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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 […]

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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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My heart will forever be grateful

Randy-Michael, Long Island, NY. No matter the struggles I go through as a Puerto Rican adult in this world, I will forever be grateful of what I have been granted in this life. My family, my friends, all the positives and the negatives I cherish and when I get knocked down, I learn to get […]

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Do you notice any difference, though?

Edwin Amador De Trinidad, New York, NY. We are all professional, bachelor’s degree and have in common one thing: The academic progress of the students. By the way, part of is a mix of black, white, and Amerindian. I am a Nicaraguan who celebrate all race in one culture. Can you notice all my ethnic […]

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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, male privilege can transform lives.

Stacey Wicksall, Macedon, NY. Those who have traditionally been able to oppress others also are the same group able to lift others from oppression. The power to transform is in this group’s control. Will the group choose to oppress and suppress? Or will they instead decide to progress by elevating and empowering? The lives of […]

My nose is not a beak

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 […]

Mom, talk about your “black firsts.”

Janice Lowe New York City, NY My mother, Dr. Willa Lowe was one of the first black English teachers in several high schools in New Jersey, Washington, DC and Ohio. She was part of that first wave of school integration in which talented African American teachers were hired before African American students were admitted. She […]

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White/Hispanic looks/is all white not sorry

Ruby Marlowe, Brooklyn, NY. Italian-Irish mom, Puerto Rican-Mestizo dad, never met dad’s family as his side was pretty bad along with dad who was never around. Me and my little brother look and act “Caucasian” (laughing at the now PC whites who treated us like crap in the 80s and now identify us with people […]

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 […]

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!

Such power in words and action

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

Rulership does not belong to man

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

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 […]

I’m afraid for my black child

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 […]

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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 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 […]

You are what you pass for.

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 […]

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. […]

We cannot have honest productive discussions

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 […]

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 […]

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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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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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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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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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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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Why can’t I like this too?

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 […]

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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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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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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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 […]

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’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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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 […]