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Little brown girl, white man’s world

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 […]

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She’s so basic, typical white girl.

Marryn Hilliker, Strasburg, PA. I chose these words that are jokingly spoken towards me very frequently. I’m a 20 year old white girl, blue eyes, red hair (although my “basic-ness” was worse when I was a blonde) attending college, who just happens to be apart of a sorority, loves Starbucks coffee, participates in the Netflix […]

The Minority: To Represent or Not?

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, […]

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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. […]

No eye contact because I’m white.

Cynthia Flynn Bryn Mawr, PA This was mostly not true where I grew up in inner city Seattle, but when I went to the South in 1968, that was my universal experience of African-Americans. It still happens today, even in professional settings.

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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 […]

“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 […]

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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 […]

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.

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Damn Yankees don’t go back home

Patty Reed, Greenville, SC. Originally from Pennsylvania, I’ve lived here the majority of my life but I cannot say I’m a native South Carolinian. While it seems to be more widely acceptable now, during my high school years in a small town it wasn’t okay to be from “up north somewhere”. A foreigner in my […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

New Brand Of Racism Is Worse

Anna Berch-Norton, Pittsburgh, PA. Yeah, when white guys call their friends “my nigga” and people say to their Vietnamese friend, “it’s funny cause you’re Asian”, that doesn’t mean that we’re totally over that whole racism thing. It means that people are subscribing to the hipster theory of racism that you can say really racist, disgusting […]

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Creating inclusive work environments is intentional.

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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Black mother. White baby. Didn’t matter.

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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

White minority does exist in America

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 […]

Dark Skins, Darker Lives, Ever Brightening

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.

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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.

We Don’t Consider You White Anyway

Daniel Martin, Jr. Mayfield, PA. In 2007, I was working in a bakery. For whatever reason, I happened to be one of very few white people that worked there. The large majority of the employees were people of color. I had no problem with this as I had been exposed to many different types of […]

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Witnessing humanity’s evolution: hate to love (?).

Carol Mowen, Greencastle, PA. When I first wrote this “race card” in 2014, I had firmly placed a period at its end. In 2016, I am moved to revise it slightly – to add the question mark in parentheses because I am not as sure we’re on the trajectory from hate to love as clearly […]

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Race obfuscates to bind and blind

Jason Allen, Langhorne, PA. I believe the reason we have not effectively dealt with racism is because race is an easily recognizable symbol that obstructs us from seeing our true natures and intentions. If one were to ask racists the reasons why they hate another race (think the ‘5 Whys’) , you would hear the […]

I am the modern day slave

Peter Pinsak, Nazareth, PA. About ten years back, I was hiking Mt. Cascade in upstate NY, when I encountered a family of four on the same excursion. Mom & Dad, two kids, a boy and girl in their early teens. Mom was a fit 30-something, and Dad was overweight, wearing knee braces, huffing and puffing. […]

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 […]

I was there, so were friends.

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?

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, […]

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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.

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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.

Well-educated, middle-aged WASP, and I’m poor.

Ian Eagleson, West Chester, PA. How could this have happened? It’s an embarrassment for all concerned. Once I was able to feel something other than the lash of humiliation, I began to feel something else. Something virtuous? Humility. Empathy. We are poor. Today there will be a hundred little cuts and a hundred little barriers […]

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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 […]

A Mississippi secret – not “accidental drowning.”

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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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I AM NO BETTER THAN ANYONE

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 […]

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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 […]

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“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 […]

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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 […]