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 […]
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 […]
Myles Browne, Newtown, PA.
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 […]
Carly, Philadelphia, PA. I don’t think their parents, their media, their schools, their society, told them it was rude to write on other people’s identities without their permission.
Egypt Bracey, Philadelphia, PA.
MochaJuden, Philadelphia, PA.
Kyetheus Monteiro, California, PA. To be young, gifted and Black!
Jon Stuckey, Mechanicsburg, PA. I learned my 6 words based on your lovely presentation this evening at Messiah College. Thank you for coming. And thank you for your important work.
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 […]
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 […]
Skip Mendler Honesdale, PA
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 […]
Christopher Oneill, Mechanicsburg, PA. I don’t know what it’s like to have people hate or judge me because of my race, but I think I can at least relate.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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?
Silagh White Bethlehem, PA
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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.
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 […]
Carlos Ramoss, Williamsport, PA.
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 […]
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.
Cash’e Chapman, Philadelphia, PA.
Matt Culler, Chambersburg, PA.
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.
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 […]
Linda Eremita, Pittsburgh, PA.
Tyler Kishimoto, Mechanicsburg, PA.
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Alonna Carter, Pittsburgh, PA.
Terryn Brown, Harrisburg, PA. We are offered and promised equality as a right, but when we say we are just as equal as the next person it becomes a controversial topic is society.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Aiyana Pellegrino, Philadelphia, PA.
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.
Allison M, Philadelphia, PA.
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 […]
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.
Jaylene O., Harrisburg, PA. I’m mixed. But I am predominantly Puerto Rican. I explained this once and I got the response “But you don’t act Puerto Rican.” ……..What? Since when is race defined by actions. I shouldn’t have to act any certain way to be considered what I am. I speak Spanish and Puerto Rican […]
Brooke A. Brown, Williamsport, PA.
Desiree C, Philadelphia, PA.
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 […]
Prudence Runyan, Philadelphia, PA. In the late 90s a colleague and I needed to go about 90 miles away to a client meeting. We each took our own cars, as it was the weekend and we were heading off in separate directions after the meeting. He planned to follow me, as he hadn’t been there […]
Britt Stone, Philadelphia, PA. No one ever asked “what” I am. They just assume. They approach me with all sorts of ideas about what food I like, what music I listen to, the books I read, and my favorite movies and tv. They have an opinion of what I should sound like when I speak, […]
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 […]
Megan Hogan, Havertown, PA. I don’t see color in a bad way but I do see it. I don’t see what is wrong with that. We all need to start embracing ourselves and others more. I should be able to recognize the color of someone else and celebrate and be able to inquire about it. […]
Sydni Booker, Philadelphia, PA.
Santana O., Philadelphia, PA. I’m asked by new people commonly, “Wow, you look so Asian! Are you Asian?” I’m also asked, “You’re really pale, are you Caucasian? Are you sure you’re black? WOW! You’re Puerto Rican & black. That explains it.”
A. Odell Richardson, Pittsburgh, PA. America’s greatest export to the world…! Distinguishing people by the color of their skin with “white” at the top of the food chain…!
Melanie Brown, West Chester, PA. Whether you are of African decent, European, Asian, Caribbean, Latino, etc… We breathe the same air.
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. […]
Robert L. Hewitt Sr., Chambersburg, PA.
Tyrone Grant, Philadelphia, PA.
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.
Gregory, Philadelpha, PA. As a Polish immigrant in America I have been faced with many challenges, but one that has always seemed most challenging and bizarre was issue of being white and being treated by others as a minority. As long as people didn’t hear my accent I would fit in, but once my identity […]
Daina Haughton, Philadelphia, PA.
Karin Coyne, Pittsburgh, PA. My sweet man is black and I am white. Our baby girl is both. but the world is a complicated place… and she is light-skinned and people ask her daddy, “Is that your child?” This deeply offends him… because it makes him feel as though folks are suggesting that he has […]
Nashae Pitts, Harrisburg, PA.
Jonea Brookwood, Harrisburg, PA.
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.
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.
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?
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 […]