I responsible for my ancestors mistakes?

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 […]


Flower child eye contact kindness hope

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 […]

Whitefish Bay white school white Church

Mark Brandfass. Pittsburgh, PA. In the summer of ’63 my family had just moved to Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. My father was a salesman for Westinghouse Electric and we moved as his work demanded. I would be entering the diocesan Catholic seminary the next year, my brothers and sisters attended the local Catholic schools. I don’t […]


Man, that white boy got soul.

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 […]


Built on love but not trust.

Jaylene Ortiz, Harrisburg, PA. America is built off of a foundation of love, but where is the trust? How much can we trust each other? The government? The people sent to help us? Who do you trust with your life? Can you think of anyone? Trust is a big part of America and human beings […]

First I am Black, not Female

Alma Scott-Buczak, Cliffside Park, NJ. I was in the first class of women to attend Lafayette College in Easton PA. It was also the first class to have a concentration of more than 20 students of color. Over the past 40 years I have often been asked to reflect on my experiences as one of […]

Dark skin you blame. You lose.

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. […]

Henry is seen, Enrique is invisible

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.

You’ll find your real parents someday.

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 […]

Raised by whitefolks judged by blackfolks

Lashanda Burns Carter, Scranton, PA. I was raised by a white family from the age 4 until 13. There were some great things and some really horrible things. But I am who I am because of the environment. Open-minded nonjudgmental, well spoken, humorous, and very shy African American. Who loves Motley Crue and hates cornbread. […]

You will never be as smart

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 […]

image7 (2)

In nature, only humans fight differences.

Trealavon Grier, Harrisburg, PA. As a dark skinned African American, I have only experienced racist rejection from others that look like me. Self hatred, unfortunately, is real. Now in my 40’s, I realized how much of my life was wastep on other people’s issues. This was the beginning of self love and the fulfillment of […]


Hope my children will speak Spanish

Sandra Aguilar-Rodríguez, Bethlehem, PA. I am Mexican, I speak English, French and Spanish. I have a PhD in History, but still I find it difficult to understand why in the United States being bilingual or trilingual is not appreciated. I want my children to speak, read and write at least in another language, and if […]


Biker gangs have love for me

Richard Haynie, Oakland, CA. I walked into a roadside tavern near Allentown PA that had several motorcycles parked outside. Loving bikes, I thought nothing of it. Inside, a motorcycle “club” were the only patrons on that Sunday morning. I ordered some food and, despite a warning from the proprietor, decided to stay and eat there. […]


Too white for my own good.

Lauren Qualters, West Chester, PA. For my race card project I chose the phrase “Too white for my own good” which is most certainly a true statement, in both humerous and negative ways. I am certainly very sterotypically “white” but not in an intentional or discriminatory way. My traits are my own and they embody […]

Privilege should be the ‘Zero line’

Taylor Johnson, Glen Mills, PA. I see privilege as an opportunity to make change and I would like to see it break out of the notion that it is for a restricted group. I’d like to see privilege as the zero line for everyone regardless or race, gender ethnicity… Now, I have no idea how […]



Graham Davis, Malvern, PA. I am a white Anglo-Saxon protestant male. I am 5’4 with dirty-blond hair. I am a heterosexual. I am no better than anyone. I was created an equal to you. I will die an equal to you. I am proud of my heritage, but it does not define me. I should […]

Foreign does not mean he’s unintelligent.

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 […]


Are you Hispanic, or just Italian?

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 […]

My Race Works For My Race

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 […]


Don’t Worry, we’re not so different

Epifanio Rios, Philadelphia, PA. My name is Epifanio, I am a fourteen year boy who attends the high school SLA. I probably know as much about race as the next guy but I think race is perceived differently by everyone. To me I think race can’t only be defined through your skin tone but were […]

photo (3)

China, Yellow, hardworking, dream, versatile, active

Yilan Miao, Selinsgrove, PA. Maybe we should improved the inaccurate term “racism” with the much more accurate and potentially productive term “stereotype”. As American people always think, I am really good at math and this is the beginning of the third month for me to study in a small town of America. As you can […]


You are still someone without it.

Clarence Butler, Canonsburg, PA. Humans are humans are humans. Race does not exist. I think that people will not let go of this idea, because it gives their ego something easy to cling to, that helps to buttress their esteem.


“George Washington was white, you’re black.”

Aaron David Snipe, Falls Church, VA. It was one day before the 4th of July parade at the summer camp I had attended each summer of my childhood, and the campers and counselors had all congregated outside to discuss our cabin’s float for the parade. Summers at the camp in rural Pennsylvania were filled with […]

I was a white tobacco farmer

Helen Nelson, Saxonburg, PA. I grew up working in the tobacco fields. Cutting tobacco with an ax. Piling the plants. Stringing plants on a wooden lathe with a spear. I was a dying breed, is what they told me in college. No one believes me now that this is who I was and who I […]

First mistake was bringing the Negro

H. Ulfheim, Erie, PA. The first mistake was bringing the negro to America. The next mistake was making him a slave and giving him a sense of belonging. The third mistake was letting him learn. The fourth mistake was freeing him, and the fifth mistake was giving him fair treatment, which he abused. Now he […]

My Kids: A Study in Beauty in Diversity

East Shore, White Shore: Segregation lives

Samuel P. Wilcock, Mechanicsburg, PA. Messiah College, Faculty. Just look at race by census track. The “West Shore” is over 90% white pretty much all over the place, while the “East Shore” is much more diverse and white is the minority in Harrisburg. We lived in Lemoyne, right across the river from the city, and […]


I stare longingly at others like me

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 […]


Hey Do You Need an Interpreter?

Rebeca Cruz-Esteves, Philadelphia, PA. I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in both the U.S. Although my first language is Spanish it’s hard to tell since I have no accent. Growing up it was hard to immediately blend in as I spent my childhood in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood. As a teenager my family […]

I don’t plan on changing ever.

Zahnyah, Philadelphia, PA. I am me, I act the way I act because that’s just me, I am going to be me forever so if people don’t like it they need not talk to me or they might as well as just get used to it. I’m not going to change unless I feel as […]


Do you hate your other side?

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 […]

The French pilot said, “You’re American”!

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 […]

Why Are We The Only White People?

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 […]

You graduated in four years? Really?

Michael Tackie, Pittsburgh, PA. Upon graduation from college with a B.S.in Chemical Engineering, I got this from someone I had known for three years, someone I regarded as a friend. He was white, and majored in History or English, I forget which. I was initially amused, not understanding the subtext to what he was saying. […]

Don’t waste your time on college

Patricia L. Gadsden, Central, PA. As an African American female in the 1960’s, I was discouraged from attending college. It was explained to me that I wasn’t college material. I’m not sure what they really meant since I graduated with straight A’s from high school.

graduation ivy league

You’re Invited! You’re not a minority?

Rafael Rosato, Berwyn, PA. This is my college graduation picture from 1988. I received a bachelor of arts degree from an Ivy League University and a short while later was traveling to New York to join a management training program at a prestigious Wall Street Bank. There were 34 of us in that class and […]


No one knows unless I tell

Natasha Smith, Philadelphia, PA. I am white. I look white. I am white? Pale skin, red frizzy hair, littered with freckles. Often I am asked “Are you Irish?” The answer is “No…” and I wonder if it is the time to go into my family’s racial identity or my own struggles with my racial identity. […]

I have no black best friends.

Kevin Maness PA I have colleagues, students, friends, and acquaintances who are black and who I love, like, and/or dislike, but I’m embarrassed to say that I have no people of color who are in my “inner circle,” so to speak. On the positive side, I guess I’m never tempted to use that old cliché: […]


You’re going to prom with him?

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 […]


Much progress; much more to do

Robert Markel, Charlestown, MA. Raised in a very white town in Chester County Pennsylvania, I had little consciousness of race issues until high school. We had one black student in my class, and he was the Salutatorian. At the end of our senior year at Archmere Academy, several members of the class went to lunch […]


Get to know me..don’t prejudge!

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 […]

Race: A tightly tangled, knotted business

Catherine House Philadelphia, PA Racism is a terrible, complicated knot that some have tried to improve through generations. Abolitionists and the four civil rights workers killed in MS gave their lives. Other people cling to old ideas even today. The overwhelming apathetic majority contributes nothing. Somewhere in the huge knotted mess a new cottage industry […]

My skin color isn’t my culture

Andrew Beer, Philadelphia, PA. As a white male, I am lumped together with the rest of white America, but white isn’t a culture. My family came to the U.S from the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs before WWII from Dubrovnik, but no one seems to even think that I’m not a descendant of the […]


Not a Race, Still a Human

Cameron Warren, Downingtown, PA. I’m a very Irish child, and being proud of that has always been hard due to the fact I have red hair and freckles. While most say, “oh but you’re white, whats the problem” the problem is just that. I have been bullied and teased almost my whole life and not […]


Learned your culture you not ours

Michael Greene, Philadelphia, PA. Kudos to Ms, Norris for bringing the kindling for when it comes to race there have been, are, and will be fires figurative and literally of every imaginable combustion. Growing up I watched and was part of the Civil Rights Movement from the first time I was stopped and frisked by […]


When did borders start defining ‘race’?

Sarah Naomi Burnett, Norristown, PA. Being a ‘white’ girl raised on the border of Mexico the ‘race-card’ issue was raised daily. I always felt that if I was a color, and they were a nationality, those two identifiers didn’t quantify either of us equally. I had a culture at home that was Irish/Italian but where […]

Co-existing is key to world peace.

Alyssa Smith Camp Hill, PA I’ve heard people speak of wanting world peace in the same day as making a racial slur. How can you ask for world peace and not practice it? Discrimination and racism can not exist in a world of peace. World peace might be an unrealistic dream, but if it is […]


Our silence will not protect us.

Allison G. Hawthorne, York, PA. We all have to get up walk out our front doors and stand up and speak out, so our voices are heard. We have to vote. We have to stop being complacent. Sometimes I feel weary of struggling, when are we all going to be just human?

Does My Voice Count At All?

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, […]


Haitian-Irish mix? That’s a first!

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.

Entire countries meld in this body.

Isabella Thomas, Philadelphia, PA. My name is Isabella Thomas, and I’m a student currently attending Central High School in Philadelphia. The concept of ‘race’, to me has always correlated with ‘color’. Or perhaps an erasure of identity. I am not simply white, just as my peers- my friends- are not simply black, or Asian. I […]

You’ve got to be Irish, right?

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 […]


Boat after the Mayflower; who cares?

Merrill Mason, Philadelphia, PA. Being descended from early WASP settlers made my mother feel important and entitled. But I believe that suffering and endurance are human experiences, not racial ones. Stories of grit and survival should bring people together rather than create hierarchies.


Blue Eyed Blonde Haired Native American

Bethany Longstreth, California, PA. I’m so pale, but being Native American is an important part of my history. I don’t think that people should not believe me when I say that I’m Native American, just because I happen to look more like the German side of my family.

Am I here because I’m Asian?

Jamie-Claire Chau, Philadelphia, PA. We have reached a dilemma in our fight for justice. How can we intentionally battle racism without being racist? We think reconciliation is embracing people because of their race rather than despite of their race. I constantly question whether I have what I have and am where I am because I […]


Wow, you don’t have an accent!

Angelina A., Allentown, PA. I myself always get asked about questions about my racial and ethnic background and it never has bothered me. I usually always say I am half Dominican and half Chilean, then I go on to explaining that my dad is from Chile and my mom is from The Dominican Republic. Although […]

I am the lone black parent….

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 […]

image25 (1)

I’m not Black, I’m Human first!

Alieu Nyassi, Pittsburgh, PA. We judge people by their race not the face that we are human first before any thing else. We have to value the fact that we all breath, drink and eat the same time of air, water and foods. We may differ from cultural norms and values.


Ashamed of American Black culture today

Keville Bowen, Chester, PA. I’m a Black man of three countries. Born in Trinidad, moved Canada and ended in America. Though I have little memory of Trinidad, my recollection of Canada and America are vastly different. I was only know as a Trini in Toronto and as I gained friends, I referred to them as […]

“Protect” sister from favorite childhood movies.

Emmy Corey, Harrisburg, PA. I’m a white Alabama native from an all-white town with a black sister who is 17 years younger than I. I love passing down the things that I enjoyed at her age- dolls, movies, books. For the most part, she likes receiving them too. The problem is that before she came […]


Brilliance Is Not Determined By Color

Kelly K. Buck, Harrisburg, PA. Unfortunately as events have shown, some still believe that its either the only or contributing factor, as to how others should be treated. The value and potential of life, doesn’t decrease because of the shade of our skin.


I Am Not All Asian People!

Shirin Akhter, Philadelphia, PA. When I tell other that I am Asian, they don’t believe me because they think my skin color is a little dark or my eye shape or the way I talk. I am west asian, i am from the west side of asia. All asians don’t look alike, we don’t have […]

Really, I can’t believe you Ski!

Malik Evans, East Stroudsburg, PA. Syracuse University I am from East Stroudsburg, PA, which is a huge ski and snowboard resort area. Whenever I tell people where I am from and what I do during the winter time at home, they seem to be lost and confused as to how I can ski.