where are you from

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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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, […]

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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 […]

Are you sure you’re not black?

Dave Mowers Brooklyn, NY I live inbetween black and white neighbors, my boss is a Phillipino woman, I shop and eat in black and white owned stores and restaurants in my neighborhood. Orthodox Jews sign my paycheck. I teach students from around the world. My boyfriend grew up in a small town in Texas in […]

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Of both worlds belong to neither

Tiffany M. Lyons, Rockaway Beach, NY. Syracuse University ’16 I am biracial and my experiences with race are constantly informed by internal tug of war about what side I belong to. I’ve finally accepted my place in the grey and the view is sometimes trying but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Brown woman private school not: maid

Isabel Cristina Dominguez Dobbs Ferry, NY I love this project! It is so insightful- there are so many things to say about one’s self… I am going with the one that faces me everyday in my work place… but I could write so many others!

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I’m Angelyce. Mixed race and Bi-sexual.

Angelyce Serrano, Coram, NY. My whole life people has seen me as “that black girl”. That is not the case. I am Puerto Rican, Black-American, Taino, and Spaniard. Yet, for whatever reason my whole cultural background is ignored and I am just labeled as black. Going to Catholic School from 4years old to 18years old […]

Too hard for US to handle

Todd Schoepflin Buffalo, NY Racial inequality, racism, race relations…it’s all so hard for Americans (us, the U.S.) to handle. Some try, some try harder than others, some work so hard against racism and do the vital work of raising awareness and making change. But it feels like an overwhelming challenge sometimes, and I am saddened […]

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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 […]

Standing on the shoulders of my forebears

Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins, MD, MSc, New York City, NY. Manhattan. Collected from The Race Card Project, On Location: The Brooklyn Museum 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 […]

The beautiful struggle continues….only necessary

Chenelle Nixon, New York City, NY. Queens. Collected from The Race Card Project, On Location: The Brooklyn Museum What is a race when no one is winning? Race should not define superiority but a majority of human spirit reaching the finish line of equality, freedom, abandonment of self-hate and persecution the color of ones skin.

Stop trying to box me in

Zeren New York City, NY I’m a mixed ethnicity Palestinian-Arab, European, Afghan American…I naturally have light skin, eyes and hair as many Arabs, whites and Afghans do. But I grew up in China where I was a minority on more than one count, not just my skin color, but my ethnicity and my nationality kept […]

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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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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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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.

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 […]

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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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 […]

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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 […]