Jules M. Marquart, Louisville, KY. In Louisville during the pre-busing 1960s, this “screening” question was based on assumptions and generalizations about race and class. A high school in the West End of the city–African-American (Negro or Black back then) and poor; in the South End–white and red neck; and in the East End–white and privileged.
Francis Lafayette, NC. Much like modern Germans, lower class white males in America have been granted a shame about their past. We’ve been told the History we learn in school is Eurocentric, but as a former social studies teacher, I can tell you that most Americans cannot tell you who Louis IV was. Or John […]
Bryan Maloney, Indianapolis, IN. A dirty little secret of institutionalized racism in the USA is that racism is a great way to distract the working class.
Christine Farrell, Naches, WA. My dad was an Italian/Irishman who grew up in the Bronx and Harlem areas of New York City. He grew up tough and he grew up mean. He was the only white kid in many of the schools he attended. He was involved in gangs, had been in and out of […]
Elizabeth Foster, Little Rock, AR. Growing up in a mostly-white suburb of Chicago, I was isolated from cultural and socioeconomic differences. Through my privilege, I was able to travel to countries both more and less affluent than that of my upbringing. Now that I live independently & make much less money than my parents, I […]
DeAnna Calderon, Austin, TX. I grew up poor in the Southside of Chicago. We were extremely poor and even homeless at times. Sleeping outside in the middle of winter when I was a child. When I was 22 I joined the Army. The treatment I faced as a woman in the military felt like it […]
Maranda Compton Denver, CO For most of society, the American Indian is conceived of as strictly an historical figure. People maintain images of Tonto or the Crying Indian walking alongside the highway in buckskin and feathers. And if they do allow the Indian to exist in modernity, he or she is relegated to an impoverished, […]
James E Washington, Rochester, NY. The ego thrives on identification and separation. We seems to be a nation that thrives on dualism, having an “other” a “they or them” as a means to distinguish ourselves from. White, Black; Rich, Poor: Republican, Democrat; Christian, Jewish; Fat, Skinny; on and on. The problem appears to be “ego […]
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 […]
Katy Wilkerson, Houston, TX. In the deep South, in my experience, racism is pervasive, especially when you talk about poorer and poorer white people (not just men). There truly does still exist a level of social acceptability that is just not OK. I’ve always been extremely disgusted by it, despite being white and having these […]
Nina Haug Richardson, TX While applying for college, I realized that I have no “hook” – the box, story, or line that might make me more than just another high-achieving middle class white girl applying to too many schools. And I had absolutely no right to complain about this – I grew up in a […]
Jillian Kurekova, USA. I am a 21 year old white female living in the ghetto. I have always been the outcast. I grew up in foster homes with black foster mothers and siblings, I have lived in all-black neighborhoods and went to all-black schools. I have never felt out of place surrounded by black people […]
Thaddeus, Nashville, TN. I was raised poor in Louisiana where the generations of my family before me farmed and picked cotton, fished and lived off the land. Our water was rain water caught in a ground cistern and we used an outhouse for a toilet and boiled water for each night to bathe. So please […]
Ally, USA. I know that in the past, it was better to have lighter skin because that meant you weren’t poor, but now, with all that disgusting skin bleaching, it makes me want to rip my ugly dark skin off and bleach it too.
Christopher Allen, USA. As far as we can go back thanks to grandparents, my family were farmers. More often for survival than profit. Now my family includes electricians, train operators, postal workers, teachers, military men and women,lawyers, one doctor, one engineer (my father), corporate drones, business owners. We’re an enormous and close extended family that’s […]
C. B, WV. I grew up poor in a rural West Virginia. My race, the way I talk and where I’m from immediately make people assume I’m illiterate, uneducated, and deeply racist without ever actually talking to me. The irony… I get so angry at how common and acceptable it is to use Hee-Haw accents […]
M. Landrum Atlanta, GA I grew up poor in a mixed neighborhood in south Atlanta. My two best friends were white and black, and for the most part we all got along. One day my white friend was angry and called my black friend a n*****, and even though I’d never heard the word I […]
Aris Foucault Etheridge Leverett, MA I think it’s possible that the poor urban white perspective may be a helpful one in thinking about race as it relates to poverty. What are the similarities between the poor urban white experience and the poor urban black experience? What are the differences, and how do these differences effect […]
Louis Wausau, WI 2013 Attitude, Uneducated, Dependant, Poor, Feared, Unhappy
Nathan Whitelight USA Liberals arguing for racial preferences in our government always give a sob story about a minority who grew up in the ghetto, unlike the Whites all of whom must have been middle class. This simply isn’t an accurate picture of the typical affirmative action beneficiary, most are themselves the children of middle […]
Richard Rochester, NY Born poor. Struggled to make it. Became successful. Hurt no one. The American Dream. I am not evil or greedy, just good at what I do. Yet I am vilified. Prejudice has many faces. I have done what we all want to do, better myself and my family through hard work and […]
Patricia Richardson Sacramento, CA Came from a VERY poor family mother w/8 kids on welfare. I heard those words so many times growing up “I believed them”, I identified with them. We were all called that, relatives who thought they were better than us, by neighbors, at school by other kids and I even heard […]
Nehemiah Bourne College Park, MD Being black in America I will always be a target. Some one will think im stealing, poor, stupid, ghetto and countless other terms.
Henrietta Jenrette Raleigh, NC Used in the South to keep poor white farmers from joining forces with poor black farmers to level the economic playing field.
Anavlis, Syracuse, NY. I am a brown woman from Latin-America, meaning I am a black Latina. I also live in the projects, meaning I am also about as a poor as they come (from a private univesity point of view). I was born with a surprising 4 strikes against me, a quadruple minority who is […]