Julie Phan, San Jose, CA. Hey, what are you? Uh, I’m Asian…? Really? You don’t look Asian. You’re tan, and chill, and not like other Asians. And you’re kinda ghetto. Honestly, you look Mexican or mixed. 1. My skin color does NOT identify my race, nor does it identify anybody else’s race/ethnicity. 2. Is not […]
Leonard Rios, Imperial Beach, CA. I am an American Indian on tribal roles and racism has followed my people childhood to present. I am a traditionalist and live an old school life style founded on respect and the spirit of taking only what we need and giving when all possible. I moved to Imperial Beach […]
Judea, Estes Park, CO. I have heard it said that being White automatically makes me racist. Although I grew up in a mainly White town, I’ve always been kind and respectful to everyone regardless of their skin color. When I heard that many people believe that all whites harbor racist thoughts, I read more into […]
Jordi A. Snell, The Netherlands. My mother is Dutch and my father is Moluccan (Melanesian I assume). I don’t exactly know what my father’s race is because alot of Moluccans have mixed race ancestry. All I know is that my father’s skin color is ‘Black’, he has thick curly hair when it’s long, but his […]
Penelope Howard, USA. I realized lately that while I don’t discriminate against skin color (as far as I know), a part of me discriminates against the way many black people talk. Did I learn nothing from My Fair Lady?
Shari Washington, Clinton, MD. Angry that in 2014 I still fear for my beautiful brown children and their children simply because of the color of their skin. I am shocked and appalled by the brutality and number of incidents brought to light as of late involving the denigration of black people, esp., black men.
Nicole Rice, San Juan Capistrano, CA. I am more than just ‘white’ even though everyone looks at me and says that is all I am. I have a lot more in me than just white, but no one will ever know unless they ask. I have even received the nickname ‘white rice’ because of my […]
Paulina Persson, San Clemente, CA. People love to make assumptions by skin color. I love to see people’s facial expressions when they find out I was born in Stockholm and that I am half Swedish and Puerto Rican.
Marquelle, CA. Don’t believe the hype! I am African American! I am not a violent criminal. I have never been arrested! I am not lazy and uneducated, on welfare, or living in poverty. I am gainfully employed, and I attend California Baptist University! I am not athletic. I cannot play basketball or run fast! I […]
Ricardo Quintanilla Jr., Mission, TX. For what I have seen the world to be, skin color makes for a subject of preference or a form of documentation. Skin color shouldn’t define or explain, it should simply be what it is, a skin color.
Kennedy R. Cotter, OK. How can we still see people first by skin color, who are we to judge someone?
John Calvin Miller, Fairfield, IA. “Flesh” color crayon: institutionalized racism revealed These both relate to an incident at U-Tapao Thailand where I served as Race Relations OIC during the Vietnam war. I helped design an embroidered Brotherhood patch for sale to airmen. When it was first being made, I went to the tailor shop to […]
Erin Fischer, Boulder, CO. This is actually the end of a quote from Abraham Verghese’s novel, Cutting for Stone. The whole quote says “Accent be damned in Africa, as long as it’s foreign and you have the right skin color.” It is referencing how a person who was low class and not well educated in […]
Andrew Beer, Philadelphia, PA. As a white male, I am lumped together with the rest of white America, but white isn’t a culture. My family came to the U.S from the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs before WWII from Dubrovnik, but no one seems to even think that I’m not a descendant of the […]
Erica Watts, Arlington, TX. Growing up, I believed that I was all African American. My mother was African American and so was my brother and that is all I needed to know, to know that I was African American. However, as i got older, people began to question my ethnicity. Some claiming that I looked […]
Dr. J., Irving, TX. It’s true, everyone tries to find similarities between babies and their parents. But the search ends when people see my son’s curly golden hair, blue eyes, and light complexion. Someone once asked me, “are you sure you want to name him Diego?” (when he was 9 months old). I’ll admit it, […]
Derrick Warren, Baltimore, MD. I remember my father talking to me about his college days in Missouri. There was this fraternity on campus that would require their prospective pledges to pass what was said to be a brown bag test. Essentially, if you were darker than the brown bag, you could not get into the […]
Marsha Surkin, White Bear Lake, MN. I am a white woman, 72 yrs old. When I was 11 I disobeyed my mom and read Kingsblood Royal. This was the first time I was aware of racial diveristy. In the book a man finds out he has a black grandfather and is run out of town. […]
Olivia Sliwa, Brandon, FL. I am a freshman in college and grew up in a loving, supportive family. Myself and both of my parents are white, but the always instilled in me to treat others as I would want to be treated and to never judge anyone simply because they had a different skin tone […]
Kitt Smith, USA. I have white skin, green eyes and brown hair. I appear every bit a homogeneous American white. I am not. I am a first generation American born to a Mexican illegal and a Irish immigrant. My family has no history here and no part in the oppression of black people. Both sides […]
Lei-Anna Bertelsen, Bozeman, MT. I’ve grappled with this question all my life. My dad told me a story when I was a second grader after a boy called me names based on my skin color. My dad explained that when God made people, it took three tries to bake us to just the right color. […]
Terynee, East Lansing, MI. My name is Terynee, my sister’s names are Tyani and T’Asia. These are all names my mother thought to be creative and beautiful. I love my name and both my sisters names, but when people “Try” and pronounce it, it is repeatedly devoured. I get that it is different but sometimes […]
Kelly K. Buck, Harrisburg, PA. Unfortunately as events have shown, some still believe that its either the only or contributing factor, as to how others should be treated. The value and potential of life, doesn’t decrease because of the shade of our skin.
Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Denver, CO. Being light skinned and Mexican has been the hardest thing to navigate in life. A dark skinned mother and an Anglo father gave birth to a light skin mestiza.
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.
Alex Cummings, Weston, CT.
Eric D., Houston, TX. While my son was in elementary school, I asked what race dose he tells his schoolmates he was. He quickly responded, “White”. When I asked why, he said that his skin color wasn’t brown or black. As he grew older he learned about both his Spanish and African American heritage. Now […]
Jarae Farrell, Poughkeepsie, NY. My father is West Indian and my mother is black. I grew up in a very diverse town in the northeast, so when I was younger I knew there were people who looked different than me, but race wasn’t really a thing for me until I was in high school. Even […]
Katie, USA. My family is proudly multicultural and many shades of brown, from my pinky-beige to my cousins’ deep cocoa tones. In the past year I have been accused of being racist more times than I can count. When I ask why they would say that the answer is always the same, “You’re white, all […]
Remy, Surprise, AZ. Being white isn’t a luxury. Being white can be a burden. What I mean is. People automatically assume I am raciest based off of my skin color. By law, companies have to hire a certain amount of minorities, so by that fact alone, white people get overlooked because companies already have enough […]
Wes Midgett, Philadelphia, PA.
Jenna, USA. Every culture or race seems to have this deep inter connection with their skin color and culture and heritage. People seem to embrace their ‘uniqueness’ and take pride of where they are from and who they are. I am white. I am proud to be white. But why do those words sound so […]
Jeanne Hover, South Royalton, VT. Having parented two African American children, I learned more than I wanted to about the privileges of skin color.
Sean, CT. I’m not proud to be white, because there’s so many different kinds of white and I’m not proud of my skin color, I’m proud of my culture. Sunday dinners. Seafood. Irish bread. That’s what I identify with, not the color of my skin. And to call me racist for that is complete shi*.
Matthew Zimmerman Wausau, WI It’s awful that my skin color will grant me favoritism over another person. We are all human, and we should all be treated as such.
Meg Seigenthaler Memphis, TN Skin color is but a tiny portion of our DNA. Like blue eyes or red hair, it shouldn’t have such an impact.
Sahra Hassan Minneapolis, MN This was said to me by a hair stylist the minute I walked into a salon. Ironically, my hair was cover so she couldn’t tell what my hair type was but she assumed this based on my skin color. Unconscious actions like these can lead to structural racism in our society.
Daniel Canada I am Canadian, my mother is mostly of English ancestry and my father is of mostly French ancestry. I prefer to just identify myself as Canadian though and I think that the land I was born in matters more than some place my ancestors migrated from a couple centuries ago. With that said, […]
Kristen Stephens Adelphi, MD My skin is special, not because I am light but because it is mine. Love the skin you are in!
Rayna Rochester, MN People of other skin colors can be from America too. Even though it’s probably not meant to be offensive, it is a little irritating when strangers repeatedly ask this question when I meet them, just because of my appearance.
Mari Filer Tuscaloosa, AL
Gunnevi Sweden We are all the same inside our bodies, no matter what your skin color you may have. Why does the mind of people not go the same way? Or do you think it has changed?
Donovan Holder, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. In South Florida, I am a chameleon. Mother is white, Dad is Jamaican. But my skin is the exact same color as my Latino friends, my Indian friends, my light skinned Black friends, and my Muslim friends. I am all of them, yet none of them. This is why my […]
Amanda Hemet, CA I know how it feels to be judged only on the color of your skin. In 8th grade during the LA riots I went to school just like any other day. When I got there I was confronted by a large group of students who began yelling at me. This quickly escalated […]
Mara Davis Bermuda Dunes, CA I have one mixed grand-daughter and i love all of my grand-children. Love is not shaped by skin color but by the quality of the interaction between 2 people. This is my family now and I strongly resent anyone mocking us because one child appears different. One day, a new […]
Peter Lorenger Fort Wayne, IN I lived in some rough places, so this might not sound surprising. I have been bullied, pushed around, shaken down, chased and threatened, usually because of my color. I have lived in large, medium and small cities, some near rural areas. I feel like I have been victimized. What color […]
John Philadelphia, PA Being racist towards white people, setting double standards or heavily restricting white people where POC are given the ability to say and do anything, even if it is offensive will only perpetuate racism. It doesn’t matter if you think it is justified or not. Human nature is the same, regardless of skin […]
Sanjay Raval Los Angeles, CA
Maggie C Portsmouth, VA My friends and family notice his skin color first, instead of his amazing personality or how much he loves me.
Anonymous Chabourne Residential College
Anonymous Chadbourne Residential College
Gregory M. Foster Sr. Hamden, CT I served in the military with many different races. they were my friends my brothers in arms and my companions in times of despair I never felt they were anything less then another human being!
John Johnson, Fairfax, CA.
Pamela Marshall Milwaukee, WI Life long experiences in dealing with racial ignorance is taking its toll. Being light enough that whites assume you are one of them has allowed me to hear racist comments that would have not been spoken, had they known they were in the presence of a black woman. Then my struggle […]
Joi USA Vs character-quote MLK.
Billy Cosby Salt Lake City, UT Everybody has one. No one is better than another. None is superior or inferior to another, yet it is one of the devices we use to judge and classify each other. Racism doesn’t belong to white people. It belongs to all races of people because all races to some […]
Mike Elliott Alexandria, VA My mother was brown. Her skin a shade so perfect until the day she died she was “Puddin” to her family and friends. My father a lighter shade of brown was “high yellow” and proud to be colored. He had a fraternal twin who was dark like an egg plant, blue-black. […]
Jeff Lewis Vienna, VA A few years ago my oldest daughter, now eight years old, described the skin color of my wife, me, herself and her younger sister in terms of ice cream flavors.
Pat Greenfield Harwood, MD Until we end all groups based on someone’s skin color, we will never be equal.
McKenna Jaymes Northglenn, CO I am white and was sitting with a few black friends, other black girls came and sat with us. Finally, someone I didn’t know looked at me from the other end of the table and asked why I was sitting with them. I was dumb-founded. I sat there everyday with my […]
Aliza Hirani Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I am a Pakistani-American, born and raised in Texas. When people ask me where I am from, I proudly tell them Dallas, Texas. Then, without a fail, I get the response, “No, where are you actually from?” I have realized when some people ask […]
Phoebe Ruona Minneapolis, MN I went to a little 2-room country school in MN. There were 3 black kids in our school. Mavis was in 5th grade with me. My parents threw a surprise party for me and invited all the 5th grade girls except Mavis. I remember being angry and sad that she was left out, […]
Anonymous Children and blind are not prejudiced. Race is not skin color. It’s ignorance.
Dana Reynolds Lees Summit, MO I think growing up white in mostly white towns and schools fosters misunderstanding and naïveté regarding what it’s like to walk around in darker skin.
Deborah Williams Clearwater, FL Fear affects all of us. Bad people are out there but it’s not based on skin color. When you walk by, take a moment to look that fear in the eye. Smile and say HI! You will see that 99.9% of the time your fear was unfounded.
Paul Sotello Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation