My Obaa is Japanese – I’m not.

Livia Messenger, Northhampton, MA. Smith College Before I told you my grandmother was from Japan, I wasn’t Asian to you. I’m white. I don’t speak Japanese. I’ve never been to Japan, worn a kimono, or even met my Japanese relatives. I flunked out of calculus – but I suppose my “white side” was holding the […]

Mugged by black teens, trust destroyed.

Alison Blomster Minneapolis, MN I think there are some healthy reasons why stereotypes of black male teens exist. After being mugged by 5 black teenage boys wearing hooded parkas, I can understand the fear that any other person, of any skin color could feel when confronted by a black male teen whose eyes cannot be […]

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African american boys like my booty

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 […]

Frustrated, Aggravated, Discouraged by Black Stereotypes

Kern Seattle, OR With each passing decade (now 5 of them)I have reflected on whether the issue of race has improved, declined or remained the same. I must say that it seems that for every step forward (a President of color, women and PEO astronauts, noted Black scientists, a holiday named after a Black man) […]

So ‘Ratchet’ is the NEW Black?

Cyerra Hawkins Riverside, CA I’m a African American female and I am irritated behind the fact that people associate African american women as loud and verbose. people are people we all have different personalities and ways of expressing ourselves. Stop with the categorizing and that is for any race or ethnicity. Vicious stereotypes have been […]

Why is your English so good?

Basundhara Mukherjee South Burlington, VT I was born in India, lived in Saudi Arabia, and grew up mostly in a small town in Vermont. English is in my blood, just like Bengali. When someone asks me why my English is so good, it reminds me of the ignorance that still, unfortunately, exists in this country. […]

Biker gangs have love for me

Richard Haynie Oakland, CA I walked into a roadside tavern near Allentown PA that had several motorcycles parked outside. Loving bikes, I thought nothing of it. Inside, a motorcycle “club” were the only patrons on that Sunday morning. I ordered some food and, despite a warning from the proprietor, decided to stay and eat there. […]

Watermelon on black colleague’s desk. 2012!

Anonymous Eugene, OR This was done as a practical joke. The most frequent question I have heard is not about why someone would do this, but how on earth someone could think this was funny. My generation is in their thirties, and living on the West Coast I have sometimes needed to explain the history […]

Gangsta rap taints white people’s perceptions

Paul Houston, TX Most early rap music with which I’m familiar was about innocuous subjects. When gangsta rap hit the scene and sprouted a sub-culture (or at least the perception that there is a sub-culture) of lawless, violent, rage-filled mostly black youths who self-identify through dress and mannerisms, I started becoming fearful of people who […]

Whites can’t distinguish Harvard from Hoodlum.

Alisa Dennis Los Angeles, CA Many white people do not personally know any blacks, or very few. As a result, their only reference point for black culture is drawn from stereotyped, caricatured images from T.V. news, sitcoms, Hollywood movies, or quickly driving through the outskirts of economically marginalized black neighborhoods where they are likely to […]

Stereotypes: “Wake-up Everybody!”: Analyze Your Thinking

Mark Ross California, CA These issues are complex. Stereotypes (or action using information from stereotype) are based often enough on at least some modicum of reality (authentic or perceived). The wrong view As an African-American male, I have been unduly perceived as a threat. That suspicion has been acted upon several times by government authority, […]