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.

Read Kingsblood Royal by Sinclair Lewis

Marsha Surkin, White Bear Lake, MN. I am a white woman, 72 yrs old. When I was 11 I disobeyed my mom and read Kingsblood Royal. This was the first time I was aware of racial diveristy. In the book a man finds out he has a black grandfather and is run out of town. […]


He brought something for his worker.

Erbayne W. Jarvis, Cottage Grove, MN. My six words came out of an experience I had when I went to a government agency deliver some document as part of my work on behalf of a client. I needed help in finding the person to whom I was to deliver the documents. One of the employees […]

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. […]

I’m sorry but it wasn’t me.

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 […]

You’re Indian? With Dot or Feather?

Sam, Morris, MN. I have a grandfather that is fully Native American, from the White Earth Tribe. So my mother is ¼ Native American, and I am less than ¼. My father is mostly German. So I have fairly light skin, and my hair is light brown. In most situations I consider myself Caucasian and […]

It’s been centuries; get over it.

Tiffany Barta, Bemidji, MN. I’m honestly tired of indigenous people always saying, “YOU took OUR land!” Oh, really? I took your land? I personally had nothing to do with that. You must be referring to my ancestors, who weren’t even in this country at the time. Who’s ignorant now?

White is not absent of colour

Elijah Chapple, Morris, MN. For the explanation of this I will use a poem written by a child from Africa: Colour When I was born, I black; When I grow up I black; When I go in sun I black; When I scared, I black; When I sick, I black; And when I die; I […]

Why was I taught we’re superior?

Molly Kampa, Hastings, MN. I identify as a white individual. Throughout my schooling I feel that I was inherently taught that white is the superior race. We were taught that black people went through slavery and that they were, and still are, discriminated against but that is primarily where there story ends in the classroom. […]

You don’t look Native you’re white

Kaylin Jorgensen, St.Paul, MN. I chose these words on more of a personal level but, a lot of people do not believe me when I tell them I am Native American. People assume that the color tone of your skin defines you. When in reality you are who you are no matter what your skin […]

I smile at young black men.

Nena Clark Rochester, MN I am an old, white woman. I work in the govt center and I see all kinds of folks there who probably aren’t having their best day. I try to be pleasant to everyone, but I make a point of being friendly toward young black men. I know that in my […]

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 […]

Why cant I enjoy my heritage?

Jennifer Kerkow Chaska, MN I’m mostly Scottish and German but Im around 1/4 Indian. I feel like I cant fully embrace it and claim it because it isnt the majority of my heritage, although its a part of me that I love. When my great grandparents came to America (from Poland) they didn’t take the […]

SPJ honors Norris for exceptional service to journalism

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7/23/2014 Contacts: Chad Hosier, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 920-4791, Taylor Carlier, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 920-4785, INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to honor Michele Norris as a Fellow of the Society. It is the highest honor given by the Society and is awarded for extraordinary contribution […]


No white dolls for my daughters!

Achilles C., Saint Paul, MN. I am a young African American single father, working hard to make sure my two daughters understand and value their own beauty, in the face of constant imagery and media messages that would suggest otherwise – my oldest was 3 the first time she wanted her hair straight like some […]

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 […]

A Superficial Presumed Judgment of Humans

Kimberly Harwood Lakeville, MN I say this because I’m a white girl whom was blessed to have a Sudanese step-dad for most of her childhood. People usually assume that I’ve had no diversity in my life because I’m white. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. I benefited tremendously as a person having his […]

Do not deny me my heritage.

Jennifer Kerkow Chaska, MN Im Scottish, German, and Indian. It was my Great grandfather who was indian and I love it and want to embrace it and claim it but im told my people I cant because it isn’t a large part of my DNA though you can see it in me.

Lunch? Shhh, wait till he’s gone.

Mark De Francis Sante Fe, MN Hearing the right wing comments on talk radio regarding the Trayvon Martin case I was startled to come to a couple of realizations; 1. The race thing is still live and kickin’ 2. my own deeply embedded sense of white privilege was finally being dragged out into the sun […]


Race=Diversity, not a competition.

Meg Litts, Staples, MN. Maybe we should never have started using the word ‘race’. It prompts comparative thinking. Instead of viewing difference as something to celebrate, we have used it as a weapon for destruction, stepping on one another to rise to the top. The top is a pretty lonely place in that paradigm, whether […]

I’m Asian I can’t forget that

Matt McDonough Morris, MN I chose these six words because I find that I sometimes will forget that I’m Asian just because I’ve been raised in the United States my entire life and live in an Irish-American family where we don’t really practice any traditional Korean customs. Most of my friends are white and it’s […]

How could you date someone like him?

Rachel Kroontje Morris, MN In the past several months, I almost dated two very nice guys who happened to be African American. To my shock and disgust, I had a very close friend who I would have never thought in a million years to be even slightly racist tell me, “It’s disgusting that you are […]

Unlawliness: One of my White Luxuries.

Ben Joselyn Bemidji, MN As a tall white man, I am able to navigate this world in accordance with my conscious and whim without the slightest worry of transgressing rules or laws that are used to fill our prisons with people who don’t look like me…because our justice system treats my actions differently.

Race Card Project creates new type of conversation

JESSE WASHINGTON— Dec. 1, 2012 She asked for just six words. Michele Norris, the National Public Radio host, was starting a book tour for her memoir, which explored racial secrets. Sensing a change in the atmosphere after the election of the first black president, and searching for a new way to engage and listen, Norris […]

Having a foot in two canoes.

Emily Wood Anchorage, AK Growing up in small town Minnesota where the local summer celebration was “Swedish Heritage Days” could be awkward for a girl with a white dad and a Native mom. My parents raised my brother and I to celebrate the fact that we had two sides to us, that we lived with […]

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 […]

Seventeen white and member of NAACP

Gordon McAlister Waconia, MN It’s the 60’s I’m white seventeen and a member of the NAACP It means I’m cool, enlightened, support the cause, and maybe most important not like them For Medger Evers it means you’re dead

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 […]

1966, embarrassed myself saying the “N” word.

Pamela Renkel St. Paul, MN I was 19, in a small, local technical school, with two newly transplanted students from Detroit, who were African American. I was having a conversation and used the “N” word while describing a racially charged event, which my sister was involved in. As the word came out of my mouth, […]

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 […]

He has a black doctor.

Greg Filice St. Paul, MN I work in a hospital teaching hospital. In my 40 years working in healthcare, I have watched as the population of US physicians has changed from mostly white males to a more multi-ethnic mixture with increasing percentages of women. Patients and families have had interesting, sometimes disturbing, and varied reactions […]

Are you sure you’re not hispanic?

Claudia Noronha Madrigal Mankato, MN These words are one of my earliest memories of living in the U.S. I can’t remember for sure where I was, but I think I was submitting my driver’s license application at the DMV. I don’t remember the woman’s face or her voice. I do remember the tone, dripping with […]

What’s worse: Black Man/White Woman?

KIRSTEN SCHOENLEBER SAINT PAUL, MN As a professional woman, I wonder about the differences between racism and misogyny. I have gone to meetings held at a country club. As I walked down a hall lined with pictures of past leaders, all white men, I wondered which would be more bothersome to them: me joining the […]

Don’t judge books by their covers.

Nancy Hassan Fridley, MN What you see isn’t always what you get according to stereotypes. Someone’s race, or ‘cover’ is just the outside, it doesn’t dictate how a person is or how they act. People are so much more than a cover, they’re a book. They have their own stories and they’re not always what […]

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 […]