“Cuban” is not a race! I’m WHITE.

Stevie Stan, Tarrytown, NY. Is “American” a race? No! Neither is “Cuban.” Born in the U.S. to Cuban parents who descend from white Spaniards, I’m white and blue-eyed. Most Americans are still behind with thinking anyone of Hispanic background is automatically “brown” or “Mexican.” It’s not as if Europeans ONLY migrated to what became the […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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In my subconscious, he is white

Katherine Hannan Wears, Ogdensburg, NY. When I was a practicing attorney, I scheduled an appointment with an attorney who was a specialist in the field of construction litigation. The contact was made through an attorney I knew well. As I waited at the appointment, I didn’t consciously think, “What will he look like?” When he […]

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Latin, Bald, Tattoos = Thug = Mistaken Identity

Eduardo Meza, Albany, NY. I get it! I look like the typical thug you will find in disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout most of California. I know I am immediately judged by my cover. People mistake my form of self-expression for some sort of territorial gang branding. I am gay, latino, well-educated (Master’s Degrees), family-oriented and a […]

Underpaid? Overworked? Frustrated? NOW imagine slavery.

John Leo, Sag Harbor, NY. This may be redundant since the release of and discussion about Twelve Years a Slave, but for many years I’ve seen and heard people complain about bosses and working conditions and I’ve empathized. But I’ve also reflected on how these modern days woes compare to SLAVERY. Being the property of […]

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You have a black girl’s hair

Lauren, Fairpoint, NY. I was required to do this for a MSW course on ethnic diversity. As a white, Italian-American woman, it was very difficult for me to think of an example of a racial micro-aggression that I have experienced. I have coarse, curly black hair. The statement was meant to be an insult.

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Racism is an ego-based human dysfuntion

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 […]

Racists Are Not Always Bad People

Michael Havis, Brooklyn, NY. I think the word racism no longer defines the conversation we should be having. The image of racism in America is of the KKK or southern slave owners with whips. Being racist and being a good person are not mutually exclusive. Racism today isn’t being a part of lynch mobs or […]

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Only been victimized by other whites.

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 […]

Three degrees, still remember stones thrown.

Akua Lezli Hope, Corning, NY. As a child in the great City, I was stoned and jeered as I made my way to Opportunity classes at PS 156, Laurelton Queens. The only black children were in these classes for intellectually gifted children — not among those whose parents demonstrated against our presence. I had seen […]

Identity is fluid; context is everything.

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 […]

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Not THAT kind of Black Girl.

Lateefah Torrence, Brooklyn, NY. At the corner bodega, I’m one of those Black Girls who the Middle Eastern owner must watch from his elevated podium behind the bullet-proof glass. On the subway, I’m a Black Girl on WIC who can give Russian ladies directions to the welfare office. In the taxi, I’m the Black Girl […]

I’ll Call Myself Whatever I Want

Samantha Lauren New York, NY Hate when people have the audacity to say to ANYONE that they ought to “just call themselves American” instead of Afro-American, Asian-American, Polish-American, or whatever. I am an American and as an American it’s my RIGHT to identify however I choose; I am an American of African descent, therefore I’m […]

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Surprised that dreadlocks are racially charged.

Terence P Ward New Paltz, NY I’m one year in to a five-year exploration of dreadlocks as a participant-observer, so I can learn about the experience and the perceptions; it’s called Dread Like Me and I maintain a blog about it at dreadlikeme.blogspot.com. I expected people to treat me differently because they would think I […]

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Russian? You’re improving the race Amiga!

Mayra Velez Buffalo, NY Picture of us, a Belarussian and Puerto Rican, soon-to-be-married, couple. When we started dating, every time I said he is belarussian to my friends and family, I heard the “oh improving the race amiga”. I think is our colonial mind, in which status in society was determined not by wealth but […]

Two steps forward, one step back

Mary Lambert Merrick, NY I lived through the Civil Rights Movement. I once walked out of a store in SDouth Bend IN and was confronted with a full scale KKK march. I remember the riots of 1968–I lived in a mixed race neighborhood and we often sat on ourporch and watched the fires buring a […]

It reminds me freedom is possible.

Mickey Lambert New York City, NY Brooklyn In a time that most people think of as a “post-civil-rights” era, in many ways, we are more tied up in injustice and inequality than ever. These images and sounds are a reminder that social justice looks like something more encompassing.

Pain, black reaction OJ Simpson verdict

David J. Shapiro New York City, NY Manhattan After so much sacrifice, blood, time and heartache by whites who supported the Civil Rights Movements, to watch and hear the jubilation of a “not guilty” verdict from a community who benefited from that work, for a man who brutally murdered two whites, I was heart-struck.

When will we see the light

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. […]

This history My life My legacy

Saundra Thomas New York City, NY My life began at the start of the civil rights movement. 1962. the music of the civil rights movement is the soundtrack of my childhood. I grew up black in a mixed community, too black to befriend the whites and too “white” to befriend the blacks….and lesbian. my legacy […]

“Not seeing” race is a privilege!

Amanda Feinman Poughkeepsie, NY Race is a social category, which is given meaning by institutional and cultural systems of advantage of disadvantage. Race is significant in light of these conferred and withheld advantages: it continues to dictate the distribution of resources; it impacts access to education, healthcare, employment, and other areas of the public sphere; […]

We all bleed, we all hurt

Naadu Addico Poughkeepsie, NY Physical differences caused by a person’s genetic makeup cannot have large effects on a person’s social interaction. It is the way people react to and interpret these biological characteristics that affect a person’s social interactions. For instance, a tall boy’s height does not have any relevance to him until he realizes […]

Light skin doesn’t make me privileged

Em New York, NY Born in Mexico, to mexican parents, crossed the border to find a better life, learning english on tv, grew up in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the US, with Colombians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, two brothers many shades darker than I, my mother “the help,” always having too […]

Anymore, afraid of what we represent.

Michele Wiemer 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 […]

Kindergartner fearing my future interracial marriage

Christopher Hollowell Hornell, NY I am now a 29 year old white homosexual man living in Brooklyn NY but growing up in a small town in Western NY I distinctly remember ruminating in church over the differences between my family and myself. My most vivid memory was the thought “I wonder how everyone will react […]