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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Easily suspended, can destroy their lives.

Jill Shortreed Maplewood, MN My nephew is half Native American. He was kicked out of school for carrying a box cutter in his pocket that he used at work. There is a zero tolerance policy, so even though he had only a few months left before graduation, he wasn’t just suspended, he was kicked out. […]