Smile and the world frowns back

Elizabeth Thompson, Gulf Breeze, FL. I cannot claim to know how it feels to be black. I cannot claim to know. Unless you are black, neither can you claim to know. Because we non-blacks do not know. If you can imagine though, and wonder what it would be like, to walk with the burden of […]

Smile when you don’t like to.

Tim, Zeeland, MI. Some times i just think, “maybe if I smile they wont do any thing”, I feel so bad for even doing that. I should smile and be happy to smile, there people to so why don’t you smile at them like you do to your best friends. Think, what would you do […]

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Your fear is not my fault.

Lawrence Dortch, Vienna, VA. I’m tired of smiling all the time to alleviate other people’s fears of me. I am not a monster and I shouldn’t have to dress a certain way or smile when I don’t feel like it to make white people feel comfortable.

I smile at young black men.

Nena Clark Rochester, MN I am an old, white woman. I work in the govt center and I see all kinds of folks there who probably aren’t having their best day. I try to be pleasant to everyone, but I make a point of being friendly toward young black men. I know that in my […]

Her black smile I fondly remember

Harry Dapron I was a white, nerdy, shy, socially invisible teenager in senior high school. She was a beautiful, black classmate with a lovely, engaging smile that I would see when she turned around in her seat in Latin class to talk to me! I liked her and she seemed to care about and maybe […]

I’m Asian. Don’t assume I’m Chinese.

Gaby Segalla Washington, DC Most people see me and assume I’m Chinese. As an adopted Asian girl most people think “Oh that girl is probably Chinese.” I don’t take offense to that mostly because I have become used to being asked I’m Chinese. I’ve gotten used to people asking me where I am from and […]

Cross street? Or smile? I’m sorry.

Anonymous Berkeley, CA This is the struggle I have inside ever time I am walking alone at night and come across a man or group of men, often men of color. Should I cross the street to be safe and be “that girl” that crosses the street in fear of the black man? Or should […]

We’re just not understanding each other

Nancy Wilson Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation Misunderstanding is breaking my hopeful heart. I was robbed by a black man I’d smiled at on the street. I still smile at people on the street. But, I might hold my purse tighter. I was robbed by a black man I’d looked in the eyes […]

Look in the EYE, smile, say HI!

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.