David Chen, New York, NY. I grew up in China listening to artists like 50 cent, Tupac, Snoop dogg (lion), and Jay-Z. I have every one of Jay-Z’s songs memorized and for a Chinese kid, that wasn’t easy. For as long as I can remember, I was fascinated by African American (is this the politically […]
Roslyn Jefferson, Albany, NY. I grew up in a majority white city, so this was the story of my life! When younger, didn’t know how to address racial issues or topics, when they popped up, with my white friends. Thank goodness I feel comfortable with that now!
Sandy Jimenez, Woodside, NY.
Alyssa Cartee New York City, NY Queens Every word and every action in life has such extreme consequences. The Civil Rights movement reminds me that the choice to make your words and actions negative or positive prove who you are as a person
Megonon New York City, NY History has proved that mankind cannot under any circumstances good/bad..rule each other fairly..there will always be prejudices/favoritism/biases..thats the common psychcology of man…they need a higher power
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 […]
Juli, Brooklyn, NY. There are places in this country that I would never live because of the racism in certain areas. Eventually my daughter might want to live or go to college outside of NYC and it scares me. We see more often because of cellphone video and dashcams that police see it fit to […]
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 […]
Karen S Camara, New York City, NY.
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 […]
Mary Walrath, Rochester, NY. I am Italian-American with the signature “Italian nose.” It is big, humped and crooked, and my entire young life was spent being called a “bird,” a “witch,” having bird calls made at me in halls, etc. It is surely nothing like the plight of many others in this country, but it […]
Amber, New York, NY. I had an interesting experience at a Family Health Center today. I was experiencing trouble at home with applying for health care online and sought help finishing the application with a woman named Carmen who specializes in enrolling people. She said my ethnicity was in question and that it was affecting […]
Jeannie Coicou New York City, NY Brooklyn The story behind my six words is that in this world there are forces that benefit by keeping the masses asleep. Realizing that we’re all a human family. Separation and devision is merely a tactic and as long as we don’t see each other as brothers and sisters. […]
Josclynne Grier, New York, NY. Sadly, he meant it as a compliment. It wasn’t.
Jay Tee, New York, NY. Seeing as many careers have been derailed, some high profile other less so, because of a hypersensitivity around candidly discussing race, the nation is going to have tough road ahead. “Oppression olympics”, wherein arguments are weight in proportion to the professed suffering of the speaker, fueled by the mob power […]
Reynolds Tenazas-Norman New York City, NY Brooklyn I realized that art was a major part of the political story and it was uplifting.
Reginald Daniel New York, NY It’s amazing what one hears when the other presumes they are speaking with someone of the same race.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Jordan Seigal, Flushing, NY. I’m Eurasian with a white father. At times I think, of course he was white. I wonder why, exactly. Why were Asian men not good enough? I look Asian. I have been turned down and called terrible things by Asian women, because of my appearance. Am I considered better because I […]
Chris Thompson, Rochester, NY. I have been an engineer for 13 years, and I notice that when I don the regular business casual attire, colleagues not directly in my department think I’m either in food or custodial services. Now I wear a tie daily, and the “compliment” I get is that I look like a […]
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 […]
Abigail Finn Singer, New York City, NY. Being white, I feel uncultured. There is nothing special about where I’m from. My great-grandparents were immigrants, from a place they weren’t really from. They came from Poland, but don’t qualify as Polish. I have nothing behind me. Not a custom, not a community. I feel like I’m […]
Kressel Housman Monsey, NY My biggest aspiration at age eighteen was to get into a good college, but once I got there, all I found was one big drugged out meat market. After two disastrous relationships, I dropped out and began exploring my Jewish roots. I found that contrary to popular belief, Orthodox Judaism honors […]
Kylie Schell, Carthage, NY. We all are the same inside, fat, skinny, black, brown, white or purple. Lets start seeing people for their inside, not their outside. Ugly is ugly, regardless of facade!
Scott Kraenzlein, The New York City, NY. Born to a (white) Canadian mother and a (black) African father in Canada I was adopted at birth by a white couple who divorced when I was 2. My mother married my stepfather, a German national, when I was 7 and we moved to Germany. I spent my […]
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 […]
Erica, Syracuse, NY. Monmouth University
Alexandra Garcia, Long Island, NY. My father emigrated from Spain in 1974, and we have been raised to be proud of our Spanish heritage and culture. In school, whenever I told people I was Spanish, they assumed I meant Mexican or Colombian or Puerto Rican. I’ve always been annoyed by that, because no one knows […]
Lyron Andrews, Long Island City, NY. I used to be a minister back in the late eighties and I was visiting and speaking to a group of mostly elderly and all African-American parishioners in Harlem about managing through adversity. After the talk many approached me and warmly commended me and thanked me for sharing the […]
Jaya Harrover Saxena Astoria, NY My dad moved to America from India as a child. My mom’s family has been in America since the 1630s. I have always been me.
Deanna Getty, Islip, NY. Monmouth University
Keryann Ladouceur, Elmont, NY. Monmouth University
Leslie Gallager, Brooklyn, NY. #biracial #codeswitching
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.
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 […]
Roland, New York, NY. Be who you are, not what someone else wants you to be.
Joanna Masingila, Syracuse, NY.
Linda Kuriloff, New York, NY. I once had an interview for a job at a company where the owner was Orthodox. I realized when he shook my hand that he was battling with his conscience because he probably expected that I was Jewish.
Kristia Molina New York City, NY Brooklyn I sacrifice a lot for my family because we are going through a tough time
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 […]
Richard Perez Bay Shore, NY The conservative backlash surrounding the Coke commercial featuring the song “America the Beautiful” speaks volumes about how far the right has to go in matters of race/religion/gender and anything else non white male.
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.
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 […]
Raquel Saunders, New York, NY. My dad is half black and my mom is white, when look at me you only really see the white. But I am a quarter black, and when I say that people look at me like I just gave them a lie. It pisses me off. Don’t judge me on […]
Louis E. Perego Moreno, New York, NY. All my life, I have been out of more than one box. However, after wrestling with the subject for over 20 years, I have arrived at a point in my journey where my identity is defined by belonging to three worlds: Latino, Gay and USA. Many Hispanics in […]
MaryBeth, Rochester, NY. I am white. I never experienced or witnessed prejudice until I went out to eat with my black friends. On several occasions, we were seated in undesirable locations within a restaurant and ignored. I thought it was just BAD customer service, until pointed out by my friends who said it was a […]
Edward O’Neill, Queens, NY.
Michelle Del Pin, Brooklyn, NY. I can’t even tell you how many times people have come up to me and started speaking Spanish. Sometimes it even goes as far as telling me that it’s sad I don’t speak my native language. Yes my skin is brown and my hair is black. So? There are other […]
Gina Brown, New York, NY. THANK YOU for thinking …
Sharon Murphy, Rochester, NY.
JT Robertson, Brockport, NY. Your color should never dictate who you are on the inside. Be yourself, free of stereotypes and the societal rules that govern us all. Just be you, because that’s the greatest thing you can do.
Beverly J. Brown, Rochester, NY. Such a hard topic to discuss for some of us. But, a discussion that is sorely needed. I would love to be part of the solution, of creating a world where all beings are valued, but where to begin??
James E Washington, Rochester, NY. The ego thrives on identification and separation. We seems to be a nation that thrives on dualism, having an “other” a “they or them” as a means to distinguish ourselves from. White, Black; Rich, Poor: Republican, Democrat; Christian, Jewish; Fat, Skinny; on and on. The problem appears to be “ego […]
Elizabeth Lenz, Rochester, NY. Knowing where I am from, gives me a sense of home even when I am 4000 miles.
Amy New York City, NY Brooklyn The power of everyday people to stand up and not take racism, sexism, anti-semetism, homophobia as okay. We must fight and always speak out. We cannot be silent, even when it seems like the hatred is focussed on “others” because we are all humans and one person being put […]
Karen Bernod, Brooklyn, NY. Fear and ignorance drives HATE. The World continues to change becoming more diverse. CHANGE is always good. LOVE conquers ALL!!!
Reginald Lane, Rochester, NY.
Maria Posato, Webster, NY.
Brian Washington, New York, NY. White guilt has not, will not, and is not useful in the mission to eliminate racial stratification. It’s a shame it took me so long to realize this. Everyone has the right to be proud of who they are. Being proud of being an in-power majority is not unfair. It […]
Barbara Fought, Jamesville, NY. Faculty The most impacting cultural experience for me related to race was when in the 20s I lived in Detroit, a majority-black city.
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 […]
Ansel Oommen, Queens, NY. Once we realize that all people are uncannily similar, we can start to support a diverse human ecology of symbiosis.
Ruth Santiago, Rochester, NY. A very close long time friend said this to me. I was totally taken off-guard. I asked for an explanation. She stated, “the fact that I came from a home with both parents, parents who loved us, encouraged education, and values”. It actually made me angry to realize that this is […]
Nicholas Pasquarella, Webster, NY.
Caleb McGuire, Rochester, NY.
Sunil Yapa, New York, NY. I’m biracial and grew up in rural Pennsylvania. The question where are you from has always hounded and haunted me. I’m from the US. I’m from Sri Lanka. The only two places in the world where they are certain I don’t belong.
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.
Michelle, Rochester, NY. My liberal white colleagues have long conversations about the problems with racism in American. They have interesting ideas about solutions to the problem, but they rarely listen to the brown people in the room. Is this a white savior problem?
Heather Nath, Buffalo, NY. My father is from India. My mother is Irish/British. I’ve had the “privilege” of looking 100% white woman my entire life. Non white haters call me stupid white bi***. My brother looks Middle Eastern. He ignorantly gets called a terrorist Muslim because he has a beard. My sister goes to Puerto […]
Andea Robinson NY If nothing changes, nothing changes.
Bob d West Chester, PA It happened in the summer of ’68. I was alone at a concert at the city stadium in Glen Cove, NY. There was chanting, black kids -some of them friends from school- surrounded me and I was beaten unconscious. It wasn’t personal. Dr. King had been murdered, it was summertime, […]
David Jolliffe Outside NYC, NY
Anonymous Plattsburgh, NY I grew up in a rural upstate NY town–hating everything that seemed bigoted or prejudiced. I loathed a lot of the people I knew in adolescence who held tight to old racist values. I went into college with an open mind and an open heart. I don’t know what happened next. Our […]
Zoë McLaughlin, USA. Waiting in line for the Chinatown bus in New York City, a man approached me and began speaking Spanish. I squinted at him and briefly pondered my response. This was not the first time someone has expected me to speak Spanish. As soon as I began making forays out of my predominantly […]
Harold Svignor, New York, NY. Humans inherently think in “Me up – You down” terms. We are innately tribal, and somewhat hostile to “the other”. That proclivity has created not only tribal strife, but war, sport, and many other human traits. It is universal and cannot be overcome….except by religious self denial. Non-caucasians have yet […]
Mia Turner New York City, NY The obsession so many young black women have with long straight hair has undermineded the cultural identity and pride of a generation.
Jarae Farrell, Poughkeepsie, NY. My father is West Indian and my mother is black. I grew up in a very diverse town in the northeast, so when I was younger I knew there were people who looked different than me, but race wasn’t really a thing for me until I was in high school. Even […]
Kristiana Weseloh, Brooklyn, NY.
Dawud Moore, Flushing, NY. Thrown off rooftops in Syria, blatantly insulted and threatened in New York, suspicious sneers, and parents moving their children away from us. Who tries to understand? Few indeed.
Kelly B. Ferrell Sterling, VA As the child of nomadic parents, we lived where we could and/or where my parents found work. At one point in the mid “70s, we lived in up-state NY, outside of Ithaca. We were the only black family in the area (in the county the way I remember it) and […]
Liliana Estevez, Bayshore, NY.
Danny Mantooth, Syracuse, NY.
Nelson Aponte, Bronx, NY. We can build skyscrapers, put a man on the moon, we consider ourselves so intelligent, but we can’t figure out how to get along. What a shame!
Danixa Carr Brooklyn, NY I am Panamanian and Puerto Rican. My mom is Afro-Panamanian (her roots are mixed as well) and my dad is mestizo. Growing up, I’ve always identified with my Panamanian side and considered myself to be Latina. However, I had one life altering experience in Panama. I traveled to Panama in 2010 […]
Danielle Rosati, Hauppauge, NY. I am tired of being blamed for blacks feeling not good enough. If you feel a certain way it’s within yourself. And only you can change that. I’ve been pulled over for no reason !! Arrested .. I have felonies .. I’ve been hit and beaten by cops!! You want equal […]
Michael Ponsler, Brooklyn, NY. I’ve enjoyed an extremely diverse social life, dated & married interracially and on countless occasions have been the only white person within a crowd, community or family gathering. I have never been harassed, harmed or threatened by a person of another race. However, I have been rejected, assaulted and/or threatened several […]
Joel McCall, New York, NY.
Michel Bassadon, White Plains, NY. I was born in Morocco. My mother was Austrian and my father Jewish Moroccan, known as Sephardic. In high school some of my peers said my accent was French, others said it was Spanish. They decided I was from Monaco, especially since my first name was French. For a long […]
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 […]
IYANU MILLER-TAHIR New York City, NY IF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT WAS NOT THERE I MIGHT NOT BE A FREE CHILD. I MIGHT HAVE TO GO TO AN ALL BLACK SCHOOL FOR SIXTH GRADE. I AM VERY THANKFULL FOR THE MOVEMENT BECAUSE I WOULD HAVE HAD TO FACE SEGRAGATION AND THE CAREUL UNFAIRNESS THAT I […]