Being “colorblind” is not the answer.

L. A. Elliott, Rockwall, TX. Submission collected from Pro Publica: Segregation Now Series Every person has a story, a culture, a past and especially a future. If you ignore person’s race in an attempt to be colorblind and inclusive, you’re actually taking away their story, their culture, their past and especially their future. Instead, build […]

It begins and ends with me.

Benny Burnett-Smith Las Vegas, NV My first job was at a McDonald’s in Southeast Texas. It was a very racially mixed workforce and taught me so many things about race and respect. Working alongside others from different backgrounds than my own towards the common goal of serving food and doing a good job has served […]

America’s minority education is in crisis

Alondra K. Poindexter Arlington, TX I am a doctoral candidate at Texas Wesleyan University. I am currently working on my dissertation “Cultural Identity and African American High School Teachers: The Impact On Their Instruction Of African American Students In Texas”. Less African American Teachers = Lower African American Student Achievement? Segregated higher academic achievement, integrated […]

News flash: you’re not really Mexican

Amanda Zamora Brooklyn, NY As the youngest in a large (seven children!) Mexican family, I was always jealous of my brothers and sisters for having strong Spanish first names. Mine was too easily anglicized: Amanda. So in the 6th grade, I took the opportunity to switch to Mercedes, my middle name, hoping to claim more […]

Dad’s white…thought you were Mexican.

Sherley Bedore Lubbock, TX Texas Tech grad student. 2013 OTC Symposium. American. I speak very fluent spanish and english. I’m half american(white) and half mexican-descent. Mom was born in Chihuahua state in Mexico. But, I get asked if my dad is my step dad.

Are you half? No, I’m whole.

S. Belinda Rubio Lexington, KY I was at a gas station when the guy working the cash register asked me if I was half? His question caught me by surprise and made me laugh, but I knew what he was trying to ask and sensed that he was trying to bond. He happened to be […]

He put pickles in my pancakes.

Jeannette Chavez Albuquerque, NM It was the early 70′s in the Texas panhandle. On a road trip we stopped at a diner to eat. He didn’t want us in there. He ruined our food. He put pickles in my pancakes. His action enraged me. Now it scares me.

My father endearingly calls us “Cottonpicker.”

Thais TX My father, age 83, born in a small town in northern Louisiana, has always called my siblings, cousins, and I “Cottonpicker.” My father is the grandson of “Old Man Bass”–as they referred to him, a slaveowner, and Grandma Meli, short of Amelia, an enslaved African-American woman who lived to see freedom. Grandma Meli […]

Really? Are both your parents Indian?

Shevon Desai Ann Arbor, MI My parents emigrated from India to the US over 50 years ago. In terms of ethnicity, I think of myself as South Asian – but in terms of race, we are officially Caucasian (my family are Parsis – Indian Zoroastrians whose ancestors originally came from Iran). Race and ethnicity for […]