Ruthie Mengistu Memphis ,TN What does that even mean? Is it because I look biracial? Or is it because my parents are first-generation Americans from Ethiopia, and I grew up in the suburbs with predominantly white folk? Maybe it’s because I don’t talk “black”…whatever that means. There are a lot of different ways to be […]
Elissa Yukiko Weichbrodt, Chattanooga, TN. I’m half Japanese and half white. In Hawaii, where I grew up, mixed race people like me are called “hapa” or “half.” Although I feel most at home in the primarily Asian culture of Hawaii, I also felt like I stuck out physically because I was tall and had fair, […]
Jessica Elaine Matz, LaVergne, TN. I look white and I was raised white, but when we were kids, we went to the occasional pow wow and were told “this is part of your heritage.” My uncle recently joined one of the Cherokee tribes, but I haven’t yet. I feel weird about it because there’s so […]
Cooper Shell, Jackson, TN. She’s White in a Black Body….. That is what has ALWAYS been said to describe me—since I was at least 12 years old. My name is Cooper Shell, and I grew up in Choctaw County, MS. I hail from a blended family which is very typical in my town. I suppose […]
Isabella, Memphis, TN. I am half white, half Mexican. I’m not more white than I am Mexican. I’m not more Mexican than I am white.
Anonymous, Memphis, TN. I feel like I have a wonderful heritage full of rich culture. Italian and Native American mostly, but when people look at me, that all goes away and I’m just white. Especially where I currently live, when my husband, who has his roll number, marks Native American, human resources directors say, “Same […]
Sylvia, Memphis, TN. Thank you for this outlet. Letting people share their experiences, personal opinion & self worth, and/or reflecting on others in a limited character count gets to a very real place
Emily Green-Cain, Nashville, TN. I grew up in the city where James Lawson led teach-ins for non-violence that led to sit-ins throughout the Southeast. No one in my schooling, neither my parents, my church or the local education system taught me anything about these events. I did not know the specifics of what happened here […]
Christian J. Collier, Chattanooga, TN.
Lynell, Nashville, TN. “We live in a system that espouses merit, equality, and a level playing field, but exalts those with wealth, power, and celebrity, however gained.” ― Derrick A. Bell, Ethical Ambition: Living a Life of Meaning and Worth
Lyn Franklin Hoyt, Nashville, TN. I’m on a search, a journey for words, to figure out how my family heritage can be used for good to heal atrocities, rather than become a memory of evil. Not to hide that evil, but face it head on as recognition slavery was wrong and to talk about what […]
Jeremy C., Millington, TN.
K Russell, Chattanooga, TN. As a little white kid growing up, I was constantly harassed by black boys for no other reason than I was white- and small enough not to be a threat (I only weighed 89 lbs by eighth grade.) Luckily I had a great friend that was also black that saved me […]
Cole, Nashville, TN. A lot of my family comes from Spain and Latin America. And I take pride in that. Every once in a while there is one person that is stuck with stereotypes of what Latinos should look like. I’m part Hispanic, the person said to me “You don’t look Latino, your not dark” […]
Shawdee Naimy, Redwood City, CA. Growing up in Tennessee was interesting.
Rachel Jennings, American Samoa. I am a proud afatasi: half Samoan (Polynesian) and half Southern white. However, whether I’m living in Tennessee or in American Samoa, I’m always in the minority. I’m made fun of for being palagi (white) while in American Samoa, but experience racism in the States because of my non-white skin.
Joelle Kanyana, TN. When people ask me where I’m from, my answer is always, “I’m Burundian.” However, there is often an identity crisis in my mind because I was born in Ghana and have spent most of my life in the United States. Furthermore, I never learned Kirundi, Burundi’s native language. But Burundi is the […]
Jason Williams, Nashville, TN. Take pride in this great nation, remember those who built it.
Joe Stainback IV, New Tazewell, TN. A quote from my mother … My positive spin on ‘race’ interactions gleaned from mandated busing in the early ’70’s – Richmond, VA.
Jacqueline Jade Milan Chattanooga, TN I am black and I am white. I am mixed race. I want a category(name) for that.
Holly Drury, Lebanon, TN.
Chelsea Gay, Nashville, TN. This is a good project.
Sarah Staples, Nashville, TN. I grew up in a predominantly white community in a city that was predominantly black and hispanic or latino. My best friends were always white, my parents made me study classical piano for 12 years, I played soccer, I read Shakespeare and Jane Austen, and I went to boarding school. No, […]
Mark Lynn Honeycutt, Knoxville, TN. I’m a white, middle class, born and raised East Tennessean. But also a musician. Well, drummer. And my heroes have been black men since I was little. Jazz was tinted “black” to me, and it was/is wonderful.
Anonymous, Knoxville, TN. I’m from the Mountain South, where white privilege and racism take on a range of meanings outside the mainstream. I’ve heard our regional identity described as a kind of “otherized whiteness,” and I think that’s about right. Whatever else we were, we always knew our whiteness was the wrong kind. That’s what […]
Lamar Johnson, Knoxville, TN. I used to get so upset when someone used N***** to describe me. I then realized that I got upset because I thought of myself as a N*****. When I chose not to believe I was a nigger, I became free of the word and it no longer has an impact […]
Amber Price, Atlanta, GA. I was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I grew up ashamed of my Blackness. I heard the n-word for the first time in elementary school. I prayed every night for God to make me white. At the age of 17 I was told to go sit with the rest of the Blacks […]
Lisa Williams, Johnson City, TN. When I think of what I owe other people, I think in terms of how I want to be treated – I’m thinking of civility, a lack of preconceptions, tolerance for differences, to name a few. I also think in terms of responsible actions (for instance, if I were drunk, […]
Josh Garcia, Nashville, TN. Attempts to recruit and retain diversity in corporate America do not seem to have changed the demographics I observe in the leaders and top earners at my company.
Thaddeus, Nashville, TN. I was raised poor in Louisiana where the generations of my family before me farmed and picked cotton, fished and lived off the land. Our water was rain water caught in a ground cistern and we used an outhouse for a toilet and boiled water for each night to bathe. So please […]
JMM, Nashville, TN. I’m white. 100% pale as can be white. I grew up as one of a small handful of white children in my elementary and middle school, and was relentlessly teased. White girl. Cracker. White b****. All names I was called. I had gum put in my hair. I was beaten up. I […]
Joelle Kanyana TN Going to school in a town where I’m in the minority as a black girl (Burundian heritage, Ghana-born, American citizen) has its interesting experiences. One that always seems to repeat itself is the matchmaking by my classmates with the black guys there. I’ve had this conversation many times before: “Joelle, you’d look […]
William David Jones, Chattanooga, TN. I found out after my father died that he had taken me out of his will when I, a white man, married a black woman in 1996.
Gary Seven Nashville, TN All during the election season, conservatives were claiming that President Obama did nothing to unify the country about issues of race, (as if he were capable of, and was singularly responsible for doing so by himself.) Their claim was that he was the most divisive president in history when in fact […]
Michael K. Wallace, Johnson City, TN. This was the opening question to the most consistent family conversation I had during my freshmen year of highschool. It was said as a question, although it was a statement. Yes, I am dating a black girl. Thank you for the reminder. Would you care to know who she […]
Nik Parttridge, TN. I am classified as White/Caucasian because of how I look. This does NOT mean that I am the same people who enslaved your ancestors, or made them go on the Trail of Tears, or genocide them because of their religion! My mother’s side is Finnish, and my father’s side is Cherokee and […]
Ronald Killebrew, Memphis, TN. If God made be black, he must had a good enough reason to do so, and that is good enough for me. Real talk.
Lynea Ramse, Nashville, TN. My name is pronounced La-nee-a. I have been grouped with black girls all my life in settings where people haven’t met me, just seen my name and where I’m from. I didn’t realize until college when all of the girls with “black names” ended up as roommates… People have also asked […]
Sophie Kershaw, Knoxville, TN. I was born in England, lived in Denmark for a few years, and my family settled in the US. I speak American to Americans and British to my family. Most people assume I’m American, and people often make me uncomfortable by talking about “people from over there” and debating immigration reform […]
Robert P. Jackson Nashville, TN Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation
Alice N, TN. I want to feel like my achievements are because of me and not because of my race. However, I’m told that I’ve only gotten to where I am because I’m white. This makes me feel like years of studying into early morning and fighting to get myself noticed out of a sea […]
Meharry Medical College Psychiatry Program Trainee, Nashville, TN.
Roy Turrentine, Normandy, TN. Race is actually just a part of our natural xenophobia. Over the course of being a southerner rooted in agrarian dialects and educated among those from all across the country, I have experienced genuine surprise on the part of some when they realize I can speak with a drawl and still […]
Jaden Miskowiec, Memphis, TN. I went to homecoming with my best friend, who happens to be black. One woman asked my mother if we were dating because she was concerned about our relationship. First time I experienced racial discrimination (though not the first time I had seen it).
Tim Brown, Millington, TN. I grew up in a very large Southern white family of absolutely insufferable racists. While researching our family’s genealogy, a cousin of mine found that the US Census listed many of our not-so-distant ancestors as “mulatto”, a term generally reserved to describe people who were half white and half black. We […]
Fredrick Clemmons Brentwood, TN When I grew up I heard a lot of statements that suggested White people did not want to hire Blacks. But as I took a closer look, these White people also did not want to be seen as prejudice, so they would hire a few Blacks in order to appease their […]
Brenda Perez Nashville, TN
Meg Seigenthaler Memphis, TN Skin color is but a tiny portion of our DNA. Like blue eyes or red hair, it shouldn’t have such an impact.
Janice Ng Nashville, TN “How can you be full Asian?”
Jim Roberts Atoka, TN I’m half Caucasian and half Asian. Growing up in the rural South during the eighties was a painful and humiliating experience. It seemed as if the only racial identities anyone could process were “black” or “white.” Fitting into neither category assured my brother and me years of abuse from all sides, […]
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.
Karen Bentwood, TN with me about what her name really was, as opposed to how the professor said it. She would say her name, the professor would butcher it, she would continue to make her points in the class discussion. After class, I decided to talk with her about the interaction. She graciously took the […]
Don Rackley Chattanooga, TN I know “minorities” who have succeeded as well as anyone on the planet. I also know white people who have failed miserably. It’s not about the Race; it’s about the Culture you choose to accept. I was part of an “interracial” marriage for 13 years, and I got to see how […]
James Wyatt Aiken Memphis, TN Sentient life is in its earliest stages, its infancy. As a sentient RACE, humanity has the joyous opportunity to witness its own growth as the Universe tends toward life and complexity. Stepping back from earth and its petty banalities, I see the infinite variations in skin tone like iridescent flecks […]
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 […]
Abby Memphis, TN Anything I say, African Americans can call racist, but anything they can I can’t say call racist. That’s causing racism.
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 […]
Jason Ledbetter Livingston, TN I am tired of race baiters using terms like “white privilege” to divide us. We should be working to come together, not separate ourselves by the color of our skin.
Jessica Ayers Nashville, TN
Zhonghui Zhou Nashville, TN It doesn’t work that way. And no, I don’t answer to “konichiwa”, “anyeong”, or bows.
Elsie Pettit Nashville, TN
Lydia Taylor Memphis, TN I was born and raised in Alaska. When I was 4, my father got out of the Air Force and accepted a job as a State Trooper in Dillingham, Alaska. He moved from Anchorage to Dillingham first, to start his job as we as find us a place to live. We […]
Beverly Goetzman Nashville, TN I am black and my husband is white, which requires us to be fearless as we live out our chosen path.
Judy Freudenthal Nashville, TN I derived my 6 words from a quote by Einstein: All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
Victor Bradley Nashville, TN Often the discussion about racism is constructed as a problem with race. As if the problem isn’t with the majority’s racist attitudes, the problem is the existence of minorities. “I don’t see you as Black” translates as “I don’t see you as Black, because if I did, I’d have to either […]
Chris Crawford Cleveland, TN It makes me sick to think little children are being brought up to hate. I watched a video on you-tube where children were punching a little girl and she was crying while parents stood there laughing. These were black kids and they videoed this abuse to this white child and proudly […]
Peggy Person Cleveland, TN I have always been so disappointed in “America”, for labeling bi-racial, or mixed race children as one race or the other. I am a white woman, who has had to listen to society brainwash my child into believing that he can be accepted as “anything but white”. I raised him to […]
Stephanie Pruitt Nashville, TN Claiming social color blindness is not a thing to be proud of. It means that you are trying to remain unaware of a real and true element of a person. The meanings we assess to skin color will vary and that is where dynamics surrounding race have the potential to become […]
Spencer Wiggins Nashville, TN Fifty years after the March on Washington and 5 years after electing the first black President of the United States we are not living in a post-racial society.
Amanda Becker Clarksville, TN Race has been the dominant subject of my life. I am the only white person on my page in my Senior yearbook (in north St. Louis). It wasn’t a racially harmonious experience, there were times which were downright ugly, usually because I looked like someone who made you mad, but I […]
Bruce Beckerink Franklin, TN I’m scared and disappointed. To Juror B37 – if Zimmerman “got the ball rolling” but “went over the top” how is that he was justified in taking a life exactly? I’m not blaming you – you did your job, according to the rules you were given, but the question is still […]
S. Lindsey Hermitage, TN I guess in lieu of the jury’s verdict, if you live in a nice neighborhood and you are a black man my “card ” says it all
John Morrison, Memphis, TN. Thank you!
Andrew Moffatt Maryville, TN
Cindy McLendon Madison, TN I grow weary of hearing that it was “racial”.. no matter what “it” is. A couple hundred years has brought enligntenment and progress yet many races use that card for everything bad that happens to them. Personal responsibility is EVERYONE’S obligation. Remember that the color of one’s skin brings benefits also.
David T Roth Nashville, TN I was walking through Centennial Park in Nashville, TN. I looked up to see a young Father holding his daughter of 3 or 4 facing him. It was obvious that they were interacting in a way that only parent and child can. Where the world around them disappears and they […]
Janice Ng Nashville, TN “How do you pronounce that?”
Victor Bradley Nashville, TN This is both a reference to the broader stereotyping which has pervaded the Black experience in America from the slave trade to today, and the specific stereotyping in the criminal justice system.
Mario Latilleon Memphis, TN Being a light-skinned, articulate, and somewhat nerdy African-American boy can be a curse growing up in a poor black neighborhood in the South.
Mark Fitchett Morristown, TN
Samantha Guess Chattanooga, TN Born in the South, raised in the South – NEVER considered myself “Southern”. But at age 25 – I have found that I AM SOUTHERN and there is no turning back and that’s okay. I am who I am.
Sheree King Johnson City, TN My kids, adopted from China, now ages 14 & 16 not only don’t look like me, but deal with issues I never had to deal with. Although they are very like me in religious beliefs, morals , and character, they look at the world through minority eyes, but have a […]
Raka Nandi Memphis, TN I have been “complimented” with this type of statement many a time in my life in America. I often wonder about the racial undertone of this type of sentiment. Just because the color of your skin is brown, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a good command of the English […]
TAB Memphis, TN My God is not colorblind!
Jeff Bowlin Kingsport, TN Throughout history the white race has been the dominate race for only one reason, struggle. Humans with lighter skin lived further north and had to endure cold winters. In order to survive, they had to invent better places to live, and more ingenious things to survive in harsher environments. Humans with […]
Submitted via Twitter: @hiawathaw , Nashville, TN.
Lagaria Farmer Springfield, TN This was hammered into me starting in the 7th grade – mostly by other black kids, but it extended to family members as well. As long as I like hard rock/metal and goth/industrial music, sound like a blond Valley Girl, date white guys and enjoy academics, I’m not black enough. Outwardly […]
Bill O’Fallon Brentwood, TN A variation of walking in another’s shoes… What would it feel like, really, to be another race for a time? “Black Like Me” sure hit the mark……
Susan Kosciolek Chattanooga, TN Many black American’s were being turned away from registration places for a variety of reasons in an effort to keep them from voting in the 1972 Presidential Election, especially in the South. As a young white woman in 1971, I marched arm and arm with black Americans in Cairo, Illinois as […]
Sharon Jessee Murfreesboro, TN Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan
Logan Marshall Dyersburg, TN
Cyrius Coyne Bucksnort, TN The Occupy protests of 2011 recruited large numbers of homeless people into the 2012 election for the Democrat underground. By stacking homeless people and liberal activists at the front of the line in key Republican districts on election day, then spending the maximum legal time per person in the voting booth, […]
Mac Davis Santa Fe, TN Black turned to brown and white as humans moved north and and needed to absorb more sunlight for vitamin D production.
Sarah Walton Nashville, TN I descend directly from southern slave-owners and, more recently, racists. My family’s wealth is built on the backs of over a thousand slaves. It is my karmic duty to be a social-justice & race-relations activist; to call for reparations; to march; to force as many friends & family to look through […]
Quinn Nashville, TN Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation