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He’s my dad, not the gardener.

Kelly Stuart, Brooklyn, NY. I was five when my mother married my stepfather, Alfred Brown, Jr. in 1980. My stepfather, or, as I think of him, my father, was 21 years older than my mom and had already raised a daughter by the time he met me, but that didn’t stop him from getting a […]

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My ancestors did not enslave yours.

Ardean Orr, Syracuse, NY. All four of my grandparents immigrated from Italy, so I’m pure Italian, but also white. My father was a jazz musician who often played with musicians who happened to be black, so I grew up in a tolerant home when it wasn’t popular. Growing up in America it seemed like blacks […]

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Post-Racial? Stop. Look. Listen. Racism’s Here.

Kyle Alexander, Rochester, NY. Coming from a position a white privilege and having a large peer network of other white individuals. I hear a lot of quite muttering of “post-racial” society, and “I don’t even think about race, we’re all the same”. No. We’re not all the same and the only reason you are supporting […]

Race isn’t more legitimate than sexuality.

David Chase, New York, NY. Apparently some people feel that “all oppression is not equal”. My experience as a gay white man unfortunately has not always been one of solidarity with non-gay non-white people. Growing up as a child in Woodstock, NY in the 60’s and 70’s I was brought up to be supportive of […]

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Black Fathers Love Black Children, #Shutup!

Nvizaboman, Syracuse, NY. Pointing a gun in the face of a Black boy or choking a Black man, is not a common cultural practice in the Black community. I just feel that needs to be said. Please stop killing us because our lives are an appointment we don’t want to miss. Thank you.

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Father, Husband, Teacher, Pastor, Caucasian Racist?

Brad Crump, Floral Park, NY. As a Presbyterian Pastor I serve a diverse congregation (Guyanese, Jamaican, Black, White). As a teacher I work for a Middle School in Springfield Gardens (97% non white). While I spend every day serving the diverse cornucopia of NYC I am seen by many as the problem, the privilege, the […]

My dear friend’s current life below

Susan Nickason, Penfield, NY. Listening to the news this evening about the Charleston shooting, I hear “what harms our neighbor, harms us” This speaks to me as it wasn’t even 2 months ago that I left Kemmerer, WY, under the cover of darkness because of the harassment and inexcusable behavior that seemed, well, normal. To […]

Standing on the shoulders of my forebears

Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins, MD, MSc, New York City, NY. Manhattan. My grandmother came from Grenada in 1926 and got a job at the Waldorf-Astoria cleaning because she was light enough to pass for white. My grandfather had no work until WWII broke out (he was too old to serve).

Whiteness is ace up your sleeve

Colette, Poughkeepsie, NY. As I was getting ready to upload my own statement about race, I noticed a posting that stated “(B)lacks are a one dimensional thinking bunch” who participate in race baiting. I was tempting to reply, “White people are a one dimensional barrel of fools heavily invested in believing that race doesn’t matter […]

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Still want to touch your hair

Brenda Becker, Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in a white Queens neighborhood where neighbors worried that “they” would “get in,” and the cool girls had straight sheets of hair. I was delighted to meet and make black friends at my all-girls Catholic high school. It was the 70s, and even as I struggled with my […]

White husband, still a Nubian Queen

Kavisa, Brooklyn, NY. My parents raised me to be extremely proud and knowledgeable of my African American and Caribbean heritage. My love for Africa intensified further after spending 2+ years living and volunteering in Tanzania. In the mist of becoming fluent in Swahili and embracing East African culture I fell in love with my future […]

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Montgomery Blair HS still inspires me

Jonathan Feldman, Rochester, NY. My high school was integrated, and we took such pride in this that Stevie Wonder found out: he made a surprise visit to our school in 1981 to promote the creation of the Martin Luther King Day holiday. I wish that all students could have the same experience that we did. […]

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I’m an Arab named Dave Hall

Dave Hall, Brooklyn, NY. I get my name from my Yankee (English-American) father, whose ancestors arrived in Boston in 1630 but I get my complexion from my Arab-American mother. People do a double take when they first meet me after only hearing my voice on the phone. And new friends quickly learn that I am […]

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They glare at my bi-racial son.

Linnette Derry, New York City, NY. I often think about the inevitable discussion about race that I will have to have with my son one day. That day when he will begin to ask me why people think I’m his nanny/housekeeper instead of his mother; the day when he will ask me why people keep […]

I am grace, power and inextinguishable

Ryan Brooke Taylor, New York City, NY. Collected from: WITNESS: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties at The Brooklyn Museum My experience as a black male artist is directly related to the sacrifices and gains made by those who participated, in any and every way in the civil rights movement. They have made me […]

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Is Puerto Rican a separate race?

Diana Gonzalez, Franklin Square, NY. I am an adopted person. I’ve been searching for my past all my life. I’m 60 now. One of my adopted parents was Austrian and one was Italian. I was raised to think of myself as Italian. In the early 1970’s I searched and found out I was born in […]

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White folks get to be stupid.

Worokya Duncan, Ed.D., Saint Albans, NY. It grates on my nerves that white folks get to be stupid, and it turns into the fault of that one person or one family. One Black person’s idiocy turns into the fault/problem of all Blacks in America. How does the country STILL rationalize criminalizing people/bodies/colors that have been […]

Only Black in office. Very Isolating

Ursie Bankhead, Buffalo, NY. I have a PhD, have studied race issues. And still struggle in my workplace. Mostly within my own department. I have support from several friends of various races/ethnicities/backgrounds, etc. But, it is difficult at times being “the only” and to experience microinvalidations during staff meetings or to end up in a […]

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My White Half is Erasing My Iraqi Half.

Ollie, New York, NY. I’m mixed – white and Iraqi. It infuriates me that people, of all races, can’t see past my light skin. My Iraqi side is also Jewish and the racism within, and anti-semitism outside, has made claiming a poc identity an uphill battle. I feel like half of me is being systematically […]

On the subject of white guilt

Kevin, New York, NY. I don’t really understand this whole issue on white guilt, but I think it stems from privilaged elite “European Americans” who feel they have it all and need to clense their conscience somehow and feel guilty. Well I grew up “White” and poor in an all black neighboorhood, took racial abuse […]

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African American but not black

Rewan, New York, NY. I’m 15 years old, and I live in New York. My parents were both born and raised in Egypt and moved here in the ’80s. Let me cut to the chase- I’ve been called white, Hispanic, “light skin,” but I consider my self Arabic, because Egyptians speak Arabic and is located […]

White People, White Culture, Social construct

Barry Irving, Syracuse, NY. …History tells us that Whiteness has always been a social construct that is used to exclude certain groups… ( people of Color ) …The notion of White culture is a Myth… …White People are not a single ethnic Group or a distinct number of ethnicities. They are an amalgamation of everyone […]

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I am not the exchange student.

Mellini Kantayya, Brooklyn, NY. I am an actor and writer who currently has a book out (humor essays) about the entertainment industry. I include a chapter about race, and there are many many six word race cards I could have created. But being mistaken for the exchange student and many other like encounters are what […]

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Scotch tape no longer clings here.

Malcolm Ian Mackenzie, Naples, NY. My mom and Dad immigrated from Canada in the early fifties with two children Canadian-born and eleven were born in the states. Growing we had a strong family identity as Canadians, but knew we also had Scottish roots through our dad’s family. My Mom’s family were Anglo-French Canadians, with an […]

Damn Mom, You’re Right. I’m sorry.

David Pham Poughkeepsie, NY When I was young, my mom told me a macabre anecdote about the Vietnam War. She remembered that American soldiers would go through villages in search of Vietcong. As they went through, they would ask villagers in English if they were indeed Vietcong or not. Some villagers, though they did not […]

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Eisenhower’s Negro caddy was too slow.

Karen Brinkman, New York City, NY. Cleaning out my mother’s attic, I came across a vase wrapped in a newspaper page from 1957. This sentence was in a short article about the firing of “Cemetery” Perteet, President Eisenhower’s long time golf caddy. Learn more about Karen’s 6 words: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19570402&id=MexQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=fyUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2822,503509  

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I’m black, not from the Carribean

Lemuel Reddikc, New York City, NY. People ask me “where are you from?” and I never know how to answer that. I just say “I’m black,” but then they ask me where my parents are from. My maternal grandmother is from the West Indies and my maternal grandfather was from the Carribean, but I can’t […]

Your German parents started the war

Janice Cooper, MN. My newly married parents immigrated to the U.S. from Germany via Ellis Island during the mid 50’s to follow the American Dream. Growing up in small town Michigan and attending Catholic school, my younger brother and I were constantly accused of being Nazis during our grade school years. Even though my parents […]

I don’t speak for my race!

Celesti Colds Fechter, Tarrytown, NY. I feel as though when I am the only African-American in a setting that I feel obligated to “speak” for other African-Americans. I will not do it and don’t ask me to do it. I had a job where I was the first African-American hired in a professional setting. I […]

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IT’S OKAY TO SEE MY COLOR

Yvonne Durant, New York, NY. I know that they are well meaning but when white people say, “I don’t see color,” it makes no sense. I think they mean they’re not prejudiced because color doesn’t count to them. It does to me.

Art in the face of racism

Christopher McBride New York City, NY Brooklyn Seeing that exhibit really brought about a strong reaction emotionally from myself. As a musician, seeing the visual art side of things was really powerful.

“You’re Brazilian? You don’t look it!”

Daphne de Souza Lima Sorensen, Oneonta, NY. I’m a white woman with a perfect American accent. I have a university degree, a husband and a 3 year old daughter. By all accounts, I am a “typical” middle-class woman. Except that I am not American and even though I have lived in the USA on and […]

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Race is imagined. We’re all sneetches

Lincoln, Brooklyn, NY. Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches Had bellies with stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches Had none upon thars. Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

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Pale freckled redhead burned by words

Marie Farrell, Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in San Diego, California where the sun shines all the time. I was the kid that never tanned, just freckled and burned. I was also raised by an Irish mother so there was a lot less love than fights and tension. I recall a day when I bravely […]

Not the nanny. That’s my daughter.

Daphne Revie, Compound, NY. Taking my daughter as a baby to libraries and play groups only nannies would talk to me assuming I too was a nanny because I have dark skin and my daughter is very light. The moms generally didn’t speak to me at all.

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Hated wearing green on St.PatrickDay mom.

Daniel Luis Soto New York, NY I consider myself Puerto Rican. Grandparents from PR My great grandfather on moms side is from Ireland. Going further back on both sides my heritage spans the globe from Spain to England to various British occupied islands. Im proud of my diversity, but I look Puerto Rican speak spanish […]

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I feel invisible, while standing out.

Aman Agah, Brooklyn, NY. I am Iranian, Irish, Azari, and German. Being Iranian means being called Arab. I am not Arab. Being Iranian means being part of a group of people that so many don’t know – even if I say “Persian” – and yet I am part of a group labeled terrorist. I am […]

How long have you had him?

Heather Ann Lindstrom Buffalo, NY My beautiful son was born to two very different parents. Me, of Swedish and Irish heritage,and his father of Samoan and Chinese heritage. When I would take my son out as a baby, it felt like everyone I met assumed he was adopted and asked “How long have you had […]

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Not who you think I am

Ana Canino-Fluit, Penfield, NY. I am Puerto Rican, I lived in Puerto Rico till I left for college at 17. Till I was 16 I had never given much thought to racial identity. My senior year in high school I was selected to be a exchange student to our sister school in southwestern New York […]

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Never belonging. Puerto Rican or American?

Lorna Hagen, Brooklyn, NY. I am Puerto Rico born New Yorker that moved to the US when I was 12. Somewhere in the plane ride over I lost something – I have no shared childhood experiences with my North American friends (lullabies, games, etc.) and no shared adolescent experiences with my Puerto Rican friends. It […]

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Name unpronounceable – never called on

Edvige Kromayer Barrie, Clinton, NY. Growing up in the ’50s, I was unaware that most people had no idea how to pronounce my name and were therefore reluctant to call on me in class or say hi to me on the playground. At the beginning of kindergarten, one kid even asked if I was a […]

All Men are Sometimes Created Equal

Jake Schweber, Scarsdale, NY. There’s a theme of racial superiority that some people carry throughout their livelihood. Some people truly believe that they are better than others because of their race. This shoots the theory that, all men are created equal, out the window.

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White Martial Artist, who’s not White.

Gerard Liston, New York, NY. The way I look confuses people. Most cant pin point my heritage. I am by birth Irish and Ecuadorian. Furthering my cultural heritage is my love of music. I love to play the drums and that love took me all the way to Africa. There I learned to play the […]

Many feelings, but not enough words.

Tatyana Parrish, Valley Stream, NY. My six words are a fairly simple way to explain how complicated this matter is to me. My father was never there, and my mom worked her absolute ass off in order to make up for that. My father is African American, and because of this I’ve come to resent […]

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Anymore, afraid of what we represent.

M.W., Brooklyn, NY. We have been in our neighborhood for coming on ten years and in that time it has changed from ‘Bed-Stuy’ to ‘Clinton-Hill’ to ‘Fort Green East’ as the realtors slowly remade and gentrified neighborhoods. Each economic surge carved out new districts and displaced our neighbors. The most recent insurgence of peoples have […]

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Are you really even Greek?

Athena Scavo, Hornell, NY. I often get this question due to my name being of the Greek mythology background. Often, people assume that I am not Greek, but my parents liked the name or thought I was going to be tough or had some reason why I was named Athena. If you look at me, […]

I look white; perception is reality.

Mary Halling, Milwaukee, WI. Moving from New York to Ohio to Milwaukee in my 25 years on this Earth, I’ve encountered race in so many different ways. From celebrating and learning about all the different ethnicities in my classroom in elementary school, being bullied for being white in my urban middle school, to being incorrectly […]

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Using my race and womanhood as leverage!

Jade D. Lee, Syracuse, NY. I HATE feeling like I SHOULD feel less than because I am a black woman. I believe that I can do anything, and I CAN surpass any social construct that challenges this belief. EVERY black woman has the capacity to exhibit an abundance of adequacy and value.

But, you are not really Chinese

Lianna Thomas, Congers, NY. I am a Chinese adoptee. Ive lived in NY practically my entire life (since I was 7 months old). My family is entirely white and I was brought up in a western culture with western traditions. I celebrate my eastern culture as well through holidays like chinese new year, I study […]

What seat are you sitting in?

JuLaw, Syracuse, NY. When I was in Fla. in the 60s, Blacks (colored people, negroes,) or what name you may have been called, could not sit on the front sit a bus. We had to go into the back of the bus. Today, externally, it may not be that way, but in some cases, internally, […]

Was I asked to be Black?

Vickie Crawford, Syracuse, NY. My Dad use to call me “yellow girl”, my Mom when mad called me “little yellow wench”, and I was happy go lucky I think because I didn’t know I was BLACK. It wasn’t brought to my attention until I went to kindergarten that I was black??? I feel I can […]

Do you live in the jungle?

Kwabena Tettey, Syracuse, NY. The CONTINENT of Africa is not one big jungle inhabited by villagers in mud huts and wild animals. I do not have a lion as a pet nor do I ride on elephants to get to places. I also did not row a canoe over the Atlantic Ocean in order to […]

“Where are you from?” – “Boston.” -” Liar!”

Lex, Syracuse, NY. I’m originated from Shanghai, China, currently doing a PhD at Syracuse University. Unavoidably, I have been welcomed with the question “where are you from” on a daily basis. It seems that not many people actually cares about the real answer: Shanghai — people generally don’t care about that corner of the globe […]

We have so far to go.

Bonnie Shoultz, Syracuse, NY. I was a young person during the 1960s, and dreamed that this country would overcome its terrible history of oppression and enslavement of whole groups of people based on their race, culture, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and class. We have made many changes, but oppression and murder of people who are […]

I’m afraid of muggers and police

Jose M Moreira, Brooklyn, NY. What I mean to say is, I am afraid that one person that has the concept of robbing, stabbing and killing me can snuff my life out probably slower than someone that is suppose to ‘protect and serve me’ might just take said life so much more quickly and amazingly […]

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Latina? Yes. Speaks Spanish? No. Gasp.

Delilah Mulgannon, New York, NY. All my life, I’ve been told that I’m not “really” Latina because I don’t speak Spanish fluently (which is ridiculous). Who are you to tell me who I am and who I’m not? I grew up in a mixed household (Ecuadorian mother and Polish father) where Spanish was not spoken […]