“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.

Welfare: Black faces televised White missing

Mary Lou Henneman St. Paul, MN Black faces continue to be portrayed as the face of Welfare for televised commentaries and Black voices for radio broadcasts about the welfare system. Although, according to the KSTP.com website where I live, “Forty percent of MFIP-eligible caregivers are white, 37 percent are black, 9 percent are American Indian, […]

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 […]

Spoke about King, classmates shunned me.

Kit Arnquist Longville, MN In 1968 I was a senior in high school. The day after Dr. King was assassinated, the principal asked if anyone would like to speak about him over the intercom. I did. My friends would not sit with me on the bus that afternoon.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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, […]

He couldn’t get away with this

Tracy Audette Brooklyn Park, MN My awareness as our son’s bus driver (black male) watched me (upper-middle class white woman) chew out a police officer (white male) in the parking lot of our school. Long story. It was justified!