The Day After The World Changes

Duryan Bhagat-Clark, Aberdeen, NJ. My father is an immigrant from Bombay, India. He moved here to go to college and graduate school. He is Muslim. While working at Rutgers University he met my mother; she is Jewish. They were married within a year. As I often joke, I know there will never be peace in […]

My Soul can’t see your skin.

Doretta Dozier, East Orange, NJ. From the very early age of 5 I was delighted with my sense of how big the world was to me: how bright the sun was, the large expanse of blue sky and the splattering white clouds that seemed to show a never ending aura of greatness. I felt truly […]

Race’s Reality and Historical Legacy Matter

Gabriel Rossi, Jersey City, NJ. As a white male I want to learn about the realities people from all nations experience in the United States and around the world. I hope to do this by listening and educating myself through building relationships. I believe walking with and having real relationships with people who have different […]

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How did you get a boy?

Claire Wallick Moy, Maplewood, NJ. This is what I was asked in 1998 when I moved to NJ. Our 3 children look much more like their father than me. so many girls have been adopted from China in this generation, but not boys. A white Jewish woman with an Asian looking boy is outside of […]

Watched the tanks come down street.

Moira O’Connell, Morristown, NJ. I lived in East Orange during (and after) the 1967 Newark riots. I remember standing on my front porch at around 7 years old watching tanks come down my street (186 4th Avenue) heading into Newark. My parents used to act as shills — going into apartment buildings to confirm there […]

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Mommy, I want to be Vanilla.

Jasmin Marie Harpe, Burlington, NJ. It has been hard to fit in to both societies growing up as a biracial child, especially being in academia where there are few people who look like me. I had a lot of race issues growing up with my father who has very fair skin, and my mother who […]

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The Asian/Pacific Islander category is very enticing.

Cheryl Mercado Arnedt, West Orange, NJ. My grandmother and her sister — red-headed daughters of NYC cops — both married full Filipino men and were disowned. There was no race in our family – just rice AND potatoes at every meal. My grandfather “Pupa” intentionally didn’t pass down his Asian-ness or his language Tagalog so […]

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I am Mexican when its convenient

John Heath Olguin, West Orange, NJ. Before you get all worked up about my 6 words. Let me explain. I watched a little boy of Mexican-American decent sing our national anthem and thought nothing of it. The next day I read about all the negative comments that came about of his performance (see link) and […]

I was born and raised American.

Anonymous, NJ. I have never been so angry at or disappointed in my parents in all my 16 years of life. Before you dismiss this as just another teenager hating on her parents, hear me out, because it is far from that. Both of my parents moved to America from Lebanon, a small country in […]

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Your bar is down the street.

Ronald Zeigler, North Brunswick, NJ. I was stationed at Parris Island going to Personnel school. I was from New York and with my three New Jersey (also Black) friends went into Beaufort, SC. We walked into a bar and my friend said “three beers, please”. I was at the jukebox looking for Motown and finding […]

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If embraced will enrich our lives

Nicole Kaufmann, Newton, NJ. Why ignore race and try to say that color doesn’t matter when it should. Only when we acknowledge and embrace one another’s differences will we our own close-mindedness be broadened and enriched.

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I’m not mad, I’m just exhausted.

Julian Smith, East Orange, NJ. When I hear a story about a black person that posed no threat being killed by a white police officer I no longer get angry I just sigh and think about how some people think a 50 year document changed over 300 years of oppression.

The police work for you. Vote.

Alf Newlin, NJ. These six words popped in my mind while watching the national coverage about Ferguson as well as from a multi year experience centered around a community’s effort to materially improve community friendly public safety. Oddly the demographics for the referred to community are so very different than those communities currently in the […]

Wish black males had role models

Paula Gaehring, Haddon Heights, NJ. Have taught in Philadelphia and now have students from Camden, NJ. So few of them have good male role models in their lives. Most are raised by moms and grandmoms doing their best but it is not the same as having dads, granddads and uncles in their lives. I wish […]

Racism stops when we respect everyone.

Kathleen E Lo Pinto Vignolini, Long Branch, NJ. No other group, except maybe the Jews, have had such a long period of discrimination against them. From Slavery, to post Civil war (the North won the battle, but lost the war!) of Jim Crow, “separate but equal” led to Segregation both de facto & legalized, all […]

STILL SO MUCH WORK TO DO.

Rachel Potts Jersey City, NJ As an educator, I see every day the ongoing, engrained inequities when it comes to our youngest african american students, mainly boys. 50 years later, access to education alone just isn’t enough.

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Whites say Hispanic, Hispanics say White

Renee Lewin Asutin, TX My mother is Mexican-American from the Rio Grande Valley, my father is white from Orange, NJ. I was raised in a home where English was primarily spoken, but Spanish was still commonly heard. As I was growing up I viewed myself primarily as Mexican. I spent most of my time with […]

We are waiting for the Neuropsychologist

DR JAMES LEWIS III EFFINGHANM, NJ I am African American, and I am the neuropsychologist. In many settings especially medical settings the reaction of the family when I greet them for an appointment is simply “We are waiting for the neuropsychologist”

We are all the same, HUMAN

Jacque Howard Tenton, NJ Growing up in Central NJ as well as my diverse educational and professional experiences. I have come to the belief that humans do not recognize other humans who look differently as the same. I believe most people want the best for themselves and others, the hard part is living in a […]

I don’t know any other way!

Dan Angel Dufresne Union City, NJ I feel that sometimes people use race as a crutch to act a certain way, and do certain things. People claim ignorance, come up with excuses and have a lot of pressure put on them. As long as we have things like affirmative action there will always be disparities […]

Are you black? You look so …

Nicole Collins Bronzan Rahway, NJ I’m a mutt — black, Native America, Irish, you name it — raised all over the world as a military brat. I consider myself black, but depending on where I am (and how tan), I get all kinds of questions, though substantially less so in a diverse city like NYC.

Mind wide, self-education comes free

Edward Darden Washington, DC Every American black person, who succeeds is and was self-educated to a great extent, at least in the beginning. When children are young, the chains around their minds and bodies are able to be broken with a Will to reach farther than what is in front of them. In this way, […]

Mom, talk about your “black firsts.”

Janice Lowe New York City, NY My mother, Dr. Willa Lowe was one of the first black English teachers in several high schools in New Jersey, Washington, DC and Ohio. She was part of that first wave of school integration in which talented African American teachers were hired before African American students were admitted. She […]

They are different, get over it

Steve Bedminster, NJ Humans are diverse. Not all whites are the same culturally and genetically, and the same applies for Asian, Latin American, Spanish, and Black people as well. In this diverse world you will meet a great deal of diverse people. Most of them will be of different ethnicities than you. This is perfectly […]

We are only who we are

Netanya Stein Caldwell, NJ You cant pretend to be someone you’re not. you are who you are; our background shapes a large part of our cultures, traditions, and day to day life.

Empty people wrapped in white skin.

Amie Lecorchick NJ I have no idea who my ancestors were or where they came from…all I know is that I’m white, and I live in America. As a white American, I feel like the only cultural heritage I have is a collection of atrocities. I am surrounded by this enormous array of diverse, amazing […]

Let’s discuss our ignorance and improve

Kyanna Joseph Elmwood Park, NJ An Excerpt from a recent essay I wrote for a class at Quinnipiac University: I feel as if people expect me to speak on behalf of the whole black population and I feel as if people tip toe around the words they say around me as if not to offend […]

I’ve never seen a Black Peruvian!

Beatriz McNabb NJ Too often I get asked the infamous question, so what are you? I make them guess and never do I get the correct answer. People generalize that all Peruvians look Indian (Inca descent) so when they see me, they are shocked and follow by TELLING me, I must be mixed. Well yes, […]

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Slave Descendants of Nelson County Virginia

Derek Nicholas, Newland, NJ. Hello, my name is Derek G. Nicholas. I am going to tell you a fascinating story of the descendants of Cabell family slaves located in Nelson County, Virginia. This is not just the story of my directly related ancestors stemming from a single individual bloodline… but an intriguing story of an […]

Crazy driver. Rude Midwesterner. White female.

Lisa Schwager Muncie, IN Many people automatically assume that I am a bad driver because I am a female. I have never been in an accident and have been driving for over 5 years. I went to live in South Carolina this past summer with my sister and brother-in-law. I work in retail and was […]

But you’re not really black

K. Louis East Brunswick, NJ Growing up, I had a lot of misconceptions about my race. My mother is black and was born in England, and firmly considered herself British even though her father had his roots in Jamaica. I could remember one time were watching a news story were two African American males were […]

I am both, but also neither.

Nisha Ahamed Jersey City, NJ My mother is German, raised in Canada and my father is Indian Muslim. I was born and still live in the US. I grew up in a very white area, and now live in a very multicultural city. When I walk down the street in the Indian section of town, […]

White people shouldn’t adopt tan babies

Kipp Jarecke-Cheng Maplewood, NJ One day, out of the blue, my seven-year-old son said to me and my partner, “White people shouldn’t adopt tan babies like me.” We were stunned by our son’s comment, partly because it seemed so uncharacteristic of him, but mostly because my “tan” son is Asian, like me, while my partner, […]

Yes, she’s *really* my daughter!

Barbara Schmidt Metuchen, NJ We are a caucasian couple that adopted our daughter from Southeast Asia. Random people in the supermarket make dumb comments and children have asked where is her real mom. We must carry her adoption paperwork when we travel internationally, since passport control sometimes questions whether she is really our daughter. School […]

Please Doctor King, do it peacefully.

Sister Kathleen Reilly, UAC, CSAC Union City, NJ The above summarizes my main prayer when the movement for racial equality got started. I think of myself as more a part of it now than I was then as I am now teaching in a predominantly minority high school. A large percentage of the young men […]

Wow!!! They really let them teach

Deborah Council Wilmington, DE In 1970, I was doing my practice teaching in Barrington, NJ and took on of my student’s to an outing. When I returned her to her home, her mother informed me that the neighbor approached her and told her how lucky she was to have had two (2) maids in a […]

He said, ” I have black friends”

Jeanette Staten Island, NJ Seriously? So, what…does that make you “not” prejudiced? One of my very good friends said this to me years ago while we were discussing who would or would not marry. My answer to that was typical – someone who treated me right and respected me – doesn’t matter what color he […]

I probably have black cousins

Valerie Bell Edison, NJ I read a very old will on ancestry.com. Strongly hints that I have black cousins. Part of me feels very happy…I’d love to hug them. Part of me feels very guilty that the probable descendents of the same man got very different deals in life.

Love has no color, hate does

Carol Carrow Bodofsky Edison, NJ Born in 1950, I have lived through changes that were long overdue. In the sixties, as much as my friends and I worked to eliminate prejudice and discrimination, we had no idea how bad it actually was in our country. Only looking back through photo and video journalism of the […]

Torn. Frijoles charros or apple pie?

Inga Paterson-Zuniga West Orange, NJ I am a German-Scottish Spanish teacher, born and raised in the USA. I learned to see the world through multi-colored lenses after living for several years in Mexico, marrying into a Mexican family and acquiring a love of all things Mexican. As a middle school Spanish teacher I hope to […]

I hate racism, it should end

Matthew Middletown, NJ I am a 6th grade student at Bayshore Middle School and some of my friends get made fun of by their race. I think that racism is very cruel and it should be stopped. It doesn’t matter what race you are, you should always be treated fairly.

I won’t disrespect my white mother!

Sabrina Price-Durling East Windsor, NJ I am proud to be more of just one race (black, white) and proud to have more than one nationality (American, German). After 36 years living, I still find it incredibly silly that other people feel the need to put me in a category…and more often than not its black […]

How do you say your name?

Kaushik Pattamadai Cherry Hill, NJ I don’t really have many bad experiences with my name or my race in general. I have just noticed this question comes up a lot in interracial interactions even with names with easy syllable arrangements. Interestingly enough for me this question comes up only when I meet someone in person. […]

Friend’s birthday, my dress is ruined.

Celeste Bourdeau de Fontenay Newark, NJ I attended a dinner for a friend’s birthday at a nouveau riche- bling, expense account, restaurant in New York a few blocks from the Westside Highway. I was the only African American at the table and some of the staff had issues. One of the servers could not pour […]

My surprise moment – I’m a minority

Alex Summit, NJ Technically on this planet I am a majority being of Chinese decent and male, but growing up in suburban white northern NJ I had no minority friends and sometimes would be painfully aware that my immigrant family was quite different from all my friends. All of whom didn’t even have a relative […]

“I didn’t expect to see you”

Mensah Cone Livingston, NJ I’m the owner of a start-up Mandarin school. After completing a presentation of my school’s offerings to a principal in an urban school, the principal said, “Mensah, that was a fantastic presentation”. She expressed sincere interest in the program for her students. While packing my materials, she said, “I didn’t expect […]

Actually, yes….I DO see color…

Kristy Straub Woodberry Heights, NJ It has ALWAYS annoyed me (since I can remember) when people say “I don’t see color” in an effort to demonstrate their acceptance/tolerance of those different from themselves…… but how offensive that actually is: “I refuse to acknowledge where you come from because our differences may cause tension so I […]

I bet they’re good at math.

Steve Titterton Lindenwold, NJ I’m white, and the father of two Asian children. Went into that thinking that race was irrelevant if I thought so, the social workers told me that I was wrong, and they were right. My card is about how I was made aware of what it means to make assumptions about […]

I’m not African American but still black.

Khemani G Orange, NJ It bothers me sometimes when I am filling something out and the race box says only African American when I am actually Afro-Caribbean. Although there is a difference between the two culturally I feel they are both united by the concept of blackness. Something that was once frowned upon but now […]

Yes, we are mixed…

Krystal Scott Bayoone, NJ This is the answer to the question I am asked weekly. I was asked this question as a child often. However now that I am a mother of two girls one who has lighter skin then I and one who is darker we are asked all the time. In the grocery […]