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Well…there’s so many minorities now…

Tony Reyes, Portland, OR. I’m half Latino. My mother is a white, evangelical, conservative. I came home the night Obama was re-elected and asked if she had heard the results. The above statement was how she very bitterly responded. Apparently people of color aren’t intellectually capable of choosing a president on the basis of anything […]

Life in the borderlands is painful.

Kaller, Portland, OR. Native American grandfather, Quaker grandmother, their child was my mother. Black stepfather, biracial brother, adopted Latina child, all Chinese grade school, segregation, race riots, the battle for Civil Rights…who are “my people?”

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My privilege: not guilt, but Responsibility

Anonymous, Portland, OR. I use the Race Card project framework to update my racial autobiography occasionally, so it changes over time. Right now, I am struck by the urgency to unpack my White privilege and not waste time or energy on guilt. I didn’t make systemic racism but I know it exists to engineer some […]

Accurate racial history must be taught.

Heathyr, Klamath Falls, OR. If we really want to confront racism and eradicate it, we need to be taught an accurate history of this country’s racist practices. Racism wasn’t just the genocide of the Natives, slavery, or Jim Crow. It was redlining and eugenics and the discoveries of pseudo-science.

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Bland white girl seeks racial identity.

Pamela Russell Bejerano, Portland, OR. As a white girl growing up, I always felt I had no culture. As an adult, I realized that what I was seeking was a racial identity. But I am discovering daily that this racial identity is not just Scottish and Norwegian, but part of a society that unfairly awards […]

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Yes, that is my real name.

Hyosim Nancy Collins, Beaverton, OR. My middle name is Nancy. I was born in South Korea and arrived in the United States when I was 4 years old with my Korean family. Soon after we arrived in California, my father decided we should all have “American” names. When I became a Naturalized Citizen at the […]

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Yo, dumbass white hunky mother f*****

Rudy Owens, Portland, OR. So, you want six words? Here are six I heard so many times I can’t even count them. They came in various themes on being a “hunky” or “f*****” or “dumba**.” They weren’t intended to provoke, to share hatred, and to demonstrate power. They were repetitively used by many people, my […]

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Actually, I speak English very well.

Guadalupe Mitchell, Damascus, OR. Growing up, most people just saw a little brown Mexican girl. I remember when entered the second grade and my family had a moved to a predominantly white neighborhood, I was placed in an ESL classroom. My classmates made fun of me because my Spanish was not very good. After struggling […]

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Sometimes I cry when making pasta.

Meredith Taggart, Portland, OR. I’m Italian and Scottish and otherwise a European mutt. I’m generally considered “white,” and look ambiguously ethnic. For me, the idea of race is all about a longing for a greater connection to my heritage. I never feel more connected than when making pasta. Learning the language, visiting Italy, making/eating Italian […]

I struggle with appreciation and appropriation.

Alec Marchant Ashland, OR As a white male who finds much inspiration, pleasure and interest in cultures other than my own, I sometimes worry if I muddy the lines between appreciation and appropriation. Through my studying and relationships with these other cultures, I know I have been guilty of appropriation on at least one occasion. […]

“I am chocolate Mama is ice-cream”

Naghmeh Moshtael Portland, OR These are my daughter’s words. We live in a world of different race, culture and heritage. My husband in African American, born in Seattle and raised in Compton, CA. I am originally from Iran, raised in Cameroon (Central Africa) and now living in the US. My daughter is adopted from Ethiopia. […]

The whitest brown girl I know.

Catherine Marden El Cerrito, CA My mother is from El Salvador. My father is from Kentucky. I grew up in rural Oregon. I didn’t know I was half-hispanic until I realized checking the hispanic box on college applications might help me get accepted. To this day I struggle with my Salvadoran ancestry. I am white. […]

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Integration ended my neighborhood’s block party.

Shoshana Hoose Portland, OR I grew up in an all-white neighborhood in Newington, Ct. My mother’s best friend, a Quaker, and her husband sold their home to an African-American family in 1966 as part of an organized effort to integrate the Hartford suburbs. My Dad, a lawyer and state legislator, handled the legal work. When […]

Ambiguously different from everyone else. Stereotypes.

Jessica Winfrey Portland, OR I am biracial and bicultural and was educated for the first 6 years in a very diverse school on an air force base in North Dakota. After my parents divorced, my mom and I moved into the neighboring town, which was predominately white. I recall being warned ahead of time that […]

Raised mixed, married mixed, had mixed.

Alisha Partlow Eugene, OR My mother is red haired, blue eyed Danish/German. My father, dark haired, brown eyed Mexican. I married a man whose biological mother was a 6foot blonde of Swedish decent, and we assume his father was African american. Our offspring consists of a 22 year old, red haired, green eyed freckled face […]

Frustrated, Aggravated, Discouraged by Black Stereotypes

Kern Seattle, OR With each passing decade (now 5 of them)I have reflected on whether the issue of race has improved, declined or remained the same. I must say that it seems that for every step forward (a President of color, women and PEO astronauts, noted Black scientists, a holiday named after a Black man) […]

Photo courtesy of Devin Ream Photography, www.devinream.com.

I don’t know why I’m white.

Eric Braman, Eugene, OR. University of Oregon Eric is a performer from the group Rehearsals for Life. As part of the University of Oregon’s Identity Project, students from the University of Oregon Rehearsals for Life group organized and performed a skit that mirrored the theme of Michelle Norris’ “Race Card Project.” Their act touches on […]

A missplaced comma, in fluid sentences.

Anil Oommen Eugene, OR University of Oregon I am brown, a Malayalee, a person of Indian descent in a primarily white setting. This is often awkward. It is not unusual for me to feel like a misplaced comma, in the fluid sentences of white experience. Only when I limit what I say and refrain from […]

Liberal yet never felt at ease.

Susan Eugene, OR After a lifetime of feeling uncomfortable around most people, white or of any race, my face now defaults to a doubtful distrustful set of creases in the presence of strangers. Sometimes I feel like telling the rare black person I see off campus that I’m awkward around everyone, but it’s also true […]