Becoming Hasidic was a feminist choice.

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 […]

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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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Questioning My Parents’ / Society’s Racial Preferences

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 […]

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Canadian African German Black and White

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 […]

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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 […]

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“Garcia”? Are you Mexican or Colombian?

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 […]

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You sound like you are white!

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 […]

Proudness that reflects a profound sadness

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.

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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 […]

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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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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 […]

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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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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 […]

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Looking at me you don’t see

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 […]

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Latino and Gay U.S.A.

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 […]

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Witnessed prejudice against my black friends

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 […]

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I don’t speak Spanish, just Russian

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

From love to fear, a foreigner’s view on racism.

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 […]

Stand up, don’t be silent, Fight Continues

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 […]

I am always the Black bestfriend

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!

I’m still proud to be white.

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 […]

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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 […]

I don’t consider you a Hispanic.

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 […]

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Where are you from? No, really.

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.

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.

White colleagues discuss racism without us.

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?

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I look white. I’m half Indian.

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 […]

Blacks beat me, I forgave them

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, […]

I Never Know How to Feel

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 […]

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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Wear a suit? He’s a “pimp”.

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 […]

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East Europe substitutes Roma for Blacks

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 […]

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Yes, you can touch my hair.

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 […]

I’ve been the ONLY Black kid..

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 […]

The Butter Pican- Pana Rican :)

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 […]

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CHANGE COMES FROM DEEP WITHIN YOURSELF!!

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 […]

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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 […]

Where? you must mean Monaco right?

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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

IT GAVE THE FREEDOM I HAVE TODAY.

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 […]

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 […]

Always Fight for what is Right

Chris G Murray New York City, NY Manhattan As an activist in the 60’s/70’s and having had our share of victories, I continue the fight for liberty, freedom and doing what is morally right. All people must live together and combine their strengths to fight against the multi-national corporations

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You’re Native American? Well, how much?

Kaitlin Reed, Poughkeepsie, NY. I am a Yurok Indian. We are the salmon people and my ancestors have lived by the Klamath River in northern California since time began. But after centuries of continual sexual conquest against Native American women, I am not the color of Pocahontas. That’s right, I’m white-skinned and Indian. This hasn’t […]

I’m white, it’s not easier.

Victoria Polera, NY. Being white doesn’t make my life any easier. I still have a really difficult life without putting my race into perspective. Looking at a person as an individual rather than placing an individual into a social group is mostly important. It’s unbelievably more important to look at the individual separately rather than […]

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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 […]

White Privilege Asian Wife Still get it…

Lee, Queens, NY. I live in NYC. A melting pot no? I am one of the few people where I work who is white American. I have a lot of experience but there are people there that have more experience than me and are better then me. I make at a minimum $15 more per […]

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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 […]

White sorority girl? Yes. Spoiled, NEVER!

Cassandra Krummel Seaford, NY Being a white girl brought up in New York was difficult. I went to school where many of the students were black and to them, I was a spoiled white girl. Coming to college and joining a sorority never helped the situation. Every time I am confronted by a black person, […]