Rob Bockman, Columbia, SC. Neutrally, “race” is a series of classifications designed to serve as a shortcut. Realistically, it’s a way to ignore, drown out, or cause harm to others. Charitably, it can also be a deep and abiding source of self-awareness and understanding. It’s not inherently negative, but it is, at base, reductive.
Anna, Columbia, SC. I know I have “white” skin, but I really hate that word. I don’t think about myself as “white”. I am Italian and Czech. My dad was the first generation of my family to live in America. Our family wasn’t here for the Civil War, we didn’t enslave anybody. In fact, my […]
Mr. Jones, Charleston, SC. New neighbors moved in about 6 months ago. 1st introduction while I was sweeping driveway “are you the maintenance guy”. I have a vacation home in a “upscale neighborhood” just 30 houses and only african american for 5 years. Neighborhood HOA even hired local police to do daily drive-thrus as well. […]
Victoria, Fairfax, VA. I was born in Conway, SC. I’ve lived in the States for nearly two decades now (all of my life so far). It wasn’t till I was in elementary, and I had to ask my mom why boys would say “ching chong” to me that I realized that I was somehow different. […]
Angie Estrada, Columbia, SC. I have been struggling with my sister-in-law seemingly using me as her token Mexican-American “friend”. She parades me among her white friends and uses me a talking point when making casually racist comments. You know, the classic “…but my friend is *insert minority here*”. I cringe at the fact that I […]
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 […]
Lynn, Great Falls, SC. I tend to look white; especially when not in the sun. I’m actually a mix of: European (German, Irish, & British), Native American (Seminole, Cherokee, & Muskogee Creek), Black (African -sub-sahara regions- and Melanesian), and Middle Eastern (Syrian, Turkish, Indian (India) & Iranian)…….Somehow I ended up looking more European instead……I hate […]
Carrie Powell, Charleston, SC.
Erica Tjelta, Spartanburg, SC. After growing up and living in rural and small-town Wisconsin for my first thirty-six years of my life–it was a shocking eye-opener to move to the racially diverse and racism-afflicted major city of Charlotte, North Carolina. My seven years spent there were the catalyst of a change-of-mind that radically altered the […]
Cleo Brown, SC. I and others in our late 50s and up are members of the last generation of children to grow up under the “Jim Crow” legal system that required EVERY white person to discriminate against EVERY black person, whether or not they were racist. This extreme inequality left a residue that caused […]
Alene Brothers, Greenwood, SC. Two of the most common questions I hear are “where are you from” and “what are you?” People see dark tan skin, dark brown eyes, and brown/black hair and think I have to be foreign. Although my family identifies as “white,” we’re a mix of different backgrounds, especially on my dad’s […]
Ronald Zeigler, North Brunswick, NJ. I was stationed at Parris Island going to Personnel school. I was from New York and with my three New Jersey (also Black) friends went into Beaufort, SC. We walked into a bar and my friend said “three beers, please”. I was at the jukebox looking for Motown and finding […]
Kavita Charleston, SC As an Indian-American woman working in agriculture, I used to frequently get some variation of this comment when I sold at farmers’ markets. Really? Should I thank you for that comment?
Christopher McDowell, Columbia, SC. I am tired. I’m tired of having to preface conversations with blacks with ” I’m not racist” because the media has told you all whites are racist. I’m tired of being told I cant have an opinion about race because I’m white, since when is logical thought a minority only thing? […]
Joan Hepburn, Charleston, SC.
Darryl Harvey Fort Mill, SC
Barbara Rodriguez, Florence, SC. Yes, they both are Cuban. The look of shock never ceases to amaze me. Is it because I’m blonde and have green eyes…yes! Is it because of where I live…yes! Growing up in New York, everyone I knew could tell me about their heritage. My neighborhood was a perfect melting pot […]
Robin McCants, Columbia, SC. Born in 1962, I have seen some change in attitudes toward race in my 52 years on this earth. This generation has a chance to live Dr. King’s DREAM. I am glad to be able to see that happen!
Allison Askins, Columbia, SC. Too often, we as white people will differentiate a black person in a description of something we have observed, but we don’t do the same for white people. Why do we do this? And if we do, shouldn’t we differentiate white people, too?
Josh Staveley-O’Carroll, Natick, MA. I teach at the college level (in Massachusetts, Virginia, South Carolina, and Washington, DC) and consistently my black students are in the bottom half of my class in terms of grades. This effect is especially pronounced in my black male students.
Vicki DiPaolo, Charleston, SC. It is the basic instinct of survival that causes us to evaluate our environment and decide if what we see is helpful, benign, or dangerous. We don’t always get it right because ingrained thoughts are always right in today’s world. We began in communities where we all looked the same. If […]
Louise S. Malone, Albuquerque, NM. My family were originally slave owners in South Carolina. I watch the point of view change with each generation.
Gelila Selassie, Charleston, SC. I pray that my hometown will stop racism before it results in body bags.
Ken McWilliams, Conway, SC.
Beth Brawley, Columbia, SC. My son is mixed race and when he was young a neighbor had a cousin over. They wanted to shoot a pellet rifle at cans. I told the neighbor and cousin they needed permission and I would supervise. The little boy who was visiting asked who lived at the house I […]
Robert McAlister, Lexington, SC. Grew up in segregated south in a single parent home. Always felt on the margins but later in life realized my mom was ahead of her time in accepting and seeing everyone as God’s children.
Marcus, Greenville, SC. I don’t know how many stores I have walked out of because of being followed instead of receiving customer service.
Tena Thompson, Hilton Head, SC. We need to start our individual conversations about race and life issues within our centers of influence.
Marsha A. Spencer Charleston, SC
Kathy E. McCabe, Columbia, SC. Yes, these were the words running through my mind back in 1968, while standing outside amongst the rest of the junior high school student body. I watched with curiosity as the two black students made their way ever so cautiously off the school bus. Oh, we had been forewarned of […]
Michael Burgess Bluffton, SC
Erik Shawn Frampton, Charlotte, NC. I am the descendant of a line of plantation owners in South Carolina. As a gay man, my upcoming marriage will finally occur on our 20th anniversary together. My larger southern family struggles to see my identity as sacred, just as they struggle still to see minority life as sacred. […]
AC Button, Boiling Springs, SC.
Schung, Philadelphia, PA.
Kristina T. Sanders, Sumter, SC. A regular day at work turned into an eye opening experience. I had helped a customer pick out a pair of shoes, and it was time for him to purchase them. The customer was a tall middle age Caucasian gentlemen. I gave him his total and he pulled out the […]
Dave Fuss, Myrtle Beach, SC. I hear a lot of talk about entitlement programs, typically implying that someone is getting away with something or getting something on someone else’s dime or hard work. White males have “run the show” for a long time and still do in the US. They make the system work for […]
Shelly Spivey, Taylors, SC. My northern friends assume that because I was born and raised in the south that I am a racist. I’m not. Don’t judge me based on a stereotype that the media seems to want to push out there about the south. Get to know me. Understand that just because I speak […]
Susan Nickason, Penfield, NY. Listening to the news this evening about the Charleston shooting, I hear “what harms our neighbor, harms us” This speaks to me as it wasn’t even 2 months ago that I left Kemmerer, WY, under the cover of darkness because of the harassment and inexcusable behavior that seemed, well, normal. To […]
Tierra Wells Holly Hill, SC Personally I have not experience this, but there has been stories told to me about this subject. When an African American walks into a store apparently the sales associate, who happens to be white, begins to look at the African American customer very closely. It’s as if the sales associate […]
Joe Fournelle, Stuarts Draft, VA. Spring 1969. I was a 20-year-old Marine at the Greyhound bus station in Beaufort, SC waiting for transportation to Cherry Point, NC via commercial bus. An “old” (older than me anyway) black man approached me and asked me to find out when the next bus bus for Lobeco was. I […]
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 […]
Dr. Amelia Crosby, Charleston, SC.
Mary Carroll, Columbia, SC. I am biracial and adopted into a white family. Growing up in a very southern affluent area, people were always asking me if I was paid well to look after the child and if I would work for them. When I would tell them that the child was my sister, generally […]
Tracey Rae Palmer, Myrtle Beach, SC. I was told never to kiss a n***** or get close to them; they would only rob you or kill you for money. I found myself in collage in 1979 and a black man got an “A” in his class. With arms held wide and incredible excitement, he kissed […]
Nathan Brown, Greenwood, SC.
Dianne Goodwin Brant, Cambria, CA. My Dad used to travel to South Carolina in the late 50s-early 60s. He told me of the segregated bathrooms, water fountains, etc. I cried myself to sleep at the injustice. Things are changing, but not enough to suit me yet.
Aminah Columbia, SC Being a light-skinned African-American has afforded me the ability to kind of live on multiple sides of the race coin in terms of my superficial assets. Many people assume that I’m mixed; I’m not. Many people assume that I lucky because, since I’m fully black, I have good hair. Man, if one […]
John Daws Tucson, AZ I learned this years ago from an elderly black woman in a coffee shop in Manhattan. She said, “For black people, everything is about race. For white people, nothing is about race.” Those contradictory yet complementary thoughts have served me well since then.
Anonymous Orangeburg, SC Often the discussion about racism is constructed as a problem with race. As if the problem isn’t with the majority’s racist attitudes, the problem is the existence of minorities. “I don’t see you as Black” translates as “I don’t see you as Black, because if I did, I’d have to either apply […]
Carole Woods Sequim, WA Sue worked for my grandmother without pay in Sumter, South Carolina, from her teenage years in the early 20th century until she was quite elderly. Then she was ‘given’ back to her relatives. My grandmother claimed Sue’s father ‘gave’ her to my family. She was a member of the African-American family […]
De’Seana Oakley Columbia, SC
Krystal Moss Columbia, SC I’m 16 years old and growing up around Blythewood SC was a really hard thing. When I was little kids would call me a mutt and pick at me. They’d try to cut my curls off and say many hurtful things about my race. For a long time I was afraid […]
Shakeiva Coleman Columbia, SC I am tall, light skin, goofy, and silly and love to eat.
Patrick Marbut Columbia, SC Don’t hang on to history, be the bigger person and accept differences.
Monica Walker, Columbia, SC.
Steven Lemon Columbia, SC
Lateshia Locklear-Theroux Rock Hill, SC All my life I have called white. Even growing up in my tribal community (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina) I was teased because I was lighter than most of the other kids. My parents (both of whom are Lumbee) always told me that it doesn’t matter what color my skin […]
Feldon Starns, Summerville, SC. I come from a lower middle class family. I was the first to graduate collage in my family. I worked full time at menial jobs and paid for everything myself. No loans, grants, scholarships, or aid. Nothing was given to me. If working inside old fuel tanks in a shipyard is […]
Lisa Schwager Muncie, IN Many people automatically assume that I am a bad driver because I am a female. I have never been in an accident and have been driving for over 5 years. I went to live in South Carolina this past summer with my sister and brother-in-law. I work in retail and was […]
Babara Sloan Wallingford, CT In Myrtle Beach, SC, Mr. Joe White was a local black man who washed windows of many stores, including that of my father. Town borders put all African-American homes outside the city limits. I remember Mr. White on his adult tricycle. There was no high school for Black teens. Most Blacks […]
Caroline Hutton Raszewski Columbia, SC As boycotts and riots raged around the South in the early 60’s I was oblivious. It was the first day of school. Mother was braiding my hair as my brother, one year older than I, lay on her bed. She grew serious. “There might be little black children at your […]
Gail Dawson Mt. Pleasant, SC I consider myself a liberal non-racist, always a fighter for equality for all, but have to honestly admit that latent racism resides in me.
Patricia Jones Charleston, SC My husband and I are the parents of an 18-year-old son who just graduated from high school. As we raised him to this point, we were always concerned about his emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Our goal was to get him through high school and his teenage years without ever seeing […]
Rich Thomas Johns Island, SC
Joe Gandalf, Pickens, SC. At age 5 I was told that “negroes” (the polite term in the 50s) were no different from any one else. Little kids believe anything their parents tell them. An entire lifetime has never shown me differently.
Kathryn Sanders Summerville, SC I am white Southern woman . I will never forget overhearing a group of white co-workers harshly criticize a black co-worker’s slip into African American vernacular at an on-the-job baby-shower while handing out gifts. I have some Appalachian forbears and am an English major and I take great pleasure in using […]
Pam Cunningham Lexington, SC This is what I heard in 1970 in my Senior year at Virginia Tech about to receive my degree in math when I interviewed with John Hancock and Shell Oil. You say race, do you think you are the only ones discriminated against? When I first heard this I thought it […]
Erica Shindler Fuller Briggs North Charleston, SC What are you? I get asked this question so often I’ve started charging people for the information. It’s my retirement plan. What I charge is determined by timing: at what point in the conversation did they ask the question? If it’s within the first few minutes of the […]
Jennie Rhinehart Spartanburg, SC I never knew until I did my father’s family tree that he had Cherokee ancestry. When I told him, he got angry. He had been born with blond hair, blue eyes & a German surname. His father was black-haired, his mother was black-haired. His father taught him to hate African-Americans & […]
Breanna Marshall Elloree, SC Get to know the person first.
Shaleigh Smalls Sumter, SC
Kristina T. Sanders Sumter, SC A regular day at work turned into an eye opening experience. I had helped a customer pick out a pair of shoes, and it was time for him to purchase them. The customer was a tall middle age Caucasian gentlemen. I gave him his total and he pulled out the […]
Kimberly C. Johnson Summerton, SC
Mike Gaither Hanahan, SC We need to stop dividing ourselves in groups. We need to join together and accept our differences or ultimately our differences will destroy us. If every American listened and I mean truly listened, with a clear mind and an open heart, to all the words of Martin Luther King’s “I have […]
Dina Reed Charleston, SC Since we elected a black president, it is difficult to divide us by race…so Obama has decided to create a divison in America of classes.. In my 75 years I have never heard so much reference to class
Michael Burgess Bluffton, SC
Kim Rockhill, SC We are ALL different shades of brown, there is no “black” people or “white” people or at least I have never seen one. With so many physical things that make us unique, why is it that race has to cause such an uproar? My God, this is sooo old until its not […]