I am not who you think.

Michelle DePass, Portland, OR. I live in Portland, a City that is overwhelmingly white. Our State Constitution was a racist one. Slavery was not allowed, however Black people were discouraged by a clause in the Constitution that says that Black people who locate in Oregon are subject to public whippings every 6 months until they […]


Failed to befriend first black student.

Lynn Scott Cochrane, Washington DC. I grew up in a deeply segregated Charlotte, NC in the 1950s and 60s. When my high school, North Mecklenburg, was finally integrated in about 1963, there was one black girl who always sat alone in the cafeteria. She may have been the only black girl in the school that […]

I’m caught in two different worlds.

Carissa Lew, CA. Being born in America but having my heritage from China leads me to believe I should choose one or the other. Many people question me about how “connected” I am to my heritage, but truth be told..I’m not very in tune with my Chinese culture. It’s difficult to discern who I really […]


I don’t meet YOUR Mexican expectations.

Veronica, Woodland, CA. Don’t look down on me because I don’t speak Spanish. I would love to learn but you shaming me makes me nervous to even try, should I make a mistake. You think I spit on “my language”? Well, you spit on me, your Mexican sister.

I don’t Want to be White

Holly Richmond, East Lansing, MI. I uttered this statement of shame at 12. My Dad said “sorry,nothing you can do about it now so live with it”. My Mom said “behave so you give whitey a good name”. I’ve been trying ever since but I still don’t want to be white!!!!!!!

My father wanted to murder us.

Alia Laurence Orlando, FL When I was 18, we found out that we were not simply Cherokee and various shades of European pale. (My father always considered being part Cherokee his ‘greatest shame’.) We found out we were also part African. Specifically, African-American of Malagasy descent. Not that this should’ve come as a great surprise […]


Successful, Black, Gay, a family’s shame…

Karim Ali Columbus, OH I suppose I have been pondering my Race Card (TM) entry for a few months. When I read the comments of Michael Sam’s father (Michael Sam Sr.) about his disappointment in his son for being gay, I was nearly in tears, as it reminded me of my own coming out with […]

Propitiating the shame: my maiden name

Mary Bunce Benson, Lufkin, TX. My maiden name is BUNCE, because of which on my wall beside my bed hangs a tapestry with the words of “Amazing Grace.” Pride in the family stories of, several great grandfathers back, New England sea captain Harvey Bunce turned to horror when I learned that slaves were his homeward […]

Dr. King’s photo behind (a) folding door.

Judy Seymour Madison, WI I grew up upper class white outside New Haven, CT.  ‘Bill’ and ‘JB’ cleaned my parents’ house for ‘Mrs. Seymour’, my mother.  My mother hung a calendar photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the wall behind a folding door between our kitchen and family room that was only closed/unfolded […]