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Skin doesn’t define the person’s race

Lisette Lazaro, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. When people see the color of someone skin they automatically go to an conclusion that are one specific race. For example, when they see a person with light brown skin they say the person is Mexican and when their skin is white they automatically […]

Its an ugly yet beautiful word

Kadeem Thomas-Evans, Columbia, SC. When I hear the word race I feel strange it’s like there making it seem like your different from every one else just because of the color of your skin. Race is an ugly because its a shame that people were categorized just in the past and now for the color […]

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Race does not exist, racism does.

Sarah Brush, Delaware, OH. I have friends that are of other races and I don’t care about their skin tone or how they look. I look deeper than that. The term race is constantly brought up when talking about racism. I don’t think race truly exists. Yes people have different skin tones. But we are […]

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What is, uhmm, race is uhmm…

Mahlon Gumbs, Atlanta, GA. What is uhmm… Race is uhmm… The thin line that Blinds us, Confines us, Keeps us at home base. If we cross that line It’s a crime, No matter the time; Society will put us back in our place. But what is uhmm… Race is uhmm… The thing about which we […]

Race envy on school’s cultural day

Andrea Krida Goff, Providence, RI. I’m a teacher in a wonderfully diverse urban high school in Providence. Every year during Spirit Week, one of the days is devoted to cultural celebration. We have African-Americans wearing colorful headwraps, Asians wearing kimonos, Dominicans waving their country’s flag, and me. Every year I struggle with a wardrobe that […]

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Since when is female a different race?

Andi Ray Bartnek, Canada. I grew up in a household with 4 generations of females and have spent my whole life having to justify my name and my sex. Part of me liked being different, the rest of me hated having to argue over who and what I was. That hasn’t changed after 67 years.

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They glare at my bi-racial son.

Linnette Derry, New York City, NY. I often think about the inevitable discussion about race that I will have to have with my son one day. That day when he will begin to ask me why people think I’m his nanny/housekeeper instead of his mother; the day when he will ask me why people keep […]

I walk in, they hate me

Sidney Lozano, USA. When I walk into a room, any room I can feel every emotion arising from every single being. Everyone already hates me not because of the color of my skin but because they can not tell which “race” or “race(s)” that I belong to. Amongst this hatred is a hatred they feel […]

When we run out of “firsts”

Greg Hudgison Columbus, GA I am hopeful that one day race will the last part of the conversation, and not the first. My six words refer to when another race is the first to accomplish something. I believe we will make progress when we are out of the first race to accomplish a task or […]

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Is Puerto Rican a separate race?

Diana Gonzalez, Franklin Square, NY. I am an adopted person. I’ve been searching for my past all my life. I’m 60 now. One of my adopted parents was Austrian and one was Italian. I was raised to think of myself as Italian. In the early 1970’s I searched and found out I was born in […]

He’s my cousin. You can tell.

Emily Bryant, Denver, CO. My last name is Bryant. Like Kobe Bryant. Whenever people ask my to spell out my last name, I usually just tell them that. Sometimes I tell them that he’s my cousin and it always gets a good laugh from people, no matter what their race is. You see, not only […]

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Defined by my character, not race.

Kim Hollins, Portland, OR. It’s all about who you are and not what you look like in my book. A person’s character can greatly affect one’s perception of an individual as well as racial groups they may be a part of. What you say and do contributes to racial stereotypes and adversity way beyond the […]

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Moving against societies current of Race

Mehdi Ettehadulhagh, Norway. Being born in Cameroon, having a Russian father that’s born in Iran, and a mother from Cameroon, and living in Norway but schools in Romania really makes one feel mankind is One. And all of the citizens of earth are one. But it will take others a lifetime to see the world […]

Vietnamese, torn between remembering or not.

Thien Kim Ho, Somerville, MA. I grew up in what seemed like a movie representation of my own race. My mother was a nail technician. I don’t know if she still is. My father probably still is an engineer. I don’t know whether I had “tiger parents” or if they were just plain mean. I […]

Now we can talk about race

Gary Seven Nashville, TN All during the election season, conservatives were claiming that President Obama did nothing to unify the country about issues of race, (as if he were capable of, and was singularly responsible for doing so by himself.) Their claim was that he was the most divisive president in history when in fact […]

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I wish “white” wasn’t a race.

Eirann Betka, Grand Rapids, MI. I wish white wasn’t a race. Because where does that mean I come from? I am given five options of classifications to choose from. Five checkboxes. None of which correctly identify my origin, and of all of them, white seems vague and without a home. Where is white? How can […]

Race’s Reality and Historical Legacy Matter

Gabriel Rossi, Jersey City, NJ. As a white male I want to learn about the realities people from all nations experience in the United States and around the world. I hope to do this by listening and educating myself through building relationships. I believe walking with and having real relationships with people who have different […]

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Black Vietnamese. Speak spanish. Eat rice.

Hao Nguyen, Durham, NC. I wanted to say… Black Vietnamese. Speak english, spanish, vietnamese. Eat suong kho, pho, and corn dogs. Words that describe my mixed race/heritage children. Having to choose only 6 words, I had to put them in order of words that most describe them. Having to choose what comes first — black […]

Race feels different everywhere you go

Sky, Skowhegan, ME. In mostly white places like Maine, I feel like there’s not very much obvious discrimination or prejudice. In 50/50 places like New Orleans, white people seems to live in rich neighborhoods like Uptown and the Garden district. The lower and upper ninth ward is where I lived. Mostly black people live there. […]

I cannot choose just one race

Jade Pritchett, Port St. Lucie, FL. Growing up, I never understood how I was supposed to chose a bubble, check a box, pick one race. I am multiracial, and proud of it. Teachers would tell me to choose the one that I “feel”. Does that mean that I can’t feel them all? When I grew […]

Belief Gap Not An Achievement Gap

Kelly Cutler, Portland, OR. Our beliefs play a powerful role in the discussion of race, especially in the world of education. In my view, the system of education suffers from a “believe gap” related to students of color, rather than students of coloring having an “achievement gap”. When are we going to unpack our believes […]

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We are all brothers and sisters

Christina Williams, Aliso Viejo, CA. Race is such as small idea in comparison to bigger ideas like love, togetherness, family, connection and happiness. I wish to raise my children in a world where people are celebrated for ideas and compassion and not for superficial ideas such as skin color and ethnicity. Race is outside of […]

How can whites prove their worth?

TheBadApple, USA. I have come home from a bad day at work and am looking for honest open dialogue. I am a white teacher who works with children of all races, shapes and forms. One student in particular I have worked with is struggling with issues such as lying and stealing. I have tried positive […]

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 […]

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I am not the exchange student.

Mellini Kantayya, Brooklyn, NY. I am an actor and writer who currently has a book out (humor essays) about the entertainment industry. I include a chapter about race, and there are many many six word race cards I could have created. But being mistaken for the exchange student and many other like encounters are what […]

WHITE feminism. I live with contradiction.

Danielle Nelson Winston Salem, NC I’m proud to be a feminist, but I’m not proud of the unspoken privilege that comes with being a white feminist. Fighting privilege with privilege? It’s so contradictory, yet I cannot ignore both these parts of my identity. WHITENESS consumes me every day, every minute, but because it’s so ingrained […]

Too Easy Pretending Race Doesn’t Matter

M. M. S., Morris, MN. Growing up white means that you never have to notice that you are represented in the media more than any other race is, even in situations where that should not be the case (-Exodus: Gods and Kings- I’m looking at you). It means that it’s so easy to turn away […]

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Race segregates ignorance and quasi-perfection

Melvin Jones, San Francisco, CA. One would think that California is a progressive state that seldom harbors racism. Unfortunately that is just a heartbreaking fallacy. The reality of the status quo, is that the Golden State is riddled with a plethora of “undercover racist” who abuse, deny, intimidate, African-Americans and Latinos. To misfortune, or fortune, […]

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I don’t understand why race matters.

Jennessa Cairo, Los Angeles, CA. I believe it’s important to know who we are, and to learn and respect our cultures all over the globe. But growing up I never saw race, I just saw people as equals. Sometimes I just don’t understand why is matters to people.

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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 […]

Bird Watching: A Metaphor on Race

Keenan Chandler, Atlanta, GA. There are all sorts of birds in the world: big birds, small birds, flightless birds, aquatic birds, birds with wondrously colorful plumage and those with subtle, dull feathers. If we want to appreciate them equally, do we pretend not to see their differences? Do we say the pigeon is the same […]

Self-image shattered living in South.

Carol Salami-Goswick Eugene, OR I’m a white woman who was born, raised, and lived in CA until I was 54. I was in college during the 60’s and was sympathetic to the black folks struggling for equality in the South. In my 30’s I had a serious relationship with a black man. I worked in […]

I don’t speak for my race!

Celesti Colds Fechter, Tarrytown, NY. I feel as though when I am the only African-American in a setting that I feel obligated to “speak” for other African-Americans. I will not do it and don’t ask me to do it. I had a job where I was the first African-American hired in a professional setting. I […]

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Miles, Duke, Ella. Music conquers race.

Ernie Hills, Sacramento, CA. “As a young musician growing up in a white bread and mayonnaise world, I revered the recordings of black jazz musicians. This, more than anything else, is responsible for erasing the lingering racial animosity that was part of my family’s unspoken legacy. Thanks for being with us today!”

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Disability and race activists work together

Robert Segalman, Sacramento, CA. People of race have been especially supportive of my efforts to establish a FCC mandated accessible telephone service for people with speech disabilities (see www.speechtospeech.org) . I have significant cerebral palsy (see www.drbobsautobiography.org) and have worked to establish this service. People of color, like Dr. Joel Tolbert at California Public Utilities […]

Learned about race FEAR at 13.

Jay Bailinson Napa, CA In lived in Oakland CA. during preteen and early teen years. I belonged to a Boys Club sponsored by the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Oakland’s China town area. I played on sport teams in a church leagues sponsored by this church. I was one of two white boys on the team […]

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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 […]

Perceptions of race…change….over time…

M’Karyl Gaynor, Decatur, GA. I am 52 years old and I am from the Midwest (Rockford, IL) and while there was not an absence of racism per se…my friends and I were fortunate enough to grow up in a community where our families, communities and educational experiences allowed us to experience integration at its best…I […]

You didn’t tell me he’s black

Katherine F., Minneapolis, MN. I met a woman through professional circles when I was recruiting for a volunteer project. As it happens, she lived near me. We formed committees for this initiative and began talking more socially on the phone. I went over to her house a few times for coffee. One weekend she invited […]

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 […]

I was scared of my race

Kiesha Ireland-Tran San Francisco, CA I am an African American girl, yet I grew up scared of black people. I felt that I was unsafe and didn’t belong with them. An adult in my life lead me to believe these things that changed how I perceived myself and others. People identified me as ‘white’ despite […]

Guilt. I loved my Annie so.

Lisa VonTress Las, Sunrise, FL. As a child growing up in the DC suburbs, I had no idea about what was going on. I had Annie, who was with my family 6 years before I was born until I was 13 when my father moved us. I came back to her later as she worked […]

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Oceanic? I’ve NEVER heard of that.

Lee, Saipan, MP. Oceania is the proper geographical name of a defined region, as are North America, Europe, Asia, etc. People are Native American, European, Asian… I am, among other things, Oceanic or Oceanian; a person descended from ancestors from Oceania. Specifically, Micronesia. The term “pacific islander” as a racial category is an oddity that […]

“White privilege” makes me feel invalid

Alice N, TN. I want to feel like my achievements are because of me and not because of my race. However, I’m told that I’ve only gotten to where I am because I’m white. This makes me feel like years of studying into early morning and fighting to get myself noticed out of a sea […]

We perceive race issues so differently.

Kim Baldridge, Austin, TX. I’m always shocked at how differently we seem to see race issues along color lines. When I see whites say “NO I wasn’t a slave owner, but transgenerational hurt and missed opportunity does mean something. ” I may have hope that race issues will be resolved. It seems like America is […]

We Created Race, Then Change It

Brent Vuglar, Houghton, MI. Just like any controversial subject where people do not see eye to eye, people tend to be close-minded to others opinions. This development of tension plants a seed of anger to one another. I myself grew up in a not so very diverse suburb, and when I was younger I believed […]

She gave the eraser back.

Harry Ford, Minneapolis, MN. Race is a difficult subject given the large amount of pain many people of color have experienced related to race within this American landscape. We are people in pain hoping that our contributions will be seen by the others.

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My grandson is not an other!

Henry Lonnemann, San Mateo, CA. The census called in 2010 and asked: “What race is your son?” I said he is not, but if you are curious about his ancestors he is a mix of Korean, Irish, German, Japanese, and probably some french. They then said they would have to mark him as “other”. My […]

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Just call me a human being

Rocio Tapia, Forest Park, GA. Being from Mexico, I do not have any sense of race. I know what I am and do not identify with any of the categories listed when I am asked about my race or ethnicity, so I often leave it blank or choose “Other” if I am pressed to select […]

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Race is a story we tell

Charles McCoy, Los Gatos, CA. I grew up being steeped in the folklore of Irish and Italian cultural heritage, thinking I was “half Irish”and “half Italian” and listening to my grandmother crowing about only being Toscana and speaking Toscana ( the received Italian dialect). As I did my DNA testing, I discovered that I am […]

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My race is not my nationality.

Linda Morris, Shawnee, KS. Growing up, I got teased a lot for being a fair-skinned black girl by kids who would assume and make sure I knew that one of my parents surely must be white or another nationality besides “black” (ah, kids). When I became a teen and young adult, I would get asked […]

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Obsessed much with race, America?

Atong Majok, Salt Lake City, UT. Being from Sudan, a country with a seemingly-infinite number of spoken languages and dialects, I still find it baffling that many white Americans think they can “know” something about a person merely by looking at their skin tone…

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Family matters; race, not at all.

Phyllis Kedl, Little Canada, MN. Ours is a multi-ethnic family. We have fourteen grandkids, only five of whom are ethnically related to us. The rest? Two African American, three Hispanic and four Chinese. We are anything but vanilla, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your project, Michele, may offer our country’s first — […]

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Using my race and womanhood as leverage!

Jade D. Lee, Syracuse, NY. I HATE feeling like I SHOULD feel less than because I am a black woman. I believe that I can do anything, and I CAN surpass any social construct that challenges this belief. EVERY black woman has the capacity to exhibit an abundance of adequacy and value.

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I didn’t think it was real!

Toya James, Albuquerque, NM. I am biracial (Black/White) and born in Cleveland in 1959. By “it” I mean race. I thought more people knew race is simply a social construct and that racism was something education erased. I have only recently realized how widespread the buy-in is in American society and that race was invented […]

A member of the fogotten race

Anna Fraley, Jena, LA. Do people realize that Native Americans still exist? WHY are our struggles for equality not brought to thr forefront like those of the African Americans, Muslim Americans, and Latinos? We are the forgotten.

Where’d you go to high school?

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.

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Race is a Matter of Mind

John Stephens, New Market, VA. Many years ago, when I was a young man, I went to see the movie The Defiant Ones with Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier. The film was about two convicts who were both strident racists. They escaped from prison but they could not escape each other because they were shackled […]

I’m seventy two, and race tired!

Celeste Havis, Jacksonville, FL. Science and religion alike informs us that the concept of race is an illusion. Why do we continue to hang on to this antiquated concept when it only serves to divide us? I have dedicated my life to building positive human relations and now it appears to me that we are […]