Rafael Rosato, Berwyn, PA. This is my college graduation picture from 1988. I received a bachelor of arts degree from an Ivy League University and a short while later was traveling to New York to join a management training program at a prestigious Wall Street Bank. There were 34 of us in that class and […]
Marie K. Shanahan, Submitted via Twitter: @mariekshan. When you’re not quite minority enough. In 1997 at age 25, I came to terms with my place and my (mixed) race in America. I wrote a personal essay about it for The Hartford Courant: “Mixed Races, Mixed Messages: What Happens When You’re Asked To Choose Between Two […]
Nicholas Pencak, Chicago,, IL. From hailing a cab to asking for help from a stranger. The difference my presence makes when I’m with minority friends is inexcusable and wretched.
Lola Rain, Roseville, CA. Growing up a white kid in a Hispanic neighbor changes ones perspective on what it means to be priviledged and entitled, neither of which I was as an only child but somehow grew into as an adult — most likely because I’m always trying to prove myself. But as I age, […]
Stefanie Walker, Sacramento, CA. Sometimes I just want to dye my hair and see what it would be like to blend into the crowd-to not be defined by my red hair color anymore-to not be a “red head”. Red heads are the biggest minority of all in my opinion, how many do you actually know? […]
Choua Yang, Green Bay, WI. I was one of the lucky to escape Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War conflict. It was 1980 and I was only a baby when I came to the United States. As I progressed through school, I was immersed in western culture everywhere but my home; and it frustrated me […]
Cesar Bazo, Auburn, AL. I know deep inside myself that I belong to a minority group here in the United States. I am a Peruvian living in Alabama. However, the fact that I belong to a minority group does not make me feel inferior or less likely to succeed. On the contrary, I believe this […]
Rachel P., Akron, OH. If you never open your mind, how will you change? As a white person growing up in the Bible Belt, I was taught that any color other than white was inferior. I moved to a school in Dallas, where there were only 10 white students in a school of 800. I […]
Amber Price, Atlanta, GA. I was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I grew up ashamed of my Blackness. I heard the n-word for the first time in elementary school. I prayed every night for God to make me white. At the age of 17 I was told to go sit with the rest of the Blacks […]
Cristina Gonzales, Denver, CO. All throughout my life I’ve worked hard to succeed only to wonder if any success, any award, any accomplishment was truly earned, or if I am just helping someone make a quota, create a statistic, or justify an extra dollar or two. The worst is having a seed of doubt planted […]
Keith F Thompson, Brookline, NH. Growing up as a white male in generally liberal surroundings, I assumed so much. I assumed I knew what racism looked like, and I assumed I would never witness it firsthand.Seeing the Oprah Winfrey Show do the Blue Eye/Brown Eye experiment on their audience was very revealng to me. Overt […]
Kevin Heaven, Sunny Isles Beach, FL. Too many times I find myself as the only minority or Black person at a particular location, I get hungry too, but when I […]
Dan Rice, Ames, IA. As a 55 year old white guy in higher eduction I have been part of dozens of diversity awarness workshops. I teach and present on many subjects concerning diversity issues. After 2 dozen year of such activitiy I finally simply portray and live the fact we are all different – with […]
Katelyn Crombie, CA. I never cared about race until I was in college. Before then, I was adopted from China and grew up in a family that taught me to love everyone, regardless of appearances. I was also blessed with attending a high school that was racially diverse, despite our predominately white neighborhood, and these […]
Michael, Dallas, TX. I went to an all black school where I was 1 of 20 or less white kids. I was beat up, chased home every day, picked on and called white trash. I was bullied to the point of finally dropped out, and decided to get a GED.
Stefanie Bernosky, Houston, TX. I was raised as an All-American girl to an All-American family in an All-American town. I even looked “All-American”, proudly featuring my braces and American Flag sweater in this dated family photo (circa 1994). We can trace my family (both sides) to the United States prior to the United States Revolution. […]
Anonymous, Purcellville, VA. Living in a world where quotas of minorities must be accepted into major institutions, being a white male becomes a disadvantage. If I am paired against a minority of same academic and extracurricular achievements as me, I will most likely be brushed aside. I believe the only true way to make things […]
Emily Carter, Needham, MA. I am un-mistakenly white. I have blonde hair, blue eyes, grew up in a neighbourhood full of other white people, and had teachers who were all white. I have an name that is unmistakably white and very easy to pronounce, yet in a classroom filled with children with difficult sounding, Chinese […]
Jaden Grigg, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. Because I am white, people believe I’m racist. But that’s not the case. In the news, it shows how white people (and police) are killing people who are not their race (mainly African-Americans). With all of this in the news, they automatically think that […]
Jamaal Allan, USA. Listen to Jamaal’s story on NPR’s Morning Edition What’s in a Name? The Poetry Question-Discovering the Relevance of Words As a white male, a majority of majorities, I can’t talk about race. I’m not qualified to. Race isn’t an issue for me, right? Life is easy; things are handed to me. My cup […]
Sarah Sanchez, Midvale, UT. I am Hispanic, black and European but you couldn’t tell by looking at me and I am okay with that. I believe that there may always be a larger number of a particular race through out America but that does not make them the majority nor minority. I I feel that […]
Liza Frolkis, Nevada City, CA. I understand that because modern Jews are descended from multiple populations that ‘Judaism’ is not technically a race. But the truth is that as a student of history and with a serious soft-spot for little things like social justice, the innate right of all human beings to life, liberty and […]
Logan Money, Summerville, GA. As southern citizens, we are often accused of being racist, homophobic, and resistant to change. Some are, but not all of us are. Most of my friends are minorities and that includes homo/bisexuals. as a matter of fact, most of the major towns are culturally diverse.
Bob, Boise, ID. I honestly believe that racism and prejudice has become worse in the last couple of decades because it has become a two-way street. Ethnic “minorities” have pre-judged whites just as whites pre-judge them. Can’t we move on. I have met so many wonderful persons of diverse backgrounds and races …. and yes, […]
Rachel Jennings, American Samoa. I am a proud afatasi: half Samoan (Polynesian) and half Southern white. However, whether I’m living in Tennessee or in American Samoa, I’m always in the minority. I’m made fun of for being palagi (white) while in American Samoa, but experience racism in the States because of my non-white skin.
Angie Cruz, Los Angeles, CA. As a person of brown skin color and Latin heritage, I am often spoken to in Spanish by strangers with the assumption that I only speak that language. It can often be demeaning when people assume that because I have a culture different than the “majority”, I am automatically categorized […]
Tony Reyes, Portland, OR. I’m half Latino. My mother is a white, evangelical, conservative. I came home the night Obama was re-elected and asked if she had heard the results. The above statement was how she very bitterly responded. Apparently people of color aren’t intellectually capable of choosing a president on the basis of anything […]
Nathan Henderson-James, Oakland, CA. 6 words is obviously limiting. However, my 6 reflect my own experience growing up as one of the few white kids in my local public schools. It was an education being constantly in the minority (in school, outside of those walls, I was comfortably back in a white affluent world) and […]
Thomas Paul Lachowsky, Topeka, KS. Where’s my affirmative action?
Jamaal Allan, USA. Listen to Jamaal’s story on NPR’s Morning Edition What’s in a Name? The Poetry Question-Discovering the Relevance of Words As a white male, a majority of majorities, I can’t talk about race. I’m not qualified to. Race isn’t an issue for me, right? Life is easy; things are handed to me. […]
Tyler Kishimoto, Mechanicsburg, PA.
Doug Shipman, Atlanta, GA. The demographic changes seen in the census are at a turning point– race has to change because the categories are rapidly falling with intermarriage, internationalization and the rise of majority-minority in America.
Margaret Hayes, Hopkins, MN. I went to a school that had a large minority student population. I always loved and was proud of my district because of it’s diversity, but for many years I was personally victimized and frequently bullied because of my “white-ness”. When many students saw my skin color they personally blamed me […]
Amanda Claiborne, Pahoa, HI. Asked of me by a typical Hawaiian child of mixed background, brown skin, hair, and eyes. A reminder that blue-eyed freckled folks like me are a minority here.
Meggan Ellingboe, Minneapolis, MN.
Dale Li, USA. Hood Museum of Art, Witness
Barbara Fought, Jamesville, NY. Faculty The most impacting cultural experience for me related to race was when in the 20s I lived in Detroit, a majority-black city.
Anavlis, Syracuse, NY. I am a brown woman from Latin-America, meaning I am a black Latina. I also live in the projects, meaning I am also about as a poor as they come (from a private univesity point of view). I was born with a surprising 4 strikes against me, a quadruple minority who is […]
Barry Irving, Syracuse, NY. …white people are bred from the notion color superiority and first privilege. They don’t see others as equal and that is a distortion that is age old. So when addressing race, the new descendants of old Racism think that they have no blame whatsoever. Even though Their social attitudes are in […]
Rebekah Epling, Ripley, WV. Appalachian people are treated in this country as second-class citizens. It is perfectly acceptable for mainstream media to characterize Appalachian people in ways that would incite outrage and not be published were it about another minority group. Just because the majority of Appalachian people are white, does not mean it is […]
Gregory, Philadelpha, PA. As a Polish immigrant in America I have been faced with many challenges, but one that has always seemed most challenging and bizarre was issue of being white and being treated by others as a minority. As long as people didn’t hear my accent I would fit in, but once my identity […]
Phillip Keys, Milpitas, CA. I am white & grew up in a largely white part of Santa Clara County in California. However, after living in Japan for nearly 10 years, I now live in Milpitas, a city in which “minorities” are the majority, namely 62% Asian per the 2010 Census. By now I am of […]
DMC, Mineral Wells, TX. Who’s fault is it? I was a criminal but “chose” not to be. Am I a minority or white? Stop! Embrace a moral Christian life, I need these rules.
Kim Skillern Samuels, Cleveland Heights, OH. I lived in a neighborhood of black people, and went to an inner city public school. When friends found that I’d be moving to the suburbs they teased me, and said “Those honkeys are gonna chase you home from school.” At the age of six I thought a “honkey” […]
Scott McLean, VA The world is full of millions of people trying their hardest just to get by. They do not have time to be racist. “Racism” is not a problem in the U.S. It is the most diverse country in the world. Go to Japan. Go to Iraq. Go to Scandinavia. Try to be […]
Stacey Seattle, WA The Civil Rights movement was hijacked by progressives. Since that time, they have destroyed Dr. King’s “Dream”. The virtual enslavement of the near-entirety of America’s black populace to the statist ideological plantation is destroying any hope of reconciling the differences between majority & minority. No longer is a man encouraged to exhibit […]
Sheryl Huntsville, AL There are genuinely good people that would discourage racism towards minorities any day, but who unfortunately are extremely ignorant, so their perception of other races are still innacurate and stereotypical. For example, a friend of mine–Black–started working at a law firm. He and his White co-workers were talking about politics one day, […]
Sadie Petersen Philadelphia, PA As a child, the streets of west Philadelphia were my playground. I loved going to school in the area and wouldn’t change a thing about how I was raised and how race was never even noted in my small family of four, which eventually grew to a family of 7. However, […]
Jaimie Nguyen San Jose, CA There are not much Asians in the media, not many Asians exposed in the light. Also, it saddens me how narrow-minded this society is. When there is a foreigner in America of a European descent, we say this person is “exotic”, “sexy”, “edgy”. Then, if there is a foreigner in […]
Jedediah Stegman Polk City, IA No cause, no advocate, just white and male. So little to be inspired by, all our models or “heroes” are flawed and not what we were originally led to believe they were. We stay silent, and with our wives we live the middle road life. 2 kids, 2 cats, 2 […]
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 […]
Nam Nguyen Olmsted Falls, OH
Tony Concorde, NC I am tired seeing white people feeling guilty or responsible for the misfortune of minorities.
Rehenuma Meadville, PA As an Asian American Muslim women, I have been asked many times to represent my “people.” As I have gotten older, I no longer feel eager to do so. I am now more sensitive to who benefits from this type of representation and the effect it has on my own psyche. Sometimes, […]
Laurie Mitchell Dunn Taos, NM In my northern NM community, Native Americans have been here for over 1,000 years and Hispanics for 400 years. Anglos are both minorities and relative newcomers (first arriving about 150 years ago). Even native born Anglos aren’t really accepted as “locals”. The Hispanics here have a saying: “Just because your […]
Stephanie Hawkins Atlanta, GA
Alondra K. Poindexter Arlington, TX I am a doctoral candidate at Texas Wesleyan University. I am currently working on my dissertation “Cultural Identity and African American High School Teachers: The Impact On Their Instruction Of African American Students In Texas”. Less African American Teachers = Lower African American Student Achievement? Segregated higher academic achievement, integrated […]
Leslie Carver San Diego, CA I am a professor & was profoundly affected when I heard a student talk about having been referred to as a “token Latina”. I realized that although I care a great deal about diversity on my campus, I had been guilty of thinking of students that way – as the […]
Alexandra Walling Seaside, CA I go to a “majority-minority” college. The more I get to know my classmates, the more convinced I am that affirmative action and other programs to increase the presence of underrepresented minorities in higher education and the workforce will be to the betterment of all.
Sarah Morris Downingtown, PA Who knew it was difficult to not be part of the “minority”? My situation would be much different if my race were different and I would qualify for much more assistance or could at least apply for things like scholarships. But as it is, I am just a white girl who […]
Nathan Whitelight USA Liberals arguing for racial preferences in our government always give a sob story about a minority who grew up in the ghetto, unlike the Whites all of whom must have been middle class. This simply isn’t an accurate picture of the typical affirmative action beneficiary, most are themselves the children of middle […]
Pamela Payne Foster Tuscaloosa, AL I entered high school in 1972 and was part of an integration experiment in Atlanta GA called the Minority to Majority program where I was bussed out of my neighborhood school which was 100% Black to a neighborhood school 20 miles away which was mainly White/Jewish. Other Black children all […]
Dauda Ladipo Nigeria Grew up and live in both the US and Nigeria. Because of my mixed racial heritage I got used to being viewed as belonging to the local racial minority in both places, even though I didn’t identify culturally with that group. Whereas, the half of me that was local was in fact […]
Sarah Alys Lindholm USA After growing up white in a small upper-Midwestern town with a nearly all-White population, traveling both within and without the US and seeing how race operated in interactions let me see how race was operating in that lack of interaction too. Living as a racial minority in Asia was one of […]
Laura Hurst Cleveland, OH I’ve been living in Santiago, Chile for the past 4 months. The ethnic homogeneity has made me proud and appreciative of the U.S.’s diversity.
Colton Denver, CO An incredibly close friend of mine was one of the only white girls at an African-American/Asian majority school. Months ago she was assaulted at a graduation party by a group of girls, for the main reason of her being a “privileged white girl who needs to be roughed up.” She was kicked […]
Anonymous, Baltimore, MD I am a middle class American female, who, through feminism, was able to come to terms with my real place in this society. Through my ongoing search to define what being a woman means to me, and being an active participant in the debate community, I have come across many pieces of […]
Sino Esthappan Poughkeepsie, NY I define race as a classification of people based on ancestral and phenotypic markers. To me, the significance of race is that it allows someone to gain consciousness of their own position in a highly racialized world, whether it is one of privilege or not. This self awareness provides someone with […]
Morgan Cannata St. Charles, IL I want to experience something different. I have never known what it feels like to be the minority for an extended period of time. It would be a learning experience.
Seth Wittner Henderson, NV My parents were ahead of their time. I was born in 1950, and when I was ten or eleven, my parents arranged for me to go to a young black pediatrician–Dr. William Hewlett, who I recently learned became the first African-American physician to have privileges at Jamaica Hospital. There was a […]
Jean Millard Milford, MI I wanted to be part of the black culture around me because I could see the tight family ties they had. I was bullied by the kids I wanted to connect with. I remember when the first black family moved into the neighborhood. I was shocked by the comments I heard […]
Peter Lorenger Fort Wayne, IN I lived in some rough places, so this might not sound surprising. I have been bullied, pushed around, shaken down, chased and threatened, usually because of my color. I have lived in large, medium and small cities, some near rural areas. I feel like I have been victimized. What color […]
Amanda Simpson Portland, ME
Bay Roehr Wentzville, MO In this day and age, I feel that many minorities tend to group up together. The whites that do try and reach out to other races, and minorities are often rejected for not having the same background/culture as them.
Tara Jackson, MS They go to the highest scoring elementary school in the state of Mississippi which happens to be 98% African- American. My kids are white and they don’t care about skin color and because of their school probably never will, I hope.
Barbara Rodriguez, Florence, SC. Yes, they both are Cuban. The look of shock never ceases to amaze me. Is it because I’m blonde and have green eyes…yes! Is it because of where I live…yes! Growing up in New York, everyone I knew could tell me about their heritage. My neighborhood was a perfect melting pot […]
Peter Kim Los Angeles, CA Heard the phrase “majority minority” on the radio the other day. I know exactly what they meant and I have heard it many times before, but it irked me. Used to express when an ethnic minority is greater than 50% or outnumber the “majority.” The implications are that the majority […]
Submitted via Twitter: @shannon2818
Judy Jessick Fresno, CA In the early 70s, agencies turned us down unless we wanted to adopt a son w/mental or physical disability or a minority child. We applied for a multi-racial child. People freely voiced their opinions (we are Caucasian), including the one above that we were not Dale Evans-Roy Rogers who could adopt […]
Dena Boyd Lincoln, IL In high school my Chinese friend, Zeyi, asked me to help her sell some Chinese food at the Chinese festival in Peoria called DuanWu Party. I went with her expecting to see of course many Chinese people and a few from other different ethnic groups. When we arrived and I helped […]
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 […]
Sister Kathleen Reilly, UAC, CSAC Union City, NJ The above summarizes my main prayer when the movement for racial equality got started. I think of myself as more a part of it now than I was then as I am now teaching in a predominantly minority high school. A large percentage of the young men […]
Jan Ramer, Indianapolis, IN. I lived in Rwanda for 2.5 years, and got a small taste of what it is like to be in the racial minority. The larger lesson for me was that we humans can define “other” in many ways, not simply the color of our skin, and even more importantly, we CAN […]
Sarah Nesbitt Dallas, TX I guess you could call this an epidemic of the current generation. Race is now often viewed as a factor to be manipulated, suppressed, and revealed at convenient times. Students are white as far back as they can remember, but the minute the CommonApp goes online, they feel the ache and […]
Dennis Searcy, AR I know a man, a white man, who is upset lately about the possibility of the Redskins changing their name. He thinks it’s silly for Native Americans to complain about it, that they should feel honored, that he would feel honored if he were in their position. I tried explaining to him […]
Jennifer Chow Brookline, MA We seem to occupy this in-between space, identified as neither a minority, nor the majority. Where are we?
Richard Young Dallas, TX Many people believe affirmative action programs seek to remedy past injustices in hiring. These programs help balance current discrimination practices, especially in professional hiring practices. The tall white candidate will get the job over the more qualified, better prepared minority 75% of the time. Minority candidates with less than stellar backgrounds […]
Thuc Luong Philadelphia, PA I am Asian and when I was a kid about 6 years old I moved to the US, this is when I finally feel like a minority. People treated me wrongly calling me Chinese. I am not even Chinese. They would mock the Chinese language by saying ching-chong macha hay to […]
Adja Toure Annandale, VA Not a day goes by without at least one schoolmate telling me I’m white. But only on half of these occasions do I defend myself. My parents are not American, so my upbringing is quite different than that of other black students I am acquainted with. As an advanced student, I […]
Lael Weyenberg Worthington, OH Growing up white in Hawaii is a unique experience in race – you’re a minority in number but not an “economic minority”. You watch yourself and don’t act better than others. I was beat up twice for being in the wrong place but didn’t feel unsafe in my home. It is […]
Lisa Aragon Duque San Diego, CA Growing up Hispanic from New Mexico, in Hawaii, mistaken for a white girl. I was neither accepted nor rejected. I felt stuck in the middle. I felt wholly Hispanic in a white world and no one ever questioned me because of my fair skin. Hispanics of all cultures still […]
Alex Summit, NJ Technically on this planet I am a majority being of Chinese decent and male, but growing up in suburban white northern NJ I had no minority friends and sometimes would be painfully aware that my immigrant family was quite different from all my friends. All of whom didn’t even have a relative […]
Erik Van Oosten Ann Arbor, MI
Debby John-Shadle Sacramento, CA
Claudia Delatorre Louisville, KY So much too say. I am Hispanic, white and grew up middle class. I have had Hispanics say I am not Hispanic enough because of the way I look and because I did not grow up in a ‘bario. I have gone shopping with my mother and spoken Spanish; store associates […]
Michele Kacmarcik Savin Wilmington, DE When I listened to the report on Wednesday I ached for my daughter… whose birth mother, my husbands first wife, was adopted from Korea. She was teased on the bus as a first grader, and told to go back where she came from… which was Wilmington Delaware! I never imagined […]
Jeremiah Harding Yucca Valley, CA As a straight white male, I am automatically viewed as the boogeyman in cultural issues. People who haven’t even stopped to talk to me will assume things about me. Things like “likely rapist,” “oppressive force,” “obviously he’s got it great… white ‘privilege’.”‘ All stemmed from the fact that white people […]
Jana Ditton , Submitted via Twitter: @janaditton. @totn @michele_norris
Richard Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan