From a white teenage girl’s perspective

Victoria N. Fortson, GA My ancestors came to America just like many others. Just because I am white, does not mean my family “owned” “slaves”. When an African American girl says to me “you’re so lucky to have that hair” or “I would pay a lot for some of your hair”, it makes me mad. […]

“I wish I had my n*****-shooter”

Julian Riggs Smith Durham, NH Growing up in a little town in Louisiana during the Second Word War, I found nothing strange about the fact that my white grandparents often ate breakfast and lunch at the kitchen table kitchen with ‘Stell, their black cook, and John, her husband–and that John and ‘Stell never ate with […]

Proudness that reflects a profound sadness

Stacy N Knight New York City, NY Brooklyn The “civil rights movement” has not ended nor has the history eluded my development- It is my current reality. I vividly remember the first time I was called a ni**** at age 5 and the most recent experience of being called “black devil” at age 28.

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, […]

Attorney, Ivy League, still another n*****

Elizabeth Cary New York City, NY I have done everything right in life, yet still I cannot get a cab, people lock their doors and cross the street when they see me coming, I’m stalked by salespeople in stores, I’m “suspicious” when I drive in a nice neighborhood or in a nice car, and my […]

A costume I can’t take off.

Anonymous Athens, GA Centuries ago, on the Horn of Africa, where my parents originated, Arabs crossed the Red Sea then crossbred and/or raped the indigenous Africans. This event has confused generations of “my” peoples’ sense of identity. I pose the question to my mother, “What are we?”, to which she responds, “Look in the mirror. […]

“We beat them fair and square.”

Elizabeth Koopman Cockeysville, MD These were the words spoken to me in 1994 by the president (now deceased) of the University of Maine at Machias regarding my work with the Wabanaki /Passamaquoddy peoples of Eastern Maine, (He followed these 6 words, “They better get used to it.”) This university president was a proud descendent of […]

Ain’t no n***** Santa Claus, kid

Rebecca Lee Hammons Eugene, OR My race card goes out with deepest apologies to and admiration for the nine black students who first integrated the formerly all-white school system in Brookhaven, Mississippi, in 1967 — especially to the youngest of them, a fourth grader whom I taunted with these words. If I could only take […]