What’s wrong with the N word?

Ugo, Spencer, WV. Racism is a problem, I will admit that, but I also think that if black people don’t want to be called the N word by white people, then STOP CALLING EACH OTHER IT. I constantly hear black people throwing the word around to each other, but then suddenly a white person says […]


I’ve freed myself from being “N*****”

Lamar Johnson, Knoxville, TN. I used to get so upset when someone used N***** to describe me. I then realized that I got upset because I thought of myself as a N*****. When I chose not to believe I was a nigger, I became free of the word and it no longer has an impact […]


Brown girl rejected with red blood

Anonymous, USA. Grew up as the only little brown girl in class, always having to explain why my hair grew up to the skies when it rained and the humidity took control of my tresses, then drew tightly too my head. Never getting assistance from the PTA moms passing out red and black combs on […]


Chased and called Jap in Detroit.

Joyce Fidler, Toluca Lake, CA. In 1956 I was in first grade, my mother was Japanese-Hawaiian, and I knew nothing about WWII. I didn’t realize my mother was part Japanese, nor did I know why anyone should care. Years later in high school I failed to grasp why students on my Indianapolis school bus would […]

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Prayed God would make me White

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 […]

You’re the doctor?! Not a nurse?!!

Nima Scott, Madison, WI. I’m a Black, dreadlocked woman who works in a psychiatric facility. My first week on my unit a Black patient incredulously yelled that he had NEVER seen a Black doctor in the hospital in all of the years that he lived there. Apparently, neither had my peers whose sole framework for […]

Struck for Dancing with Blacks, Why?

M C Antone, Ft Lauderdale, FL. In 1969 I told my parents that I would rather dance with the black kids at a high school dance. My father stated he did not want anyone calling his daughter a “n*****” lover. I retorted “I am and I’m proud of it” Then he struck me. I can […]


Will My Children Know White Privilege?

Ellie Myers, Saint Louis, MO. I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri where the tension around race politics is palpable. Race never played a big role in my life, because it never had to. That is, until I started dating black men. I remember friends in high school joking about me going to, […]

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Witnessing people confusing anecdote with fact

Deborah Robinson, Los Angeles, CA. I grew up in profoundly white Eugene, Oregon, where I’d laugh at banners emblazoned, CELEBRATE DIVERSITY. “What, as long as it’s not here?” I’d wonder. Yet the whiteness of my hometown did not mean it was a racially hostile one. I nurtured no ill will for folks from different walks […]

The fiction of whiteness imperils humanity.

Evan Sorem, San Diego, CA. I am a human being. I have lived nearly all my life in California. My ancestors have lived in California, Illinois, Wyoming, Utah, Tennessee, Virginia, Norway, France, Italy, England, the Netherlands and who knows where else. So, people view me as a “white” person. In my 40’s, I have learned […]


Black-white man; white black man

Kirl T. Lawson, Oakland, CA. I have so many tales to share about my experience with my color (or lack of “definitive color recognition”). growing up in Chicago, I was called “a white n*****” by friends at times w/ affection and at times derisively. Initially the appellation hurt my feelings until I took an objective […]


Black man, white girl kissing; beautifully scared.

Tracey Rae Palmer, Myrtle Beach, SC. I was told never to kiss a n***** or get close to them; they would only rob you or kill you for money. I found myself in collage in 1979 and a black man got an “A” in his class. With arms held wide and incredible excitement, he kissed […]

African-Americans are more racist

Corey, USA. 93%-95% of African-Americans voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Is it a coincidence that Obama is African-American? African-Americans can call each other “n*****” and freak out when white people use the word in a non-insulting way. They call white people crackers and they don’t care. If someone commits a crime towards an […]

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. […]


Ashamed of American Black culture today

Keville Bowen, Chester, PA. I’m a Black man of three countries. Born in Trinidad, moved Canada and ended in America. Though I have little memory of Trinidad, my recollection of Canada and America are vastly different. I was only know as a Trini in Toronto and as I gained friends, I referred to them as […]


Define my integrity, not my identity.

Erin Powell, Washington, DC. “Are you sure your dad is really black?” “If you imagine her with curly hair, you can tell she’s mixed.” “You look straight white, nothing else.” “Ugly half n*****.” Just a taste of the both disparaging and conflicting comments I’ve received on my YouTube vlog about my personal experience being biracial. […]

We don’t let n****** shop here.

Nzingha Shakur-Ali, Dallas, TX. First week of college, 1999, Abilene Texas. went to an off the way antique shop. The store owner didn’t want me there, and let me know it. About 5 other people in the store, all white, glaring at me.

I try, my racism seems hard-wired.

Tim Buer USA My maternal family was from the South. The N-word and racial slurs were part of normal conversation. Those old tapes still roll. My thinking has changed a lot for the better, but I’m not there yet.

Go Ahead and Call Me Cracker

Jackie Barclay USA Years ago, I had a run-in at a convenience store with a black woman who apparently hated me because I’m white. I didn’t know the woman and had never gone to that store before but she started calling me a huzz, a bitch, etc. Just when I was getting angry enough to […]

“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 […]

Still have a long-way to go

Nell Date Trinidad It hard to think after all this, the black race still call them self n*****. I find my-self as a black woman that we still lack the respect for ourself. May be some days we can be mentally free. No one talk about this any more it is sad that we hold […]


Utopia is a nonexistent colorblind world

V. Anne Spence, Powhatan, VA. Would I have been called a “N****” if my skin were white”? Growing up in El Barrio and the Bronx in New York City was I called the “N” word by a redheaded transit cop at 12. The last incident occurred in a store in here Virginia. I was in […]

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.

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 […]

Teaching my kids to see people.

Mike L. Atlanta, GA I grew up in Atlanta GA during the 60’s. While I loved my grandparents I couldn’t understand why they thought the ice cream truck vendor was such a “nasty”, “dirty” and “diseased” man! “Mr. Jones” (as he politely asked us to call him) always had a smile on his face and […]

Rural Alaska, six blacks, my family.

Lydia Taylor Memphis, TN I was born and raised in Alaska. When I was 4, my father got out of the Air Force and accepted a job as a State Trooper in Dillingham, Alaska. He moved from Anchorage to Dillingham first, to start his job as we as find us a place to live. We […]

It’s hard to overcome your history

Taylor Hern Harrison, AR I was raised a white person in a very, very, very white town in Arkansas with a reputation of hanging people off bridges. A lot of people use the N word or use other out dated (or flat out offensively) terms when referring to African Americans or other minorities. Overcoming that […]

What happened to the word “negro”?

Amy Connelly Provo, UT In teaching about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to my high school students, I had to pause and do some research when I ran across the word “negro” repeatedly used by Dr. King in both his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. I did not know […]

Kendra, 2: taught to exclaim “n*****”

Rebecca Zeissler Salem, IL I was Kendra’s teenaged babysitter. One day, before he left for work, Kendra’s father gleefully showed me the new “trick” he was teaching his daughter. He turned on the TV and waited for a black person to appear on screen. When this happened, he pointed to the person and asked Kendra, […]

I wish the voice would stop.

Al Atlanta, GA I was born 51 years ago. I grew up with a father who would definitely be considered racist today, but was probably just typical blue collar in those days – kind of an Archie Bunker figure. I heard the N word at least a dozen times a week. Fast forward to my […]

How can I not be Racist?

Mary Leslie Tappahannock, VA I’m not racist, I don’t want to kill or torment people because they aren’t white like me. My mother taught me not to use the “N” word. But that isn’t a complete truth about racism. My mother taught me not to use that word by yelling at me to Never Ever […]

I come from very racist country.

Elmar David Czech Republic I come from Czech Republic. I was raised knowing that Roma people are less that us whites. That the white race is the to tier, and that I am very lucky I was born white. Nowadays I still have some friends who are raising their kids that way. I see CZ […]

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, […]

“I’ll never hire a damn n*****!”

Jay Grabow Omaha, NE I’m a white, middle-aged, male that used to believe the racist stereotypes that I was taught growing up. Two events changed my thinking about race. One was a vicious fight I witnessed when a white teen bullied black teen over the fact that he was black. When the black teen fought […]

Good intent can still be racist.

Thomas Hei Newcastle, WA It doesn’t matter if one uses the N-word maliciously or benignly not intending to harm, it can still be racist. If I accidentally hit someone in my car, I am still held accountable.

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 […]

The “N” word hurts all of us

Jay McCord Virginia Beach, VA I have worked as an actor and music video producer for over a decade and I am always uncomfortable when someone uses the N word in any context regardless of the originator. To me it continually ties our generation to the horrors of the countries past. Like Maya Angelou said […]


Eeny. Meeny. Miney. Moe. Catch a…

Auguste Budhram, USA. Anyone who has ever been in the minority remembers the first time a word knocked the wind out of them. As a child, my first time came packaged in a rhyme known by everyone– making the blow feel conspiratorial and that much worse. The rhyme is part of every 10 year- old’s […]

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 […]

Stop right there you little n******s!

Dale Jimison Henderson, TX This is what was said to me and my younger brother when we were kids all because we had approached a house that had a huge yard covered with leaves. We simply wanted to ask if we could rake the leaves for some money and the guys comes out of his […]

“Ghetto” is the new “N-word”

M. Griffin Tampa, FL As a public high school teacher I hear this word thrown around often and generally it is applied to brown skinned students. The exception is when your white and you’re “acting” like one of the brown-skinned students. I use the term “brown skinned” because many of the white students equate brown […]

There’s nothing wrong with my hair!

Deborah King Bolingbrook, IL I was 7 years old the first time I had my hair straightened with a hot comb. For the next 25 years, my world revolved around the maintenance and condition of my hair. Moving to another city, the first order of business was to find a hair dresser. The never ending […]

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 […]

2012, 16, got called a n*****

Kianna Young Sacramento, CA True Story. One day I was walking my dog down the street and talking to a friend on the phone, I see a guy walking in my direction but I didn’t pay him any attention. I didn’t even know him. He continues to walk down the street and I continue to […]

Fear anyone different. Close your mind.

Jeanine McElwain, Davis, CA. “Another possibility was: What does N****r mean, Mom? (5 words) This is a question I had as a child in the early 1960’s, growing up in an all-white, working class neighborhood where white kids used the N word to tease/insult each other. When I first heard it, I thought it was […]

Skin is white, race is HUMAN!

Janet Urban Aurora, IL I was raised in a small all-white town and never saw a black person except on TV until I was 17 (1975). From the first experience I was confused as to racism. What I saw was fellow human beings who happened to look different. From that point on I refused to […]

Racism: Ignorance justified by an ignoramus.

Joseph Reeves Paducah, KY Define the word N….. and get busy if it defines U! I am of confused heritage and descendant of lost stories. My history has been lost so I fight not to allow the Black Hole of my genetic pool to swallow me whole. Who am I? Why won’t they talk? I […]