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You’re not asian,You’re White.

Kristine Ratanaphruks Durham, NC I look ethnically ambiguous and, at times, I pass for white. I grew up watching white men call my father “boy” — I’ve heard countless racist remarks made by people who don’t realize my heritage — I’ve heard the question ” What are you? ” too many times to count and […]

Black good samaritans, or would-be robbers?

Samuel C. Johnson, Keezletown, VA. I am a white man now 67 years of age. In May, 1968 (a month after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) I had just completed basic training in the Army in North Carolina, and was on my way to my home area near Philadelphia. I got off […]

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Not from here, not from there.

Adriana Caicedo Hart , Indian Trail, NC. I was born in Colombia, I came to USA in 2003. My physical features, my accent and my skin color say I am not born in American, they say I belong to a different culture; but when I go back to my home country for a visit, I […]

Skin not prison, come touch heart?

Linden Gibson Raleigh, NC I will never get used to being looked at by total strangers as a threat to their safety just by walking down the street. I see the fear in the averted looks, how they step aside or suddenly have something important to say to a companion, or seem to need to […]

No, I don’t tan or perm.

Daniela Charlotte, NC Some people look puzzled when I say I am half Japanese. They tend to ask me if I perm my hair or go tanning because typically Japanese females have pin straight hair and fair skin. However they don/t seem to pay attention when I say HALF Japanese (I am also half Peruvian).

You’re not from these parts, huh?

Steven N. Pembroke Pines, FL I am Hispanic, born and raised in New York. I served in the Marine Corps from 1988 to 1992 and was stationed in Jacksonville, NC. I was on my way to Fayetteville to visit some friends and got lost on the way. I stopped at some convenience store to ask […]

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School integration enriched my white life.

Cynthia Waszak Geary, Baltimore, MD. I grew up in Durham, NC and attended Hillside High School as part of the first court ordered desegregation plan to achieve racial balance. I am heart broken that since that time there has been a steady and deliberate re-segregation of schools in the US. I am hoping for leadership […]

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Black girl attitude, but sounds white.

Khuwailah Beyah, Durham, NC. For as long as I can remember people have said to me, and sometimes to my mother, the I “talk white” or that I’m trying to be white because of the way I speak and some of the things that interest me. I have never quite gotten this. I don’t have […]

My Swahili children: chai ya maziwa

Paula Gormley Greensboro, NC I am white. My children are from two separate worlds: United States and Tanzania. We are living in the US, but I am grooming them for lives in which they, children of privilege, will have an obligation to help their African brothers and sisters. I always tell people that they have […]

The plantation haunts my gay marriage.

Erik Shawn Frampton, Charlotte, NC. I am the descendant of a line of plantation owners in South Carolina. As a gay man, my upcoming marriage will finally occur on our 20th anniversary together. My larger southern family struggles to see my identity as sacred, just as they struggle still to see minority life as sacred. […]

Just like a ‘lectric clock ticking

Jimmy Hair, Charlotte, NC. A hard working black man I worked construction with 44 years ago used to say this. He meant it about his steady and prodigious work output, but I think of it now in terms of the slow but steady progress of improved race relations.

When’s the next bus for Lobeco?

Joe Fournelle, Stuarts Draft, VA. Spring 1969. I was a 20-year-old Marine at the Greyhound bus station in Beaufort, SC waiting for transportation to Cherry Point, NC via commercial bus. An “old” (older than me anyway) black man approached me and asked me to find out when the next bus bus for Lobeco was. I […]

Sexism: worse than racism. It’s complicated.

Woman, Raleigh, NC. Yes, racism exists and at times, thrives, but if you’re a woman of color, you’re more likely to be affected than your male counterparts. Sexism, an outworking of centuries of patriarchal systems – systems that allowed for racism in the first place – makes every “ism” it’s present in worse. So, when […]

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White Parents Raise Beautifully Diverse Children

Louise Bannon, Holly Springs, NC. Raising, playing, growing and living as a diverse family is an extraordinary experience. It brings both good days and tough days – obstacles and disappointments, laughter and lightheartedness. The journey is full of stares – stares full of curiosity, stares full of love and stares of hatefulness from the people […]

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Yes, I’m white. Inside and Out.

Hayley Burgette, Durham, NC. Some people say I don’t act like I’m white but I’m just an ordinary country girl. Sometimes I can be as southern as it gets and you can tell in my voice but other times I’m out of control.

Will you still talk to me?

Susan Duncan, Bristol, NH. When I was in the fourth grade, my family moved from Concord, North Carolina, to Leaksville (now Eden), North Carolina. Our street, Patrick Street, was parallel to Henry Street and the dividing line between the “white” neighborhood and the black/African-American neighborhood. Our next door neighbor, Miss Mary, had a large yard […]

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Black Vietnamese. Speak spanish. Eat rice.

Hao Nguyen, Durham, NC. I wanted to say… Black Vietnamese. Speak english, spanish, vietnamese. Eat suong kho, pho, and corn dogs. Words that describe my mixed race/heritage children. Having to choose only 6 words, I had to put them in order of words that most describe them. Having to choose what comes first — black […]

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Yellow: Neither White Nor Black Enough

Yuri Yamamoto, Raleigh, NC. I am a Japanese immigrant. I sometimes feel lost in this society where race is all about black and white. I often feel that I am neither white nor black enough to contribute significantly to a diversity conversation, most of which seems to be about reconciliation and healing from the slavery. […]

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Failed to befriend first black student.

Lynn Scott Cochrane, Washington DC. I grew up in a deeply segregated Charlotte, NC in the 1950s and 60s. When my high school, North Mecklenburg, was finally integrated in about 1963, there was one black girl who always sat alone in the cafeteria. She may have been the only black girl in the school that […]

WHITE feminism. I live with contradiction.

Danielle Nelson Winston Salem, NC I’m proud to be a feminist, but I’m not proud of the unspoken privilege that comes with being a white feminist. Fighting privilege with privilege? It’s so contradictory, yet I cannot ignore both these parts of my identity. WHITENESS consumes me every day, every minute, but because it’s so ingrained […]

I don’t hear any banjo music here.

Kim Conner, Rutherfordton, NC. I always have to defend myself when people learn I am from the South. I’m a 42 year old white woman, married with kids, and I was born and raised in Upstate South Carolina. I am a first generation college graduate, as in my husband. I have an accent. I’m proud […]

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Not All Mixed People Are Biracial.

Ashley L., Durham, NC. For much of my life, people have asked and assumed that because of the way my sister and I look that we have one black parent and one white parent. While it’s true that we technically have mixed ancestry, both of our parents identify as black, as did their parents before […]

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Your family’s not inbred…are you?

Katie R. Phillips, Green Mountain, NC. I might be white, but growing up in the Southern Applachians is definitely its own ethnic identity. I didn’t truly understand this until I went to college, and brought friends home with me for the first time. One of my friends actually asked me if my family was inbred […]

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Yes, you are all my family!

Hillora Lang, Burgaw, NC. As a person with Asperger Syndrome I have always felt estranged from the human race. In high school I began working on my family tree, and it really helped to ground me and allow me to feel a connection to past generations. When doing genealogy research last year I discovered a […]

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I am unique, beautiful, and gifted.

Ciara Chavis, Greensboro, NC. I am proud of me, who I’ve become and I will continue to grow. I am also proud of where I come from and grateful for the path my ancestors has paved for me. I am beautiful, unique, and gifted . This will forever be true, and my race does not […]

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Why don’t Afro Americans row?

Felix Muhlebach, Chapel Hill, NC. I was at the Head of the Hooch, 2nd biggest rowing event in the US. More than 1600 crews. More than 5000 athletes. I saw only one Afro American crew. No mixed race boats. Check on attached event picture file. Statistically, one out of 5 athletes should be Afro American. […]

I’m afraid I’ll hurt your feelings

Eileen Morgan, Durham, NC. #afterferguson I’m part of the “dominant” race with privileges that I did not earn. I’ve been listening and learning about racism a long time, but many times I still “goof up” and say stupid things that hurt the feelings of people of color. I’m really tired of this separation and am […]

Not White Enough, Not Hispanic Enough

Eliana Rodriguez, Winston Salem, NC. I hate the feeling of rejection from the Caucasians I grew up with and the Hispanics that come from my culture. Ive always felt alienated from the white students in my schools but it hurt even more to find out that people from my own culture didn’t accept me cause […]

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I’m a bridge between two worlds.

Jazmin Whitmore, Asheville, NC. I am the result of two worlds but I was only raised in one. My father was Jamaican and my mother was European/Native American mix. My mother raised me. Although it was not her intention she raised me to be “white”. I did not realize how devoid I was of my […]

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Taught all wrong, now teaching others

Steve Jones, Durham, NC. I grew up in a segregated community and the concept that African-Americans (of course, not the word that was used) were inferior. It took a long time to get out of that mindset and even longer to acknowledge the privilege that comes with my white skin. It’s a privilege to be […]

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It’s okay to be black, Promise

Maureen Shaw, Durham, NC. Thank you for doing this. This is a photo of my mother’s family, this is the reason why I wrote it’s okay to be black. I look at it an feel so proud of this photo. We let ourselves believe we are a people are people with shattered history. I’ve discovered […]

I wish I was more white

Lynn P., Raleigh, NC. My mother is white and my father is black. I am light skinned and proper speaking but not white enough in skin tone. I do not think I should have to choose a side, so why as me to? I wish I was more white skinned, then I would feel accepted. […]

Jew is not Race, it’s religion

Joseph Ratner, Morrisville, NC. This is interesting because as a child friends would ask me what I was nationality and I always said Jewish. As I got older I had to evaluate the reasons and now at half a century old I think I get it now Being Jewish is an identity. we have Jewish […]

Would All My Ancestors Love Me?

Melissa U., Charlotte, NC. My Taino people would love me, from my plump lips to my curly hair. My African people would love me from the rhythm in my hips to the powerful thoughts in my mind. My Spanish people, they might deny me, but I can’t deny them. They are in my language, they […]

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Cute when thin, angry when fat

Nicole McFarlane, Fayetteville, NC. I’m a 43 year old black woman who has spent most of her adult life living and working in the South. I notice that when my weight fluctuates I’m perceived differently — as different stereotypes associated with my race, gender and sexuality. At times when I’m heavier, many assume me to […]

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I’m Appalachian–it’s an invisible ethnicity

Catherine Vance Agrella, Asheville, NC. I’m white, and by definition am associated with some of the worst perpetrators of racism. But I also come from deep Appalachian Scots-Irish roots and have a clear ethnic identity. I do know what it feels like to be mocked for my speech, or thought of as a dumb hillbilly, […]

Studying slavery makes me feel ashamed.

Sam Henry, Ashville, NC. As a white male Social Studies teacher I always have a difficult time teaching slavery. From what I know about my family tree I don’t have any family members that owned slaves but that is hardly the point. It is a shameful period in our history but one worth studying. I […]

YOU OWE ME EQUALS FOREVER VICTIM

James W. Smith, Southport, NC. UNTIL BLACKS STOP BELIEVING THE VICTIM INDUSTRY MESSAGE, CHAMPIONED BY MILLIONARE SPOKESMEN AS JESSIE JACKSON AND AL SHARPTON THEY WILL ALWAYS LAG BEHIND OTHER MINORITIES WHO KNOW THAT ADVANCEMENT DEPENDS ON PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND HARD WORK.

Am I Hispanic enough to ‘count’?

Alix Sotomayor, Boone, NC. I have always felt suspended between two worlds, since my ethnicity is widely varied (like that of most Americans). I am mostly (~70%) white, of Scots-Irish and English descent, but also have a chunk (25%) of Puerto Rican heritage (the missing ~5% comes from smidges of Native American and German ancestry). […]

Couldn’t convince grandmother slavery was immoral

Denise Pierce, Sterling, VA. My grandmother who was born in NC in 1901 and lived to be 105 tried to instill in me a love for my land-owning ancestors who also owned slaves. At 99 she was still quoting from the KKK playbook that taught slaves were lucky to have been brought to America and […]

People ask, are my children adopted?

Amy Hueitt Gastonia, NC I am black and white. My children are black and white! Genetics play an important role in how we appear. My son looks Mexican because his dad was Mexican! My daughter looks Mexican white because her dad was white! God truly has a sense of humor and He makes no mistakes, […]

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One man. Indivisible. Black. Gay. American.

Alva Jones Jr. Greensboro, NC I’m a bit of a focal point of discrimination in this country. As a Black man I’m viewed as a threat. As a gay man I’m viewed as an abomination. These views have by no means been universal in my travels, but the reality of their existence is no less […]

I am an immigrant, and white

Tom Dierolf Brevard, NC If you saw a photo of me among asian, black and latino faces, and asked to pick the immigrants to the U.S., you would probably not pick me. But I immigrated from Germany in 1960, and I know that all of the others in the photo could have had family living […]

I don’t want to be racist

P Morehead City, NC I am a white female and I am not racist at all. But sometimes I find myself with thoughts or fears that feel a little racist. Where is this coming from? I don’t want to have those thoughts or fears about other people because of their race. That is wrong.

Native Americans swept dead under rug.

April & Bill Ledford Carrboro, NC Native Americans and their contributions to US history, heritage, music, culture, food, customs — along with the often ignored, horrible American Holocaust — are still swept under the rug on a continuous basis in the media, history books, and everyday American society. The fact we have an NFL team […]

For tradition’s sake, we mock others.

Kyle McDonald NC A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I got in an argument about race and sensitivity that started from watching football, of all things. I mentioned something about the fact that, if you think about it, the team the Washington Redskins is pretty offensive. His thought was “who cares?”. “People these […]

Why me, I’m not a slave owner??

Jo Pembroke, NC Why call me racist because im white and believe in traditional values… i feel its not fair I can help what people did before my time. if so shouldn’t black Americans hate Africans for selling them to European traders also??

I’m part white, Cant prove it

Justice Littlejohn Cherokee, NC Being Cherokee and living on a reservation you don’t grow up white, even if you are only half cherokee and half white. Tourists that come to the reservation always claim they are part cherokee. They are so proud of it. I don’t understand why they kinda get offended when I say […]

Forcing diversity is what causes neo-segregation.

Ted Willis, Jr. Cary, NC As a teacher, I have seen how, with each passing generation, race is becoming less of an issue with my students. Most of the racial tension is bred from their parents and the time frame most of then grew up in (however, the parents are become the generation in which […]

White privilege is power. Listen. Act.

Stephen Wollentin Asheville, NC In the words of French philosopher Voltaire, ”with great power comes great responsibility.” I believe it is my responsibility, as one with power, to listen to and validate the experiences of those for whom discrimination is a daily reality and to exercise my privilege in support of equality and appreciation for […]

“If you’re Puerto Rican, I’m white!”

Casey Creech Pinehurst, NC My mother was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico and my grandmother was raised in San Juan. All of my cousins have dark hair and eyes and tan so easily, but I don’t. I am snow white with green eyes and freckles but thick, thick spanish curls. When I bring up my […]

Personhood comes first; race comes second.

Jarrod Bennett Bennett Hunterville, NC I’m a heterosexual white Christian male. Every day, this notion that I’m more privileged than everyone else, and that I have to “level the playing field” in the name of “equality” is shoved down my throat. Helping and caring about people shouldn’t even involve race. It should involve who the […]

Code-switching: an asset, not a crime.

Molly Wanless Chapel Hill, NC To develop and maintain respect in my middle school English classroom, I teach that there are many “right ways” to talk and write. With technology and society being what they are today, no one owns or “rules” the conventions of our language. My students understand that their language and mine […]

Separate but equal was the goal.

Glennette Clark Washington DC Integration did a great disservice to black people in that we thought that we achieved a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Teachers stopped caring about students and students stopped caring about achieving. Instead, we became “affirmative action’ed” because we lowered our expectations of ourselves along with everyone else. […]

People judge me because I’m black

Devika Lee Chapel Hill, NC I see your expression. When I say the first three words, and your eyebrows go up because I don’t speak in ebonics. I’m sick and tired of people watching me closely when I walk into a store. I hate when the media makes my entire race look stupid. I’m black. […]

Place change in my hand, please.

Gwendolyn Simmins Hope Mills, NC There are customer service people who give change by placing it on the counter instead of placing the change into the customer’s hand. My response to this is not silence. I say: I handed you my money. Place my change in my hand, please.

Am I smart because I’m white

Derek Kendall Cullowhee, NC Why Is it when people see a African American student going to college they automatically assume that he must be here on a to play sports. On the other hand when white people are at college its only because they are smart and their parents have a good amount of money […]

Native American, but always called white.

Lateshia Locklear-Theroux Rock Hill, SC All my life I have called white. Even growing up in my tribal community (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina) I was teased because I was lighter than most of the other kids. My parents (both of whom are Lumbee) always told me that it doesn’t matter what color my skin […]

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My Ancestors Bones Not For Museum

Sonya Williams, Baltimore, MD. I grew up in a unique area of North Carolina in what is referred to as a ti-racial community. My Indian family are the Cheroenhaka Nottoway and Meherrin Indians of Southeast, VA & North Eastern, NC. When I went to college, during a lecture in my anthropology class, the professor was […]

Daughter biracial, father pushed us away.

Dawn E Josiah Landis, NC My daughter is Hawaiian American. I’m the white part of her, her dad is the Hawaiian part of her. After 25 years of marriage, he pushes us out of his life and returns to his roots. I’m the one that deals with the anger and pain from my daughter because […]

Affirmative Action Killed Southern White Middleclass

Blue Hamilton Spruce Pine, NC Having grown up poor and white in the deep south in the 1960’s, it was common to hear racial slurs whispered among my white classmates, but never directed in anger at my black or brown friends. Before segregation we all went to the same local school; rich, poor, black, brown […]

No black people in your car.

Cynthia Cahoon Moyock, NC In 1970, I was a junior in high school and new to that school. As a member of the drama team, I made friends with Julia and Carlton and friends ere few and far between when you’re new. Since I had a car, after school and before drama practice, I would […]

Why does color mean so much?

Jacob Miller Boone, NC I’m a decent fraction Iroquois and I’m proud of my Native American Heritage, but I’m also whiter than white bread so if I identified with Native Americans people would look at my skin and assume I was lying. It bothers me a lot.

Racism does exist, you shouldn’t lie.

Monica Wesner Rutherfordton, NC I am white and see it everyday in this little Southern town. I know they are lying because whenever they say the word “black” they lower their voices and look both ways, as if they were crossing the street. Some are bound and determined to vote President Obama out just because […]