COLLAGE-FAMILY

No…None of us were adopted

Madilyn Hays, Holland, MI. Me and my siblings are from all different ethnic backgrounds. I’m blond haired, blue eyed and full white. While my brother and sister are both of African American background, their great grand father was actually Louis Armstrong. And then my last two brothers are Puerto Rican. We all have the same […]

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People assume my daughter is adopted.

Rebecca Schwarzlose, Roayl Oak, MI. I am white and my husband is Indian. My daughter has my husband’s complexion. When we are together as a family people assume that she’s mixed but when I’m out with my daughter alone (which is most of the time) everyone assumes that she’s adopted. People ask me where she’s […]

Post racial society–dream not reality

Jennifer Woods, Okemos, MI. I am a 65 year old African American and am sick to death that in 2012 we are still, Still, STILL having this same tired conversation about race. That we still have to have “the talk” with our young men. That black people continue, decades after Dr. King’s dream, to be […]

We are lazy, we shouldn’t be.

Gil, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I believe that discrimination and racist attitudes derives from human nature to be lazy. Because we humans are so lazy, we do not spend the effort and time to learn about the individual but instead, discriminate people by their skin color. This attitude is wrong, […]

Being blonde isn’t always more fun.

Heather Raymond Grand Rapids, MI Understanding Race Project – University of Michigan People say that “blondes have more fun,” but having light hair isn’t what it is cracked up to be. Many times I find myself at the receiving end of stigma when I have a “blonde” moment: dumb, human mistakes blamed on the color […]

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Born Norwegian, Raised American, not illegal

Linda Kristensen, Grand Rapids, MI. I am writing this for my daughter who is 34 with Autism. She became my daughter in 1980 when I was living in Norway. We returned to the USA in 1983 but my daughter even after 30 years is still not an American citizen. Here’s part of her story…. My […]

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Biracial by birth, Black by choice

Kimberly, Detroit, MI. I was just listening to Talk of the Nation with Celeste Headlee discussing Navigating The Lines Between Ethnicity And Identity and I could relate to notion of being biracial and adopted into a white family and having to explore my identity through education and exposure to other black people. I’ve learned that […]

“Lock your car while driving downtown.”

Michelle Allen, Grand Rapids, MI. I took drivers education in the summer of 1997, during a time when my hometown (a predominantly conservative, Christian Dutch community) was starting to become more heterogeneous. This lesson about locking my doors while driving downtown was strongly emphasized by my (white male) drivers ed teachers. It wasn’t until finishing […]

At the hospice, everyone is blue

Debbie Taylor, Ann Arbor, MI. My mother passed away on December 14, 2012 of liver cancer at the age of 80 and she spent her last afternoon and night in Ann Arbor Hospice. The staff was loving, kind and professional. One nurse in particular examined my mother with such tenderness and care that I was […]

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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 […]

Most white college students don’t care

Gene Gruber, Houghton, MI. College students don’t seem to care about racial inequality, On campus, there is a lot of racial diversity but off campus is mostly dominated by white people. There is even a place where “the Asian people live.” Nobody ever seems to try to mingle outside of campus though. I wish there […]

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THE reason I have a scholarship.

Marilou Ingles, Romulus, MI. I am American Indian, I grew up in poverty, and I am from the South. I often joke that I received a scholarship to U of M because of my heritage. I do not believe that I would have been admitted based on academia, talent, experience, or personality; I am here […]

It’s all about interactions with others.

Katelyn Prine, East Lansing, MI. As a white student who grew up in rural Michigan, my conception of race did not exist in my small community. For me learning about race is best done through meeting people who have faced the struggles and building relationships. Groups like MRULE on campus have inspired my growth and […]

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Learning I was a white girl

Rachel Robbins, San Francisco, CA. When I was child, we didn’t really have the commonly held words and concepts regarding the identities of biracial people the way we now do. So I was understandably a bit confused by my biracial family. My mom and aunties are biracial, and my own father was out of the […]

It’s not racist, it’s segregated here.

Amanda Rae, Houghton, MI. I go to college in a very predominantly white city at the northern tip of Michigan. Here the student population is massively more diverse than the town around it. There are few black people but many Chinese and Indian students. There are no rules separating the different groups but we see […]

I try but stereotypes still linger

Anastasia Rogers, Detroit, MI. I am a firm believer that everyone, no matter if you’re a man, woman, or something in between, black, white, Asian, or a different race, should be treated equally and with respect. That being said, I often find myself making snap, harsh judgments about people that I’ve never even had a […]

Hispanic or Latino? I feel American

Hector Vargas, Grand Rapids, MI. I grew up on the east coast. The high school I attended was primarily populated by minorities. My mother is Mexican and my biological father is Brazilian. My mother remarried and i was raised with Mexican customs. On the East cost I was considered Latino, in the mid west I […]

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Apparently, I’m Jesus, or a terrorist.

John Abraham, Grand Rapids, MI. Thanks to my Italian and Lebanese heritage, I am blessed to say I have a fairly full beard and curly brown hair. However, these two attributes have granted me two common nicknames: “Jesus” or “Terrorist”. I suppose I look like many modern-day depictions of Jesus and when I’m referred to […]

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Highly educated black woman. …so what

Levaughn, Grand Blanc, MI. I’m a master social worker and received my accelerated advanced degree from a top ten university…MSU… I am an outpatient therapist and attained this job in less than a year from graduating. Which in my field is highly unlikely. I have worked very hard to go from poverty to the “American […]

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Black? White? Where are my Hispanics?

Janice Mendoza, East Lansing, MI. I moved to Michigan from Southern California in middle school. I was very shocked to find out that there were not many Latinos in my new area. I felt very out of place. I am current student at Michigan State. I loved the idea of diversity when I got accepted […]

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Colorblindness renders me invisible to you…

Dr. NiCole T. Buchanan, East Lansing, MI. I don’t want people to be blind to my color. Instead, I want them to see me in my entirety, including the fact that I am a Biracial Black woman, and I want them to actively embrace these parts that make me whole. I believe most people have […]

Blinded grandfather gave granddaughter excellent vision

Nicole, East Lansing, MI. My grandfather was blind all my life. All I knew was that there was an accident. It wasn’t until he passed that I learned that the accident involved a white man. My grandfather was a doorman and was pushed into the glass door. My grandfather never spoke of the incident. I’m […]

More than just a “white” woman

Brandi Schroeder, East Lansing, MI. I have a rather diverse group of friends, and the other day one made a comment about my origins. I grew up in a predominantly caucasian town where my high school held maybe 10 black students. My friend, who happens to be Somali, asked this question, and upon my answer […]

Likes to be asked about surname

Katherine, East Lansing, MI. My last name is very unique. It is a Croatian last name and my mother’s maiden name is Croatian as well. Whenever people ask me about it, it makes me happy because no matter how many times it is misspelled or mispronounced I realize that those aren’t things that matter. My […]

Neighbor says, “She doesn’t look black.”

Nicole Smeltekop, East Lansing, MI. At Michele Norris’s talk in East Lansing last night, a woman said this to me as Ms. Norris came on stage. The prevailing assumption that as a white person, white people can comfortably make racial comments they most likely wouldn’t say to anyone other than another “obviously” white person is […]

Obama isn’t black. He is bi-racial.

Dan Brown, DeWitt, MI. Michele, you can’t have it both ways. If, as you said last night, you view Obama as black (you said “of color”) then you won’t reach a “post racial” status. To say that he’s black leads us back to the “single drop of black blood” interpretation of race. Consider: If Obama […]

Lines exist only when we differentiate.

R. Lutz, MI. We will reach the point of true equality in this country when, rather than saying “I’m black” and “I’m white”, we recognize that we are all flawed people who make mistakes. This doesn’t mean we can’t recognize and celebrate our differences; we just need to focus on the fact that we are […]