted nation and his fellow Americans (both fellow immigrants and native […]

I blend in, wherever I go.

Brenda Footer Silver Spring, MD I live in a very diverse neighborhood, where many El Salvadoran and Dominican families live. People are always trying to speak to me in Spanish, because I have olive skin and dark hair. I’m as white as can be, but it’s always been this way. Italians assume I’m Italian, Latinos […]

My Ancestors Bones Not For Museum

Sonya Williams, Baltimore, MD. I grew up in a unique area of North Carolina in what is referred to as a ti-racial community. My Indian family are the Cheroenhaka Nottoway and Meherrin Indians of Southeast, VA & North Eastern, NC. When I went to college, during a lecture in my anthropology class, the professor was […]

Prejudice is perpetuated by our silence

Joe Niehaus, College Park, MD. Like most conflictsusceptible, resolution begins with simple communication. Both sides of the racial divide are often too willing to disregard the other perspective of the other side. We need to work to acknowledge the merits of all peoples speech- regardless of color or background. Everyone can contribute to this conversation.

I Shouldn’t Get Benefits For Whiteness

Emily Bertot, Clarksville, MD. I grew up in Florida in an extremely non-diverse, middle-class area. Moving up North was a big culture shock, but it forced me to realize how many different types of people there are. I was also made aware of my privilege.

I define myself; nobody else can.

Rucheeka Desai, College Park, MD. I am the only person who has a say in who I am and who I will become. My race does not define me, my skin color does not define me, and other people’s opinions definitely do not define me.

Prejudice is taught; let’s unteach it.

Karen W. Gronau, Perry Hall, MD. I taught elementary school for four decades. I saw a good change over the years. My classes became more integrated. More importantly, over time, many of my students did not see color in their choice of friends. Change is way too slow though.