Sam Henry, Ashville, NC. As a white male Social Studies teacher I always have a difficult time teaching slavery. From what I know about my family tree I don’t have any family members that owned slaves but that is hardly the point. It is a shameful period in our history but one worth studying. I […]
John Leo, Sag Harbor, NY. This may be redundant since the release of and discussion about Twelve Years a Slave, but for many years I’ve seen and heard people complain about bosses and working conditions and I’ve empathized. But I’ve also reflected on how these modern days woes compare to SLAVERY. Being the property of […]
Jesse Dukes, Charlottesville, VA. This question was on my mind recently, when I wrote an article for Virginia Quarterly Review about Confederate reenactors at the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg. I don’t actually have any Confederate ancestors I’m aware of, but most of the reenactors do. All of the reenactors I talked to considered slavery to […]
Anderson Brown, Jacksonville, FL.
King Kellz, Fayetteville, NC. We only learn what America has taught us about our specific race.
Ryan Mearig, Fountain Valley, CA. School does a great job of giving you the surface level depiction of slavery. It took 22 years to learn that every foreign race was oppressed, and that we thought it was ok.
Roberta Smith, Boston, MA. During the conversation, once the white guy spoke about self responsibility a lot of black people were visibly upset and I feel, most black people in the audience stopped listening because they were “offended”. The black rapper basically encouraged black people NOT to get involved in government. What if Obama felt […]
Kitra Mwania, Branson, MO. The confederate flag clearly means something important to the people around here. Being a black person who learned that this flag represented slavery and injustice makes me nervous about why this flag is an accessory.
Phillip Johnson, Saint Louis, MO. History shows the historically oppressed are not the ones who use race to their advantage. In order to galvanize support for trans atlantic slavery – one race had to be made to feel superior to another.
Tarah Zdunic, East Lansing, MI.
Joy Los Angeles, CA Looking into my family history, at first I found relief at finding no record of slave ownership, even among ancestors in the South. Was it just because they could not afford to buy slaves? But then I found a transcript of a sermon my great-great grandmother’s brother gave at a church […]
Kim Skillern Samuels, Cleveland Heights, OH. I lived in a neighborhood of black people, and went to an inner city public school. When friends found that I’d be moving to the suburbs they teased me, and said “Those honkeys are gonna chase you home from school.” At the age of six I thought a “honkey” […]
Denise Pierce, Sterling, VA. My grandmother who was born in NC in 1901 and lived to be 105 tried to instill in me a love for my land-owning ancestors who also owned slaves. At 99 she was still quoting from the KKK playbook that taught slaves were lucky to have been brought to America and […]
Alexa Ogno Salem, MA In the 1980’s, I went to a Catholic prep school that was full of privileged white kids. My good friend, Duchess Harris, was one of the few students of color. There was a single African American teacher. One of the student government fundraising activities was a “Slave Auction” in which fellow […]
Anonymous Mobile, AL I was born and raised Caucasian, though of course, like most Caucasians, I was referred to and referred to myself as “white.” But like so many, I found myself attracted to African American culture, and, generally, more accepted by African Americans. As I’ve grown, becoming an instructor of English and therefore, an […]
Janet D George Columbus, OH
Brendon Milwaukee, WI I’ve heard this used in conversations and discussions around race and it is embarrassing. It completely discounts the persons position as if to say “you’re free now or I never owned a slave, why are you complaining?”.
John Staunton, VA It is factually true that I never owned slaves. But while this statement is true for every American person of any race, it is also the great white excuse. I think that all people today of every race owns responsibility for the moral and historical consequences of slavery. But today’s descendants of […]
Michelle Hill Oakland, CA Our family is so fortunate that my great, great, great grandparents were not separated from each other and their children during slavery. Because the family stayed together, we have a family Bible, pictures and records that document their lives in this country. My great grandmother, Mama Lizzie, was born in 1870 […]
Greg Camp Fayetteville, AR I did not live in the era of legal slavery or Jim Crow. I did not support those laws. And don’t waste my time with talk about privilege. Claiming that white males have privilege simply by virtue of being white males denies the diversity in outcomes that we experience.
Teresa Pinnell TX Slavery and all the rest is wrong – I never agreed with any of it. But I feel the anger and resentment from blacks sometimes and I just feel like saying “I had nothing to do with slavery!” I shouldn’t be condemned because I am white any more than they who are […]
Delphine Fenderson Birmingham, AL So much was taken from my people during slavery. We are the only Americans that worked and built this country and got nothing in return. It continued with Jim Crow, share cropping, low minimum wages, stereotypes, having to fight for basic human rights. In order to maintain this status quo this […]
Michael H Chicago, IL I grew up listening to Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy talk about their dream of a society that one day would be “color blind”. Forty years later, I feel like we’re as far as ever from that goal. In fact, I suspect most Americans would prefer to perpetuate the distinctions […]
Ken Segehrs Wentzville, MO Some whites fought for equal rights, even in the face of a gun.
Piper Kendrix Williams Wyndmoor, PA This morning (6/27/13) I heard the story on Morning Edition’s Race Card segment of the sliding fee scale based on the race of a child being adopted. The conversation touched on the difficulty and complicated nature of assigning differing “value” to black, bi-racial, and white children. It seemed clear to […]
Michelle Ternus Oakland, CA
Katherine E. Byroade West Hartford, CT When I was a child, my southern grandmother took great delight in the fact that she was a Jamestown descendant and DAR member and saw her membership in those organizations as part of her legacy to her granddaughters, ensuring our social success. She was matter of fact that the […]
Teri Aitch Submitted via Twitter: @Talix18
Bruce Cammack Lubbock, TX This is a quote from the Richmond Virginia Enquirer from 1856.
Women & Politics Submitted via Twitter: @wrip1m @michele_norris @umich
Daniel Portland, OR I grew up in a working-class and ever-so-slightly diverse part of a very white city, but I the bus across town with two dozen others to school K-12. As I grow older I sometimes recall classroom memories that make my current self uncomfortable. In 7th grade social studies we discussed slavery, and […]
Anon Ymous Charlotte, NC “Replaced slavery chains with entitlement chains” As a white with guilt, all I can say is: I’m so sorry, twice…
E. Martin Hampton Roads, VA So often people act as if slavery was some prehistoric event whose effects should have dissipated. In reality, 150 years have not passed since the end of the Civil War. In reality, slavery not only induced poverty in African Americans but wealth in whites; slave owner or not free labor […]
Erin R. San Antonio, TX For too long I was unaware of my own racial privilege (as a white woman), but thanks to my graduate studies, my mentors, and my conversations with friends it is overwhelmingly apparent that slavery exists today in the US. To believe in a post-racial US is to ignore one’s own […]
Holly Middleton San Francisco, CA