Lateefah Torrence, Brooklyn, NY. At the corner bodega, I’m one of those Black Girls who the Middle Eastern owner must watch from his elevated podium behind the bullet-proof glass. On the subway, I’m a Black Girl on WIC who can give Russian ladies directions to the welfare office. In the taxi, I’m the Black Girl [...]
Courtney Jones, Denver, CO. People hide behind the stereotypes, racism, politics, and labels to avoid CONNECTING with others. Are we afraid people have more in common with us than we allow our differences to believe? My pride in my race contributes to my Life & community. It takes nothing from you & we all gain [...]
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” [...]
Cristina Reyes, Houston, TX. I chose the six words I wish I could go around the streets of Santo Domingo yelling. I have never understood, in all my years, why the Dominican culture steadily continues to deny their “blackness.” Their children aren’t taught to consider themselves “negro” instead they are to consider themselves “indio.” The [...]
Peter Alison, Richmond, VA. I come from an Austrian mother and an American father, so when people ask me about my ethnic background I tell them I’m half-Austrian. Throughout middle and high-school this elicited responses asking me if I hated Jewish people, or if I praised Hitler. It was annoying at first, but later it [...]
Michael Kelley Los Angeles, CA I am a White man and when I am out running errands, some Black or Hispanic person will invariably ask if I am the Police. It’s funny that they still think it even though I grew my hair out because I got tired of being asked this question.
Brooke Piburn Lakeland, FL
Davis Apseloff Dunwoody, GA
Adrienne Crew Los Angeles, CA I’m always troubled about the concept of being an “Oreo” and not really projecting an “African American” identity but rather always being the upper middle class nerd that I was born and refusing to “code switch.” What is “Black” anyways? I get this comment both from whites and non-whites.
Meghan I CA With the stereotype of blonde’s being dumb, I enjoy proving this wrong with my high college GPA, hard work ethic, and confident personality.
Christine Faris Lufkin, TX Actually, no. Yes, I was blessed to come from a middle class family. And yes, I’ve been blessed to travel the world. Wanna know how? I worked my ass off. Blew out a knee, graduated high school early, started college at 16, took summer school, worked multiple jobs, all so I could [...]
Sheryl Huntsville, AL There are genuinely good people that would discourage racism towards minorities any day, but who unfortunately are extremely ignorant, so their perception of other races are still innacurate and stereotypical. For example, a friend of mine–Black–started working at a law firm. He and his White co-workers were talking about politics one day, [...]
Norris Howard Detroit, MI Over 50 people in this bar and you approach the only group of black men and ask them a drug related question. You don’t even see your own ignorance.
Anita Gardner Farrell Huntington, WV
Ryan C Los Angeles, CA Chinese, 20-something-year-old male, university student, and gay. Never going to be a doctor, lawyer, or businessman–contrary to familial and societal expectations. Still looking for peace of mind in my life choices.
Katharine Corona, CA When I was young I grew up on a street with boys and ended up being a pretty big tomboy. I enjoyed sports, I was competitive and I liked playing with my friends. As I got older I began volunteering at the local hospital and became a fire explorer with my friends. [...]
TR Kelley Swisshome, OR “White trash” is a hip cultural joke. “N*****” is “hate speech”. Why?
Tracy Hart Washington, DC Yes, I’m from a tobacco-pickin, Southern white trash family, and I mean that in the most endearing way. Some stereotypes my family breaks: we were Southern but poor sharecroppers rather than slave-owners. Other stereotypes my family embraces: using discriminatory language in equal measure across all those who are not white Southerners. [...]
Lisa Harrison Long Beach, CA This is such a common reaction from people over many, many years. I don’t look half Cambodian by others standards. I just say I’m multi-racial. The list of my heritage is too long!
Mara Floyd Fort Myers, FL Doris* and my mother have been best friends for over 40 years. Both teachers with their masters’ degrees, the two women from neighboring cities met at an educational conference. They were as different as could be. One was married, one was divorced. One owned a house, the other lived in [...]
Aris Foucault Etheridge Leverett, MA I think it’s possible that the poor urban white perspective may be a helpful one in thinking about race as it relates to poverty. What are the similarities between the poor urban white experience and the poor urban black experience? What are the differences, and how do these differences effect [...]
Janice Ng Nashville, TN “How can you be full Asian?”
Justina Adarkwah Christchurch, VA I’ve always had a problem with identity, but ironically I realized it was me that thought I had a problem, it was society, my community, everyone else who had an opinion about ‘what’ I was and who I should be. I’m not sorry to let everyone one know that its not [...]
Lonna Jo Bowen-AlMoctar Louisville, KY I am from a clan of hillbillies in Eastern Kentucky. My family has a swath of land, called Bowen Farms, near Red River Gorge. As long as I can remember, the old cemetery on my family’s land has been called the “slave cemetery”. My Uncle has always kept up with [...]
Charity Son Anchorage, AK I was disappointed that this seems to even surprise a congenitally blind white woman I work with–”I didn’t know you were black!.” Happens on the phone as well. In person, black people, white people, all kinds of people seem to resent the way I speak. What does it even mean, to [...]
Nayna Sasidharan Arlington, VA That asked within the first few minutes of meeting someone
Victoria N. Fortson, GA My ancestors came to America just like many others. Just because I am white, does not mean my family “owned” “slaves”. When an African American girl says to me “you’re so lucky to have that hair” or “I would pay a lot for some of your hair”, it makes me mad. [...]
Abbie Elliott Leesburg, VA For my entire adult life, dating has been a challenge. As an Asian-American, I vehemently resisted falling into stereotypes. But, as an Asian-American on the dating scene, my looks delivered my first impression for me. Men developed ideas about me even before I spoke. Where they expected to find a quiet, [...]
Frank Benson Knoxville, TN I am native american from Alaska. I have been mistaken for hispanic, asian, hawaiian. it’s difficult not to see someones color, but to make assumptions about who someone based on skin tone before meeting the person limits us all.
Joshua San Antonio, TX We are all one race and have only minor different biological features. Do you really believe that is the driving force behind our discrimination and stereotypical caricaturizations of each other? If we were all perfectly homogenized and mixed race, would will still discrimination against each other based on class, money, or [...]
J. Torres Kansas City, MO My father is from Puerto Rico, born and raised. My mother is Colombian. However, raised in Panama. They met in the 1950′s while my dad was in the U.S. Army. Us kids always called ourselves PanaRicans. Until my mother gave us her true background. I attended college in Michigan in [...]
Wendy Stokesbary Cedar Rapids, IA I went to middle school with lots of African american students and noticed the boys seemed to admire my curvy figure- I was flattered, not frightened, because no one ever tried to hurt me. I grew up with a curiosity and respect for diversity, and partly because of my professional [...]
Michael Doran Selinsgrove, PA I am a student of music, and I love with the genre of soul/blues music like The Temptations or John Legend. Once, at an audition for the Voice, I was approached by a group of black guys who told me the six words above. It amazes how these barriers of white [...]
Andrea Cordero Salt Lake City, UT I no longer wan to be viewed just by the color of my skin or my gender. I am ready for this world to see me for my abilities and streangths and not just catagorize me as a “minority”. If we want to see each other as equals we [...]
Nona Lynn Simons Orangevale, CA My Six Words: Have you ever felt different from everybody else? I have and sometimes I still do! In the fifth grade, I was different because I was part Jewish and my classmates weren’t. They went to church and I didn’t. During the last week of school, one of my [...]
KK Boas Austin, TX Associated Press says “A man with a gun. A black teen, shot dead” ABC news says “The trial of a Florida man accused of shooting a black teenager begins today in a case that has drawn similarities to the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin case.” Even the Daily Beast, in an [...]
Amy Broadie Minot, ND I frequently overhear things said by people who don’t realize that I am half black and half white. On several occasions, I have received numerous apologies from coworkers or friends for saying something stereotypical/rude/racist after they learned about my background. I always reply by saying, “You can’t see what I hear.” [...]
Chung Ho Santa Clara, CA Apparently apart of my Asian genes is supposed to make me good at math…if not then I should at least be good at kung fu…
Brianna Branch Norfolk, VA I’m black and therefore I am seen as a threat to others because of my skin color. I have never tried to or had the desire to harm someone else. Sometimes people lock their doors when they see my friends and I walk past and yell racists comments out of the [...]
Rachel Salt Lake City, UT Blonde hair and blue eyes must mean no brains, right? Despite having a college education, being an avid reader, having an understanding of and experience teaching math and science, and having written published news features, I still have times when I am treated like my intelligence is less than others [...]
Repeka Touli Murray, UT So I Am an ALIEN, Apparently “Alien” is the one word I grew up hating because when I was old enough to carry an Identification card (for having a job), I thought it was the coolest thing ever because it made me feel like I‟ve grown up and I get to [...]
Michele J. Andrews Richmond, VA Upon seeing a picture of me with my (apparently) white grandmother, my boss said this to me. Then tried to backtrack by saying he was dumb because he was only white.
Tchapda Ade Whitewater, WI
Em New York, NY Born in Mexico, to mexican parents, crossed the border to find a better life, learning english on tv, grew up in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the US, with Colombians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, two brothers many shades darker than I, my mother “the help,” always having too [...]
Michael Fredette American Canyon, CA
Karen Charlotte Montpelier, VA I’m a native Mid-Westerner who has lived in the South about 90% of my life. I try my best to learn about people as individuals not stereotypes and rid myself of any remaining prejudices lurking in my psyche. I hate it when I find myself in a room with only white [...]
Sarita Houston, TX As a child in the south, I was picked on for several reasons: I have a dark complexion, I have decent hair, and I spoke English the way I was taught to. All of which cut very deeply. The worst came from family members, cousins, who would introduce me to their friends [...]
Hannah Lindberg Denver, CO One person is all it takes. To start a rumor, it only takes person. It is said that racism is taught, and it only takes one person to teach another, and that person to teach another. On and on, through generations, the seed grows until it becomes a beast, an inhumane [...]
S Woods Los Angeles, CA This is something often said by White people to Black people, when they are amazed that the Black person is able to communicate effectively using Standard American English. As if we all speak like a character from a Black face film. Its degrading. And, it’s one of the ways in [...]
Melanee West Helena, AR Growing up in the military kids would explain they were biracial by saying “I’m X and American” meaning they were ethnically X and white….. That has always bothered me…. Being American doesn’t automaticaaly mean you’re white!
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 [...]
Thomas Vance College Park, MD 14 yr old teen tired of white people saying I don’t act black.
Michele Deramo Blacksburg, VA Despite media depictions of Italian-Americans as criminals and buffoons, fewer than 1% have any connections to organized crime.
Daisha Taylor Cleveland, OH Every time an African American graduates is another way we prove society wrong. But it is another future persued and created.
Lina Shaheed Oakland, CA I’m mixed with black and white, but have lighter skin color. Im tired of being considered a “wannabe black girl” when thats that 50% of me is anyways. Always seen as the rich, privileged, white girl. Thats not ME.
Nacho Santa Fe, NM I was born here.
Sean Ji Ann Arbour, MI The reason I said these 6 words is because ever since I came to the U.S at the age of 2 years old, I never really grew up around other Asian people. My hometown is Ypsilanti, Mi, which is really close to Ann Arbor, but much derided by those in [...]
Michael Erike Los Angeles, CA Black….if I’m still in school at this age I must be an athlete right…wrong. There’s more to any race than what meets the eyes. I don’t go around judging others by simply how they look so do I deserve that treatment? Life is a colorful depth of inspiring beauty, strength, [...]
Dianna Hamden, CT I realize that height isn’t necessarily race, but it’s a preconception that I’ve dealt with my entire life. Yes, I’m over 6 feet tall. No, I don’t play basketball. After years of the same answer, I finally learned to respond: “No, I play piano–there’s less running involved.”
Elizabeth D Atlanta, GA But I’m sure not white either. You think because I speak a certain way and dress a certain way, because I don’t fit your stereotypes, I’m not ‘black’ enough? Sorry if I shatter your preconceived notions, but as always I’m just being myself.
Jamila Best New York City, NY Brooklyn Whereas my ancestors dealt with the troubles of blatant racism, today, Blacks may find themselves in a position in which we are still facing racism, it’s just coded differently. Sometimes, it’s in the face of a disgruntled white employer who may depict you as an angry Black woman, [...]
Renee Reives Lorton, VA Sometimes I feel stuck. I’m black and educated. I feel like a unicorn based on what so many people perceive and say about black people. I am expected by black people to endure a “struggle” I was not born into. Even misinformed white people that think they are helping feel the [...]
John Johnson USA This race card comes from the struggles of applying for college scholarships and being white. There are many scholarships designated for different races that I’m not allowed to apply for, yet I don’t see any scholarships designated for people of my race. I’m not at all implying that scholarships for races is [...]
Max Davies Newport Coast, CA There’s societal wickedness, and then there’s personal stupidity. We can all do something about the former, but the latter is beyond anyone but the individual concerned. There are many understandable reasons why people do things that harm themselves and their loved ones, but understanding the reasons for stupidity doesn’t mean [...]
Kelly Eugene, OR Since we are in the states, why not assume first that I speak English?
Brian Batista Elk Grove, CA
Hannah Strickland Sacramento, CA
Tiana Tran Kailua, HI I thought of this because even though I am Asian, it does not mean that I am going to be the best at everything. I am not a genius. Sometimes it’s hard to live up to this “bar” where you have to be perfect.
Jessica Winfrey Portland, OR I am biracial and bicultural and was educated for the first 6 years in a very diverse school on an air force base in North Dakota. After my parents divorced, my mom and I moved into the neighboring town, which was predominately white. I recall being warned ahead of time that [...]
Michael Quintana Murrieta, CA I’m not really offended by anything people say for the most part. Could be for a number of reasons. Could be the fact that I live in Southern California, or maybe because people don’t know/don’t care what ethnicity I am. But I know one thing for sure. I am Japanese and [...]
Katelyn Nicole Volz Hemet, CA “You know they say Gingers have no souls right?” “A Ginger gains a freckle every time they steal a soul.” “Do the carpets match the drapes?” Does ANYONE know how tired I am of hearing that? Yes, my hair is red, yes it’s natural, and yes I am Irish. Does [...]
Miguel Ramirez-Cornejo Riverside, CA As a kid I was told that because I grew up in the barrio that I would become a cholo. I would grow up to be in a gang, do drugs, and end up in jail. I heard this from other kids and even adults. But as I grew I used [...]
Nathalie Gregoire New York City, NY Brooklyn All my life I have been judged. When we see black people we automatically think they are thieves. When it comes to whites we think they are perfect. So many times we try to hide our identities, our race in order to fit in with society. But when [...]
Katie R. Phillips Green Mountain, NC I might be white, but growing up in the Southern Applachians is definitely its own ethnic identity. I didn’t truly understand this until I went to college, and brought friends home with me for the first time. One of my friends actually asked me if my family was inbred [...]
James Henderson Houghton, MI I’m a black man. There is this stereotype, that all black people steal, so whenever we walk into a store we are followed around the store and or watched from a distance. I have money and don’t need to steal form anyone. Watch me pay for this.
Jewell Chicago, Il Someone asked me how I knew what endorphins are…my response was; I read books and graduated from college too. Someone else stated to me, “well you have really traveled haven’t you”. AMAZING, to think this kind of thinking is not more abated; in this day and age.
BC Memphis, TN I’m not saying racism is okay, but we need to stop trying to find the culprit and the victim. Everyone experiences being stereotyped by their race, and everyone stereotypes other people by their race. I am tired of people telling me that because I’m white I am the cause of racism. I [...]
Gunner Goshen, UT Just because I have confederate flags and my family comes from the south does not mean I am a racist.
Tempe Ray Memphis, TN I have the privilege of attending a private school. Many people assume that just because I go to a private school it must mean that I have a lot of money. Yes, my family has enough to pay for private school tuition, but that means we don’t have extra money to [...]
Brent Beard Lansing, MI For a broke college student, I’ve been lucky enough to see more of this world than many people ever will. I’ve discovered in my wanderings that you may meet a Thai bartender who you relate to more than your own relatives. You may have greater difficulties understanding the culture of a [...]
Elizabeth S USA Is he on the basketball team? Does he play football? I’m white and in an interracial relationship. Whenever someone new sees a picture of us together that’s usually the first thing they ask. No, I’m sorry just because he is tall and black doesn’t mean he can dunk or played sports in [...]
Brandi N. Scarlett Lansing, MI When people ask me what ethnicity I am, I get excited. I am so proud to be mixed race. My mother is white and First Nations, and my father is Jamaican. However, I always make sure to tell people no matter WHAT I am, I identify as being black. I [...]
Michelle Liv New York City, NY Brooklyn As a person of color, it still angers me that mainstream society still regards what is “white” as “normal” or the status quo. I hate being judged on my racial appearance and assumed that I do not speak English because I am not white. These words were uttered [...]
Suzanne Koch Sunnyvale, CA First and foremost, I’m a mom. Being a mom to a child who doesn’t look the rest of our family is both the simplest thing in the world and the most complicated. Falling in love with my son, who is adopted and has brown skin, was as straight-forward as any Mama/Baby [...]
Casey St. Peters, MO Driving brings out the worst in all of us, no? I think I have done a good job in life of respecting people for who they are in spite of having been exposed to many stereotypes and prejudices, some involving race, in my short 30 years…but then I catch myself being [...]
M. King Oklahoma City, OK College educated, and my profession, is IT training and consulting. When whites gain that friendly level of comfort, they try and say that my manner of speech, an education, makes me white. Once I posed the question, what made them think that education, intelligence and standard speech are attributes only [...]
John Mendez Las Vegas, NV Just because I’m Asian, it doesn’t mean that I have to be good at math. As a matter of fact, I struggle in that subject.
Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman England
Jose Cabrera San Francisco, CA Can you not tell that I am different? From looking at me you would not be able to tell that I am vegetarian, that I care about the environment, and my grades. You would assume that I am Mexican, but then again aren’t all Latinos Mexican? You would assume that [...]
Christopher Brown Dallas, TX I’m here to spite all those who reference black men as useless, dead-beat or otherwise absent when it comes to fatherhood. I’m am only one, but I’m one in a line of dads who exemplify the term and the best meanings associated with it.
James Edward Mills Madison, WI On June 24,2013 Adina Scott made a satellite phone dispatch from 17,200 feet on Mount McKinley in Denali National Park. As part of the climbing team Expedition Denali, she and the 18 others had already spent a total of 16 days on the mountain and nearly a week camped at [...]