jackson 5

OSMONDS BETTER THAN JACKSON 5, WHY?

Juleah Richards, Chippewa Falls, WI. BORN IN 1960; ST.PAUL MINN. LIVED IN WONDERFULLY MIXED NEIGHBORHOODS IN SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS UNTIL I WAS 10YRS OLD. MY MOM MARRIED A FARMER FROM RED RIVER VALLEY. WE MOVED TO SPOT 10 MILES FROM NORTH DAKOTA AND 90MI FROM CANADA. THERE WERE ONLY SCANDINAVIANS AND FRENCH FOLKS. NONE OF MY […]

Don’t speak Spanish to white relatives.

Max Lazzara, Minneapolis, MN. Bilingual when I learned to talk, raised among my father’s Floridian family of Spaniards, Italians, and Cubans, I was just as Hispanic as I was white; but moved by divorce, I joined my mother’s German-Polish Minnesotan family. The message quickly became clear: don’t speak Spanish to white relatives. In a fully […]

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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 […]

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Privilege means responsibility to be better.

Morgan Lavandowska Minneapolis, MN As a 21 year old white woman, I have the privilege of being white that gives me power to do what others can’t. Instead of abusing that power, I prefer to try to help bring positive change to the world and, hopefully, help bring equality for all.

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Enough to make you look pretty

Adrienne Zimiga, Minneapolis, MN. I was born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation my first 12 years. Upon moving from Batesland, SD to Castlewood, SD my caucasian grandmother was concerned that my brothers, sister, and I could face social problems being part Native American (iyeska: mixed blood/race) in an all white community. She told […]

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Who’s that person at your house?

Ismail A., Minneapolis, MN. My name is Ismail and I live in Minneapolis. I am Somali and I live with my family in an apartment building. A lot of different people live in my building, Latinos, Asians, Africans, African Americans and white people. The manager of the building is mean to the Somali people. She […]

You didn’t tell me he’s black

Katherine F., Minneapolis, MN. I met a woman through professional circles when I was recruiting for a volunteer project. As it happens, she lived near me. We formed committees for this initiative and began talking more socially on the phone. I went over to her house a few times for coffee. One weekend she invited […]

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Mexican Irish Girl: agnostic and dry

Joan Socorro Sullivan, Minneapolis, MN. I’m a quarter Mexican and over half Irish, I don’t attend church and I don’t drink. My hair is dark brown, my eyes are blue, I freckle like no one’s business; there’s the black Irish. My hips and bosom refuse to fit in anything smaller than a medium since I […]

THE COLOR OF MY SKIN ~PRICELESS~

Tricia Stewart, Minneapolis, MN. I am bi-racial and I’ve experienced racism from both sides(black and white). You don’t always realize in the moment whether something has an impact on you, whether it be negative or positive; eventually in some form you will feel it. Only you can determine if you’re going to allow it to […]

She gave the eraser back.

Harry Ford, Minneapolis, MN. Race is a difficult subject given the large amount of pain many people of color have experienced related to race within this American landscape. We are people in pain hoping that our contributions will be seen by the others.

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Hmong American muaj lub siab tawv

Janes Lee, Minneapolis, MN. I am a Hmong American male, residing in the most Hmong populated state though we are still very unseen. The service our people provided during the Vietnam War, known to the Hmong people as the Secret War, has been invisible to the public eye. How fitting of it for the invisible […]

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“Fair you entered before my son?”

Heidi Adelsman, Minneapolis, MN. Working for 12 years as a Pipefitter in Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota, I saw few to no people of color or women working in the construction trades unless a large contract required “minorities” to get the contract. One father of a Dunwoody trade school classmate asked if I thought it […]

Not ‘Illegal’ – Human and Deserving Compassion

Tracy Loynachan, Minneapolis, MN. To me, the terms ‘illegal immigrant’ and ‘illegal alien’ are demeaning. These terms are used too frequently, especially when talking about Latinos. Immigration status is not part of the criminal justice system – it’s a separate legal system. While people may be undocumented, they are still people and deserving of compassion. […]

Son can’t speak. May be shot.

Lynnisha Grigsby, Minneapolis, MN. My son has a rare form of Down syndrome. Mosaic Translocation Down syndrome. He wasn’t diagnosed until he was 2 because his overall features are very ‘mild’. It was I, not a Dr., that proposed that he be tested. He’s 8 yrs old right now. He is in a mainstream classroom […]

Mugged by black teens, trust destroyed.

Alison Blomster Minneapolis, MN I think there are some healthy reasons why stereotypes of black male teens exist. After being mugged by 5 black teenage boys wearing hooded parkas, I can understand the fear that any other person, of any skin color could feel when confronted by a black male teen whose eyes cannot be […]

African-American, no. American whose’s black, yes!

Vanessa Minneapolis, MN I HATE the term African-American. I don’t hold citizenship to any country on the African continent so why do people feel the need to call me that. I’m the descendent of people who were forcible sold and brought to the country, raped, beaten, and denied personhood and their rights. They slaved and […]

“We don’t do ethnic hair here”

Sahra Hassan Minneapolis, MN This was said to me by a hair stylist the minute I walked into a salon. Ironically, my hair was cover so she couldn’t tell what my hair type was but she assumed this based on my skin color. Unconscious actions like these can lead to structural racism in our society.

You’ve got to be carefully taught

Kathleen Z. Minneapolis, MN I enjoyed your talk at the Guthrie so much. I listened to it again yesterday and was disappointed the man from Birmingham who was at the church explosion didn’t get on the edited broadcast! Here are my six words from SOUTH PACIFIC: You’ve got to be carefully taught. Here are the […]

I teach. I build relationships with students.

Sarah Brookner Minneapolis, MN I am a white female. I grew up in a wealthy suburb of Minneapolis. My students are mostly Somali, African American and Mexican American. They all have different needs. I care deeply about all of them. Some days are hard for me to connect and relate to their experiences, which are […]

Ashamed that I was completely oblivious

Diana Valentine Minneapolis, MN I am haunted to this day (and I am now 65) that I was so completely clueless about race, civil rights, and justice when I should have known better at age 15 when the March on Washington occurred. I moved from the North to a small town in the South when […]

Why not start at the beginning?

Susan Roedl Minneapolis, MN Like much of the country I’m sad and confused at the Trayvon Martin verdict. How can George Zimmerman claim self defense when he got out of his car to pursue his victim? Why did the trial center on the end of Zimmerman and Martin’s encounter and not the beginning? So much […]

You can raise your daughter white

Nicole Minneapolis, MN As a descendant of Germans and Scandinavians, I am termed WHITE. My daughter is is a strawberry blonde with creamy white skin and blue eyes. Again and again I have been asked how it was possible when her father is an African American. I have heard, “he can’t actually be her father” […]

Being white doesn’t automatically mean racist.

Carstens Smith Minneapolis, MN I quickly learned in the 80s, when my employer mandated attendance on race and diversity, to stay very, very quiet. My comments, questions, and any opinions were met with “Well, you’re white so you don’t understand…” So despite the assumption by some that I am so privileged and racist that I […]

Ex-military, don’t understand my country’s culture.

Alan Hill Minneapolis, MN Why don’t veterans speak of their experience? Because of the culture barriers to understanding. Military veterans don’t yet understand (as a population) that they have a different culture than their country, a separate, distinct, yet invisible, identity. The worst part is they are disconnected from it and therefore unable to express […]

We never saw you as Asian.

Lor Lee Albertville, MN I grew up in Minneapolis, MN and when I moved out to a small rural school district many of my friends suggested that I was just one of the guys. By not seeing my “Asian-ness” were they not validating that part of who I am? I have now worked in the […]

Being white shouldn’t mean being clueless.

Andrew Butz Minneapolis, MN I am white, and grew up not thinking or having to think much about race at all. Made a lot of non-white friends at college and learned a lot about race and privilege, including the reality of thinking about race everyday because you have to. White people are the only group […]

Kenya 1965: child sees poverty, privilege

Jane Alexander Indianapolis, IN I spent two years of my childhood (ages 8-10) in Nairobi, Kenya, where my father was teaching. It was the most formative time in my childhood, and what I saw/learned there informed my adult ideas and character tremendously.

White trash is white for nigger

Lucille R. Coleman Baltimore, MD I was born in 1927 in Indiana where we were white trash during the Great Depression. I know it is easier to escape white trash than nigger but still it wasn’t much fun. Lu

I’d rather be blue- no pink!

Linda Skoglund, Minneapolis, MN The above quote has to do with  a meeting my family had with Ed Solomon several years ago when my daughters were 5 and 3. Ed, as you may know was one of the nicest and gentlest human beings to grace this earth. Sadly, he left us too early but this […]

All 5th grade girls except Mavis.

Phoebe Ruona Minneapolis, MN I went to a little 2-room country school in MN.  There were 3 black kids in our school.  Mavis was in 5th grade with me.  My parents threw a surprise party for me and invited all the 5th grade girls except Mavis.  I remember being angry and sad that she was left out, […]

My great Grandmother cooked for white slave masters

Jerrid Crumo, Minneapolis, MN. Race is something that has been going on for the last 2000 years and will continue to go on for the next years to come, but God says Love everyone and says love your neighbor, if he can love and forgive the people that hung him on the cross why can’t […]