Hadja Diallo, Philadelphia, PA. People always say that I don’t look African!? But I ask myself how is someone supposed to look African? Are we all supposed to be ugly? I wouldn’t say that all Africans are beautiful, but most of them are. I know that it’s not there (people) fault that they think Africans […]
Saraa Fadl, Philadelphia, PA.
Chris B, Landenberg, PA. I am white and teach art in an inner city school. I get hugs from children of color every day! I have the best job in the world! What are society does to these children tomorrow and in the days that follow is inexcusable and reprehensible. The inequality must stop if […]
Thomas Campbell, Allentown, PA. Me from Bronx NYC, she from Mclean VA. Her parents are affraid our child will never be given a fair break because they are mixed race.
Carissa Smith, Philadelphia, PA. This is what my father asked me when we were talking about the movie “12 Years a Slave”. He was talking about the horrors of slavery and the actual statement was: “I bet that makes you hate your white side, doesn’t it!?” I’m sure he doesn’t know the effects or the […]
Brian Albert Smith, Dillsburg, PA.
Josh Benjamin, Philadelphia, PA. Almost nobody ever guesses me to be a black-white mix. This has led to numerous identity issues for me in the past. Now, however, I feel blessed and enjoy my background without calling attention to it.
Lisa Nelson-Haynes, Lansdowne, PA. This country’s issues with race aren’t going to improve until we deal with them on the micro-level, mano y mano. Living a life, inclusive of other races, cultures and ethnicities takes work. You have to seek it out and work to include it in your daily existence. If you can look […]
Wes Midgett, Philadelphia, PA.
Jessica Tressa, Wilkes Barre, PA. I am white, I was born this way and did not get to choose. I am just an average girl no different from anyone else on this planet. Average. So, why am I told that because white people enslaved other people that those descendants have the right to hate me […]
Enrique Marquez, Philadelpia, PA. I changed my name on my resume to Henry after rarely getting responses when I would write my actualy name, Enrique. Henry is the English version of Enrique. Henry received many more callbacks in one week than Enrique did in months. Nothing else was different.
Tu Nguyen, Philadelphia, PA. I am a 9th grader at central high school in Philadelphia. I wrote these words because I know that I’m not the only one who has heard them before. I am Vietnamese, but people often assume that I am in some way, Chinese. I notice that often then not, people tend […]
Tronta Pounds, Philadelphia, PA.
Daina Haughton, Philadelphia, PA.
Yvonne Torrance, Philadelphia, PA. People who sat the shooting of Michael Brown is not about race are kidding themselves. If a Black officer had shot an unarmed white kid would he be sitting at home still collecting his paycheck?
Sharon Neumane, Mehoopany, PA. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I truly believed that we had moved beyond racial conflicts. My greatest heroes, my most beloved singers and song writers, actors, activists and poets are people who’s skin is a different color than mine. I have never in my life filled out a race […]
Manuela Bernardez Kuchta, Pittsbugh, PA. It can be very frustrating at times explaining myself or a good teaching experience depending on who’s questioning me.
Brian R, Philadelphia, PA. The institution of slavery was a heinous act, that not only tore tens of thousands of Africans from their homeland, but has given this country a group of people who are unable to thrive in our society. African Americans would be better off in Africa. The U.S. Government should pay reparations […]
Rosa Friedman, Philadelphia, PA. My grandparents came to this country as children of Jewish families from eastern Europe. In order to become accepted as part of the racial elite and gain access to white privilege, they had to leave behind the things that distinguished them, their culture, language, and values. Now there is a hole […]
Sherry Buss, Bethlehem, PA.
Christine Mitchell, Reading, PA. I’m a black woman married to a white man but still, imagine my surprise in the delivery room when my baby came out white. Not “white” like black babies are often very light skinned until their color comes in, but white. They put our bracelets on so our babies wouldn’t get […]
Renata Martello, Media, PA.
Jesse Dukes, Charlottesville, VA. This question was on my mind recently, when I wrote an article for Virginia Quarterly Review about Confederate reenactors at the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg. I don’t actually have any Confederate ancestors I’m aware of, but most of the reenactors do. All of the reenactors I talked to considered slavery to […]
Anastasia Peterson, Pittsburgh, PA.
Silvija Singh, Pittsburgh, PA. Unlike my sibs, I do not look white, altho I have a white mother. I do not get treated like a Latvian, the way the blond-haired blue-eyed cousins on this side of the family do. Complexion-wise, I look more like my father, who was from India. But among Indians, I am […]
Isaiah Spencer, Pittsburgh, PA.
Riley Redman, Pittsburgh, PA.
Matthew Scotti, Pittsburgh, PA.
Alexandra Gradwell, Pittsburgh, PA. I come from a mostly white town and have heard that many of my friends have heard this from their parents as they go off to college.
By ESSENTIAL PITTSBURGH When award-winning NPR journalist and former All Things Considered c0-host Michele Norris released her first book “The Grace of Silence: A Memoir” in 2010, it was the beginning of a unique national conversation on race. On October 1st, Norris comes to Pittsburgh to give a talk entitled “Eavesdropping on America’s Conversation on […]
…TEACH AND TALK ABOUT RACE TSWBAT BLOG by: ALEXANDRA B. REZNIK, WRITING & EDITING CONSULTANT October 2, 2014 Michele Norris is an alchemist. She transforms the stories and histories of those who experience and inflict the burden of racism, into the foundation of American individual experience and collective history. The atrocities of our past are not […]
Hazel Kasgur, Philadelphia, PA. My dad is from Istanbul, Turkey. He works hard and tries to be helpful. At most of the jobs he’s had, people are rude to him. At most of the jobs he’s had, all the other employees are American and white. I think his coworkers are rude to him because he’s […]
M. Peek Fitzgerald, Harrisburg, PA. In my 53 years of life I feel that I must carry something like this every time I leave my home. This is not the America I fought for. Not the America that I have to explain differences to my children. I’m an American too and I feel like a […]
Bethany Fetterhoff, Indiana, PA.
Kaitlin Vojnik, Indiana, PA.
Cody Keller, Harrisburg, PA.
Valerie B. Williams, Jim Thorpe, PA. I was born a WASP but now have a muti-ethnic, multi-racial family. It’s our present and future. Diversity makes us special. Love is all that matters.
C. Denise Johnson Pittsburgh, PA TRUTH is… we are all part of the collateral damage of institutional racism. That’s why some of us are resistant to change and others want more change. When the foundation of your society is predicated by elitism, sexism and racism, you end up with a schizophrenic nation afraid to look […]
Nikai Mutagaana Freedom, PA Is this still a free country? Then why are so many African American young people getting shot by police for being where they “don’t belong?” I get sick thinking about my childrens safety when they are not at home. I am very stressed about my son going away to school. These […]
Gabrielle Davis Philadelphia, PA I remember being introduced to my friends dad once as her “black friend”, I knew she meant nothing by it but it had made me cringe a bit because I had never even thought about her race that way. I also never realized how racially awkward she was until that moment […]
Daniel A. Rodriguez Philadelphia, PA Hello, my name is Daniel A. Rodriguez and I am 15 years old. I am of Mexican and White descent. My parents came from Mexico shortly before I was born here, in the United States. My father is a construction worker and my mother is a house cleaner, which many […]
Sadie Petersen Philadelphia, PA As a child, the streets of west Philadelphia were my playground. I loved going to school in the area and wouldn’t change a thing about how I was raised and how race was never even noted in my small family of four, which eventually grew to a family of 7. However, […]
Kasumi H University Park, PA I came to the USA to attend Penn State as an undergraduate student in 2010. I was born in Saitama, Japan and grew up in Shanghai, China. When I arrived, it felt like I was turned into a spokesperson for all Asians. Before, I was just a person, a girl, […]
Cecelia H Philadelphia, PA I remember being in fourth grade and the entire class had to make a dish displaying their ancestry and representing where your family came from. The project had my family scrambling. We don’t know what country we are from. As descendants of slaves in this country that information has been lost […]
Shen Lin Philadelphia, PA I’m originally from mainland China but spent most of my developmental years in Europe. After moving to the US I realized the extent to which people are able to connect so deeply with their racial heritage and express their opinions so freely in this country is enviable by the standards of […]
R. E. Longdon Clarksville, PA My family complexion has always been called dirty or ruddy. My ancestors came from Europe through England but family folklore has much more than English in our history. Our family always classified as white but we stood out in our hometown to the point our “dirtyness” was speculated by some […]
Beatriz Mallory Newfoundland, PA My father was one of the first black men to work at IBM in the late 50’s; my mother a Puerto Rican who migrated to NY to go to college. My father embedded this mantra in my head from a very age. I was a “little brown girl” in a world […]
Katie Bowles Linfield, PA I grew up in a conservative white Catholic/Christian family that tends to be very narrow-minded, especially in the older generations. I never thought whom I went to my senior prom with was such a huge deal, that was until my family found out my date was black. My mom wasn’t outwardly […]
Mary Ann Paris Philadelphia, PA Except for my brother, there were never any children who looked like me. I am black and white, more specifically black, jewish, german, irish, italian and polish and my brother and I have European features. We grew up in a segregated part of Philadelphia among black children. They never wanted […]
Michael Doran, Selinsgrove, PA. I am a student of music, and I love with the genre of soul/blues music like The Temptations or John Legend. Once, at an audition for the Voice, I was approached by a group of black guys who told me the six words above. It amazes how these barriers of white […]
Maureen Forster Philadelphia, PA I was maybe 6 yrs old when My Dad, Stepmother, older sister and older brother were in Baltimore on a little family trip. We stayed at a Holiday Inn or something along those lines and were out in the pool. I grew up in a small city with much diversity but […]
Rehenuma Meadville, PA As an Asian American Muslim women, I have been asked many times to represent my “people.” As I have gotten older, I no longer feel eager to do so. I am now more sensitive to who benefits from this type of representation and the effect it has on my own psyche. Sometimes, […]
Daniel Cohen Stroudsburg, PA I am so grateful that you have this exhibit. The sixties and the political movements of that time were so exciting to be part of. We could sure use that passion and commitment today. In spite of King, would anything have happened without blood? Is that what it will take today?
Moira O’Connell Morristown, NJ
Stanley Umeweni Philadelphia, PA I am Stanley Umeweni, and I am a high school student from Central High School in Philadelphia, PA. I chose these six words because after a little over 50 years after the Civil-Rights Movement, not all races have equal opportunity. Even with laws and policies, such as Affirmative Action, the color […]
Vishnu Rajan East Fishkill, NY Most of my life, I’ve been an outlier. I was one of 10 non- whites in my graduating high school class of 870. I’m short, I’m young for my year, and my family at home is different from everyone else’s. It took me many years to finally be ok with […]
Sarah Morris Downingtown, PA Who knew it was difficult to not be part of the “minority”? My situation would be much different if my race were different and I would qualify for much more assistance or could at least apply for things like scholarships. But as it is, I am just a white girl who […]
David Bradley Philadelphia, PA
Lori K. Elliott Wyoming, OH I am African American. More than 40 years ago, my parents took me out of the public school and enrolled me inan almost all white parochial school because the public school in my racially segregated neighborhood was so awfu. Six years ago, I moved from an integrated neighborhood to an […]
Leah Turner Lancaster, PA One time, a little girl ask me what color I was. At the time my snippy come-back was “Choca-mocha-latte!”, but I figured that was a little much for a six year old who was honestly curious. So I looked at my skin and said “Caramel”. She said “Oh,” Looked at her […]
Patrick D. Philadelphia, PA
A. Jones Selinsgrove, PA Coming from a very small, rural town in Southern Pennsylvania, I was thrown into what seems to me like a melting pot when I came to Susquehanna University. If I had had any idea of what it meant to attend a “liberal arts” college when I was looking at schools as […]
Samantha Zrada Plymouth Meeting, PA Does my voice really count on this topic? I am a white female who grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, went to school with mainly white children, and never experienced any racism directed toward me or my family. I am thankful to say that I am fortunate. And yet, […]
Jay Fluellen Philadelphia, PA I am an African American male who teaches in the public school system in Philadelphia. I constantly defy the comprehension of my predominately African American students by talking without cursing, listening to classical music, using words they don’t understand and by dressing professionally. I push passed all of this to teach […]
Nancy Yuan Philadelphia, PA In most people’s eyes, I’m Chinese, and therefore, naturally talented in academics. If I score well on a test, it’s normal because I’m Chinese. If my score is bad, they celebrate because they bested the “smart kid”. For once, I want someone to say, “Wow, Nancy, you must have put a […]
Raj Merchant Philadelphia, PA Hey my name is Raj Merchant. I am Indian so technically I am Asian. I am a high school student, and I go to a magnet school called Central High School of Philadelphia. My grandfather said this line when I was going over the thing that were on the PSAT. When […]
Cheryl Evans Whitehall, PA I am a black woman who works in a white male dominated field. Many of my coworkers, over the years, have assumed that I am not as qualified as they are because I am black. I made the Dean’s List in college. I have successfully led million dollar engineering projects. I […]
Stephanie Bell Easton, PA More than 40 years ago, I was verbally assaulted on my college campus by a militant group of black girls who accused me and my roommate of playing a prank on them. The college urged us to apologize (for something we hadn’t done). Even after the true pranksters came forward, the […]
Allison M Philadelphia, PA
Ymani Philadelphia, PA The moment we begin thinking of enslaved Africans as people and not as slaves, enslavement as human trafficking, not the slave trade, we will all begin to heal.
Lynda Black Philadelphia, PA By denying me and others due to the color of our skin, you deny the world of our gifts and ability. Therefore, you lose. All of us are weakened, our potential never fully realized because you saw with your eyes. Your fear and narrow place made life less than for everyone. […]
Mariam Mahbob Philadelphia, PA
Jennifer De Shields Philadelphia, PA I grew up in a very white town, and the parents of my white friends would marvel at my manners and intelligence. Since I’m rather light skinned some people refused to believe that both of my parents are black. I spoke too well. I liked to read. I respected my […]
Benjamin Bean Glen Mills, PA I wouldn’t say that growing up as a red-head (or “ginger,” though I didn’t hear that term until a few years ago) was extremely difficult. A few kids called me “carrot-top” and some other names, but it never amounted to bullying. But I didn’t know too many people with the […]
Alessa Abruzzo Philadelphia, PA Biologically I’m Korean. Ethnically I’m Irish-German-Italian. I was adopted at 4.5 months old, at which point I flew from South Korea to the USA and into the loving arms of my parents who happen to be white. To put it plainly, I was raised by white people – My entire immediate […]
SHANIQUA JONES Philadelphia, PA Stereotypes are mean and not needed.
Leyitha P. Achoute Philadelphia, PA I don’t like to be identify as a African American, it get me mad. I’m “black” skinned, but I wasn’t born in America nor Africa. I was born in Haiti, an island in the Caribbean. Every time I’m filling a form, I just check the box that’s says other race.
John Philadelphia, PA Being racist towards white people, setting double standards or heavily restricting white people where POC are given the ability to say and do anything, even if it is offensive will only perpetuate racism. It doesn’t matter if you think it is justified or not. Human nature is the same, regardless of skin […]
Conrad Folkes Royersford, PA I’m a first-generation American of Jamaican descent. I was born in Brooklyn, NY and moved to a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA when I was seven years old. I’ve always been an outgoing person. I make friends easily. I’m black, but I don’t fit into black American culture all that nicely. I […]
Fannie Blakely Philadelphia, PA Was in a gifted class in junior high school. First day in an advance math class teacher informed me not to worry, but I would never be as smart as the other kids, that it was not in my genetic make-up. I aced that class (highest grade) and every other class […]
Katherine L Rife Philadelphia, PA
AD Hammershaimb Radnor, PA My siblings see it as belonging everywhere; I see it as belonging nowhere. In Denmark, Danes see me as Filipino-American. In the Philippines, people see me as Danish-American. In the U.S. , I’m Danish and Filipino. or just American. Where can I be all three at once? Where is home?
Don Pittsburgh, PA Stated in spring of 1963 by negro at the time with no agitation or explanation. As a white person I thought comment strange not knowing the future implications to follow. Strange that statement has stayed in my conscience all these years. Always felt comfortable among black people.
Sharren Wellsboro, PA I was floored when a special education teacher called me a racist because I did not give her daily lesson plans I had developed on my own. The daily plans took hours to develop, and she never volunteered to help. Instead she made copies for herself, without my knowledge, to use in […]
Erika Barker Mansfield, PA Nothing about infertility is easy.. My husband and I want a family so much but so far we can’t have one. We would love to adopt, and race is not an issue. It makes us see there are deeper and more important things to think about than the color of the […]
Maurice Baynard Philadelphia, PA I attempted to take a broad swipe that encompasses my own experiences, both good and bad, as a person of color and those of my family and friends. This Haiku like verse reminds me (in miniature) of Dr. King’s famous moral arc…long, but bending towards better.
Rebeca Osborn Ambridge, PA I grew up in largely white, upper-middle-class suburbs, but as a social outcast for different reasons, somehow most of my best friends through life have been non-white or biracial. It’s taken me a long time to learn to just ask questions of people who are different from me, and accept that […]
Rachel Masilamani Pittsburgh, PA I was eating lunch alone in the break room on my first day at an office job when 3 of my new co-workers peeked in. “Are you Hispanic, or just Italian?” one of them blurted out. Neither, actually. This lady just laid down her line for White and Not White and […]
Barbara Klinman Havertown, PA When I was a young girl my mom was a working mom (nurse) and we had a cleaning lady, Essie Mae, come in every Saturday to clean. I recall she was paid $7.50 ‘and car fare.’ I used to beg Essie Mae to use my bedroom to change into her working […]
Barb Cohan-Saavedra Philadelphia, PA I am of eastern European ancestry. My husband is Mexican. We live in a large city where racism is a bit less overt than in less urban areas. While visiting friends in Arizona, we went to a party where we knew only the couple that had brought us. I was helping […]
David Morath Wrightsville, PA On August 14, 1973 three black children from Atlanta, GA drowned in Waveland, Mississippi. Eyewitnesses reported that the children had been harassed by white boaters, The coroner’s jury closed the case without investigation the following day. Because of Jim Crow mortuary policies, locating a funeral director who would deal with African-Americans […]
RAYMOND R ROCHESTER III ELKINS PARK, PA It was 1981, me being 31 years old … I was on my way to Paris, France … Aboard a Boeing 747, pre-take off, a French pilot was introducing himself … When he got to me he spoke, and upon my reply he instantly acknowledged, “Ahhhh, you are […]
Rackley Love Mars, PA The alienation that I have experienced as a parent is an enigma. Like them, I am a stay at home mom. Like them, my husband has a white collar job. Like them we chose this community because of its highly rated schools and safe streets. And like them, my passion and […]
Doug Baker Pittsburgh, PA For me this is the measure of the segregation that still exists in the US. I’m white, but if I want to have non-white friends, I have to seek them out. I don’t think we’ll have succeeded in addressing racial inequality until white people like me find that we just happen […]
Linda Robinson Philadelphia, PA All of us are shaped by the culture and historical period in which we developed as children. That culture almost becomes a part of our DNA – it’s that imbedded in us. The white slave-traders of centuries ago in Africa were shaped by the cultural idea that dark-skinned peoples of Africa […]
Ralph Mancinelli Philadelphia, PA