soul surfer

Soul Surfer is Light without color

NanJo Carter, Richmond, CA. I grew up in the fifties and sixties. We moved to Japan when I was 2. We moved to Montgomery, AL when I was six and I attended Capitol Heights Elementary School. These were intense times with the National Guard escorting us to class and the school. We experienced discrimination and […]

Ever had sex in the backseat?

Earlaine Williams, Oakland, CA. This is the question that was asked of me, when I was 17 years old, by the white man who was administering the driver test at the Depratment of Motor Vehicles in Richmond, CA in 1960. I was behind the wheel and he was the person who would determine whether or […]


Busing: white girl, black schools, lonely

Clara Silverstein, Boston, MA. As one of the white children in Richmond, Virginia in the 1970s whose family willingly participated in busing, I had few friends of any race. What we could have used at the time was leadership instead of racist rhetoric, white flight, and school administrators who cancelled all after-school activities. The possibility […]


Lincoln Memorial with Ace. I understand.

Jonny Cecka, Richmond, VA. I have always had progressive attitudes about equality and so-called “race,” but visiting the Lincoln Memorial with my adopted 13-year-old son, Ace, was profoundly moving and made me understand the sacrifices of Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and countless others in a deep, personal way.

My blackness should NOT equal fear.

Attalah Shabazz, Richmond, VA. Wipe the slate clean, don’t generalize, there is more to me than my skin color. I am more than what society teaches you about me. Give me a chance, give us all a chance. Throw away all of you presumptions.


Being Black and southern, educated engineer

Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. Calling me an Oreo or not really black, or basically a white girl means that you define some part of my personality, attitude, preferences, or demeanor as being owned and attributed solely to white people. Is it my intelligence, my sense of style, or how I speak? Is it because I’m […]

Colorblindness means you can’t see me.

Ashley Diaz Mejias, Richmond, VA. I write this as 34 year seminarian and old mom of two girls; my husband is haitian and puerto rican, and I am cuban and white. I am part of a church that, over the past year, has walked through race dialogues in an effort to begin bearing witness to […]

Feeling Conflicted about my family history

Romaine Martin II, Richmond, VA. I Think is very therapeutic. You can spend hours researching your family’s cold cases. One bit of information I found out left me feeling unsure of how to feel at all. “Green Gore was born, in 1816, the son of Robert Gore (1783 – 1870/1880) and Tomsey Jarrel,(1778 – […]

I am German, not a Nazi

Peter Alison, Richmond, VA. I come from an Austrian mother and an American father, so when people ask me about my ethnic background I tell them I’m half-Austrian. Throughout middle and high-school this elicited responses asking me if I hated Jewish people, or if I praised Hitler. It was annoying at first, but later it […]

She is just some white girl

Brooke, Richmond, VA. Virginia Commonwealth University Racism goes all sorts of ways. My race shouldn’t define everything about me, and definitely shouldn’t generalize me as a person. My race shouldn’t decide how I get treated in public or how much I get paid. My race should not put me above or below anyone, and it […]

Don’t straighten your hair, baby girl.

McKinley Dixon, Richmond, VA. In the dominantly caucasian school that my sister used to attend, she would get picked on for her hair being curlier and fuller than the other girls in her school. It got to the point where she would straighten it every morning before we go to school. Damaging her hair, for […]

Too many white people in here

John Richmond, VA Why can black people say “there are too many white people around here” and people laugh it off but if i said “there are too many black people around here” I would be a racist?

Those who EXPERIENCE racism DEFINE it.

Ann Lewis Richmond, VA Racism is a system of oppression that only People of Color can experience; there is no “reverse racism” or racism against white people, because there is no system which intentionally oppresses them. If you are white, you can experience prejudice or even discrimination based on your race, but you will never […]

My skin color is not white

Jordan Schramm Richmond, VA When I think of white, I think of a simple 8×12 sheet of printer paper. My skin does not resemble that color at all, so why define me in such a way? And when you call someone “black”, they are not the color of a chalk board, you are wrong. Color […]

I’m not responsible for the past.

J.S. Richmond, VA My grandparents came to the US in the 1960s from Poland after living through the Nazis and the Communists. I won’t be saddled with crimes in which neither I nor my ancestors had any part. Grow up people.

But where are you really from?

Adriana Green Richmond, VA Cornered in the grocery store, back pressed against stacked cans and rows of condiments – “But where are you really from?” On the subway, walking home, hair grabbed by a stranger in a pale coat – “What are you?” I spend my life defending my identity. The constant questioning: but, where, […]

White guilt doesn’t work on me.

Eric Vonhoussen Richmond, VA Let’s be honest. This website isn’t about anything else, but making white people feel guilty and ashamed to be white. Well, my friends, I’m proud to be white, and proud of my people’s accomplishments. it doesn’t mean I’m racist. ( yes you can be both proud of being white and not […]

Mother gave me a different world.

Mary Horton Richmond, VA I didn’t realize until shortly before her death how different the world my mother gave me was from the one she was raised in. My mother had Alzheimer’s, and in the last few years of her life, she reverted to some of the attitudes and behaviors she had learned while growing […]

Why’s my skin darker than yours?

Kristen Green Richmond, VA My five-year-old multiracial daughter said these words while sitting on my lap today while we were both in bathing suits by the pool and she was comparing the color of our arms and legs. My answer, another race card: You’re a mix of mom and dad.

White in North, Black in South

Lea Setegn Richmond, VA Growing up in Rochester, New York, I spent my elementary school years in a Catholic school that was 99% white. I am biracial – Dad’s from Ethiopia, Mom’s an American/Scottish/Irish mix – but no one noticed. (Truly, when you meet your schoolmates at the age of 5, who notices if you […]

Can only white people be American?

Nyssa Thongthai Richmond, VA I am Thai-American. I was born here and raised in Thailand. I came back here when I was 15. I’ve lived in Norfolk, VA for 12 years now and when people asked me where I’m from, I would answer Norfolk. And lots of time they would counter me and say “No, […]