Felix Brooks Jr., Kalamazoo, MI As the father of a biracial child I told my daughter not to let anyone place a label on you. You get to choose for yourself . She took me up on that, and owned her own choice, and never struggled with who she was as a person .
Irene Li, East Lansing, MI. You’re not just a tree, you’re a tree in a forest. You are not a fish, but a fish in the ocean. You are not an individual person… but a person as part of a community. You have value as part of this beautiful network!
Kit Carlson, East Lansing, MI.
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 […]
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 […]
Brandon Attala, Grand Rapids, MI. ‘Race’ is just a way to classify ourselves on a more individual level. In actuality, we are all made up of 99.9% of the same DNA, and I think that should take priority over the color of our skin or our place of birth or ancestry.
David Conti, Grand Rapids, MI. What makes being half Mexican and half white so much more difficult is that I look 100℅ white. Half my family thinks of me as the white boy on the wrong side of the border and the other half sees me as the half breed, a blemish on their otherwise […]
Tn Nguyen, Grand Rapids, MI.
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 […]
Gabriela Swain, Ionia, MI. I was raised in a predominantly White/Hispanic town in mid-Michigan. What few colored people that did live in my zip code I never interacted with because they were locked up in one of our correctional facilities. After going to a community college in Grand Rapids I had to face a lot […]
Gabrielle Hainley, Caledonia, MI. I understand that there is discrimination and racism in the United States. But, I also see many people of all races, ages and upbringing that use their race as an excuse to get away with things or as a way to make other people sound like people, when in fact, they […]
Paige VandenBrink, Holland, MI. The worst question I have ever been asked is, “Do you love them the same?”. This was a question I was asked when I got a new adopted black cousin. I almost cried because I was too young to understand why anyone couldn’t love someone the same just because of a […]
Karen Sturdivant, Lansing, MI. When it comes to matters of race- Stevie Wonder can be seen as the great equalizer. His messages in song are universal and his soul is colorless.
Sharon Bandlow, Haslett, MI. I loved hearing you speak at The Wharton Center on the MSU campus. Best wishes with your project!
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 […]
Sharon Lo, East Lansing, MI.
Kim Laforet, Lansing, MI. When you consider that we were all created in His image, it’s hard to hate a group of people that look different than you. Look beyond race and you will see individuals with unique cultures that should be celebrated and not denounced no matter what the race is……including the White race. […]
Anonymous, Lansing, MI. Was this meant to be a compliment? …it didn’t feel like a compliment.
Alex, East Lansing, MI. I didn’t know all the ways in which I was privileged – I really didn’t. Now that I do, I am trying to learn how to use that privilege to break down the wall for others.
Rome, Lansing, MI. When you say “I don’t see color” what you are saying to me is that my past and present experiences and who I am mean nothing to you.
Tim, Zeeland, MI. Some times i just think, “maybe if I smile they wont do any thing”, I feel so bad for even doing that. I should smile and be happy to smile, there people to so why don’t you smile at them like you do to your best friends. Think, what would you do […]
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 […]
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 […]
Holly Richmond, East Lansing, MI. I uttered this statement of shame at 12. My Dad said “sorry,nothing you can do about it now so live with it”. My Mom said “behave so you give whitey a good name”. I’ve been trying ever since but I still don’t want to be white!!!!!!!
Melanie Smith, East Lansing, MI.
Sharon Ross, Lansing, MI.
Mark Rudd, Laingsburg, MI.
David Ringlein, Lansing, MI. It’s really not about race; it’s about any way we can separate.
Olivia Brenner, Haslett, MI.
Margaret Levasseur, Grosse Pointe Park, MI.
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 […]
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 […]
Candace Ewing, Lansing, MI. As much as I would love to see race as a topic discussed sole to embrace differences (in a positive fashion) as opposed to still working on tearing them all apart (negatively,) I think the battle is one that will be fought for a very long time. We are moving closer […]
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 […]
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 […]
Shannon Nobles, Lansing, MI.
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 […]
Ruth Volz, Mt. Pleasant, MI.
Fred Kester, East Lansing, MI. We may not be personally responsible for the injustices of the past, but we are still responsible for creating a society where there are opportunities for all and where justice prevails.
Zoë Johnson, East Lansing, MI.
Brian Batayeh East Lansing, MI
Tarah Zdunic, East Lansing, MI.
Hannah Warren, East Lansing, MI.
Debra Farmer, East Lansing, MI.
Marlee Sherrod, Canton, MI.
David H Willis Jr., Lansing, MI. Culture is the collective shared belief system for a group of people. Different cultures can respect, value and grow by sharing. Racism occurs when this breaks down.
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 […]
Dawn Fleming, Lansing, MI.
Dave R. Oakland County, MI Black America has proven me wrong. When I was young and dumb, I believed racism was the realm of idiots and red-necks. As I have grown older, I see the culture of Black America is little more than a drain on society. They and them are words I never thought […]
Alizaye Manigo, Macomb, MI.
Norris Howard Detroit, MI Over 50 people in this bar and you approach the only group of black men and ask them a drug related question. You don’t even see your own ignorance.
Julian Henderson Holland, MI
Aidan O’Connor Grand Rapids, MI People can be raised up to be rasist but no one starts their life doing it. Rasism is not even a thing when you are born, you don’t even know what it is. Being racist is a choice you make. If you chose to be racist it is the wrong […]
Haley B Grand Rapids, MI My parents are adopted. I am a mutt. Both of my parents are darker complected with strong features that I wish I would have inherited as I am pale, blonde and blue eyed; so I get labeled “white.” When I look at the world around me, I see the variety […]
Angelo Saxon Grand Rapids, MI People often mistake me for white because of my light skin. I identify, however, as an Arab, due to my Lebanese ancestry, of which I hold near and dear to my heart. The reclassification of Arabs as “white” by the government in the early 1900’s means that I have to […]
Kiwana Johnston Detroit, MI One of the things I’ve hated hearing the most is, “I didn’t know dark skinned people could be pretty until I met you”. It is a double sided insult that smells of self-hatred when expressed by other black people & cruel ignorance when expressed by other races. It’s as if people […]
Patricia Osborn Grand Rapids, MI People are always surprised when they see me. My last name doesn’t. “match” how I look. Although my parents are awesome and didn’t think twice about any of their children’s spouses race , my aunts and uncles made so many comments ranging from me not wanting to be a true […]
J. Torres Kansas City, MO My father is from Puerto Rico, born and raised. My mother is Colombian. However, raised in Panama. They met in the 1950’s while my dad was in the U.S. Army. Us kids always called ourselves PanaRicans. Until my mother gave us her true background. I attended college in Michigan in […]
Adrian Ohmer Ann Arbor, MI University of Michigan Law
Maggie Kanakri Grosse Point Woods, MI
Sean Ji Ann Arbour, MI The reason I said these 6 words is because ever since I came to the U.S at the age of 2 years old, I never really grew up around other Asian people. My hometown is Ypsilanti, Mi, which is really close to Ann Arbor, but much derided by those in […]
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 […]
Danielle Hayden Detroit, MI My freshman year of college, a boy at orientation (with whom I had only recently become acquainted told me that the only reason I had gotten into the University of Michigan was because of Affirmative Action. This wounded me deeply, and I became obsessed with proving to everyone how intelligent I […]
Martha S. Jones Ann Arbor, MI Submitted via Twitter: @marthasjonesUM
Jenifer Daniels Charlotte, NC As child, I was labeled ‘talkative’ and a ‘trouble maker’…when all along I was really gifted and left to languish.
Tiffany Kosakowski Grand Rapids, MI I feel like I am constantly walking on egg shells because I am white. I have to be careful how I joke, who I like or dislike, even places I go. It is getting a little tiresome to hear people accuse white people of being racist because they do not […]
Melanie Lindgren Grand Rapids, MI I was living in Florida for about four years. Most of the girls I met down there were rich, spoiled, tan, beautiful girls. My grandparents came here from Latvia towards the end of World War 2 and as such, I have blonde hair and extremely pale skin. I would always […]
Melissa Holland, MI I was adopted at three days old and know nothing of my biological heritage. I enjoy feeling as if I’m a mixture of many different ethnicities.
Walter Belbot Comstock Park, MI
Maria Grand Rapids, MI I am an American “mutt” with white skin and German/Irish descent. People all of the time assume that just because my skin is white, that I have a bias for white people and a negative stigma against people of other races. That could not be further from the truth.
Azalea Grand Rapids, MI I’ve made fun of my entire life for my pale skin and red hair. It’s honestly really annoying and once the whole “ginger” thing is brought up I no longer want to talk to that person anymore because it represents their ignorance and the fact that they can’t just accept that […]
James Edward Mills Madison, MI At the young age of 14 Kai Lightner is doing amazing things in the world of sport climbing. In the spring 2013 he ascended exceedingly difficult routes that included Southern Smoke (5.14c) and Transworld Depravity (5.14a) in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky. On the same two-week road trip he […]
James Henderson Houghton, MI I’m a black man. There is this stereotype, that all black people steal, so whenever we walk into a store we are followed around the store and or watched from a distance. I have money and don’t need to steal form anyone. Watch me pay for this.
Jenny Grant, MI Even though my exposure to the outside world is limited, I choose to see others the way I hope they see me: I think; I dream; I hope; I laugh; I love; I am human.
Michele Ypsilanti, MI My darling boys are Chinese and Black but look more racially non-specific; even while I lived in northern CA, what people think of as some sort of center of tolerance, people constantly assumed that since I was Black I was their nanny. Even though they are older now, I still get surprised […]
Brandon Peplau Grand Rapids, MI I am not white; I am American! I have Chippewa, Syrian, German, and Austrian blood in my veins. The only members of my family living in America during slavery were natives here. If you have a problem with white people, leave me out of it.
Brent Beard, Lansing, MI. For a broke college student, I’ve been lucky enough to see more of this world than many people ever will. I’ve discovered in my wanderings that you may meet a Thai bartender who you relate to more than your own relatives. You may have greater difficulties understanding the culture of a […]
Hailey Dodge Grand Rapids, MI Everywhere I go I am always being called white-girl all the time. But the truth of it is that I am not white I don’t blend in with the snow, flour shows up on my skin, and I have blood running through my veins. And to be honest the color […]
Brandi N. Scarlett Lansing, MI When people ask me what ethnicity I am, I get excited. I am so proud to be mixed race. My mother is white and First Nations, and my father is Jamaican. However, I always make sure to tell people no matter WHAT I am, I identify as being black. I […]
Markeisha Miner Detroit, MI
Derrick Duemler Grand Rapids, MI I have had people tell me that I have it easy because I am white and even that I can land a job easier because so. What is not realized is that I struggle as much as the next person with balancing life. My color puts me nowhere ahead of […]
Tien-Cheri Ellis Grand Rapids, MI
Skyler MI I come from a small town that is heavily populated by Mexicans so I was never really exposed to other races like Caucasians, Blacks, Asians, or any other race besides Mexican. It was very rare to see any other race and if I did see other races it was when I would go […]
Eirann Betka Grand Rapids, MI I wish white wasn’t a race. Because where does that mean I come from? I am given five options of classifications to choose from. Five checkboxes. None of which correctly identify my origin, and of all of them, white seems vague and without a home. Where is white? How can […]
Janet Anderson-Davis West Bloomfield, MI University of Michigan Law We need to place less emphasis on race and more on commonality: overcoming daily life challenges with grace.
Glenn Oliver Detroit, MI University of Michigan Law We have to figure out how to create a society where people are comfortable living and working around people of all races.
James N. Humphries Canton, MI University of Michigan Law NO.
Daniel Varner Detroit, MI The University of Michigan Law