Being gay has taught me compassion.

Thomas Swinscoe Akron, OH I grew up in a time when being gay was even more of a challenge than it is today. As a white, male of English/German descent who was raised Christian, I have come to see my sexual identity as a gift. I believe much the insight and empathy I enjoy is […]

Once uneducated/naive. I’m changing that.

Jordyn Ducotey, Seattle, WA. Recent events have really made me challenge my own thoughts and the perceptions that I have been taught. I consciously make an effort to expose myself to the injustices that are occuring in the world around me. I actively seek stories and look into them instead of listening to what my […]

Accurate racial history must be taught.

Heathyr, Klamath Falls, OR. If we really want to confront racism and eradicate it, we need to be taught an accurate history of this country’s racist practices. Racism wasn’t just the genocide of the Natives, slavery, or Jim Crow. It was redlining and eugenics and the discoveries of pseudo-science.

2013-10-29-17.40.07

Taught all wrong, now teaching others

Steve Jones, Durham, NC. I grew up in a segregated community and the concept that African-Americans (of course, not the word that was used) were inferior. It took a long time to get out of that mindset and even longer to acknowledge the privilege that comes with my white skin. It’s a privilege to be […]

Why was I taught we’re superior?

Molly Kampa, Hastings, MN. I identify as a white individual. Throughout my schooling I feel that I was inherently taught that white is the superior race. We were taught that black people went through slavery and that they were, and still are, discriminated against but that is primarily where there story ends in the classroom. […]

One person is all it takes

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 […]

History taught me how to feel

Chyealla C McBride Chicago, IL I’m an emotional person, but I wasn’t raised to properly express emotion. In learning and reading about other’s experiences, gave me language and comparisons to my own experience in the world. Starting with empathy for my people’s struggles, I grew to be able to express myself emotionally in ways I […]

Wasn’t taught “discriminate…so I don’t.

Christina Hermann Mentor, OH My dad was in the military so we knew and were friends with people of other races from other countries. Like any other community you’re friends with whomever you get to know and have a connection with. However like everyone else I was exposed to media and fed a culture of […]

Kendra, 2: taught to exclaim “n*****”

Rebecca Zeissler Salem, IL I was Kendra’s teenaged babysitter. One day, before he left for work, Kendra’s father gleefully showed me the new “trick” he was teaching his daughter. He turned on the TV and waited for a black person to appear on screen. When this happened, he pointed to the person and asked Kendra, […]

What my southern mom taught me.

Donna Lovelady Indianapolis, IN Born in the south in 1924, mom was the granddaughter of a slave owner. She saw blacks pushed to the back of the bus, unjustly convicted and forced to hide from whites. It broke her heart. She made sure to teach me that color doesn’t make anyone better or worse. One […]

You have got to be taught

Margaret Middleton Little Rock, AR Submitted via NPR’s Talk of the Nation Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, from “South Pacific”: Apropos of the ‘subconscious racist’ quote. You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, Before you are six or seven or eight To hate all the people your relatives hate, You’ve got to be carefully […]

HammersteinII: You’ve Got to be Taught.

Luc Charwin Salem, OR It may be trite and unoriginal to use someone else’s words. However, the lyrics of that song brought this topic into focus for me. In grade school a friend’s father did not allow David and I to share the experience of a week-long school camping trip. David was one of several […]