DON’T ASK ME TO JUST FORGET

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 […]

Yes, I’m white. But not privileged.

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 […]

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She’s White in a Black body….

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 […]

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I’m black. He’s black. Perfect match?

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 […]

Now we can talk about race

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 […]

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You are dating a black girl?

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 […]

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We are HUMANS, NOT COLORS

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 […]

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Too brown here; too white there.

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.

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Never Visited the Country I Claim

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 […]

Hero. Musical Genius. Jazz is color.

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.

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I don’t know my Native language.

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 […]

My name sounds black, I’m not.

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 […]

You just assume that I’m American.

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 […]

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Ignorance of history, convenient or willful?

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 […]

“White privilege” makes me feel invalid

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 […]

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No, I am not an oreo.

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, […]

Drawl big words. They are surprised.

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 […]

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Homecoming with best friend. You dating?

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).

Racist relatives “mulatto”. Couldn’t tell them.

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 […]

Most Qualified Blacks Are Chosen First

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 […]

Growing up biracial was very painful.

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, […]

I am more than my color

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.

She took the time to talk…

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 […]

Gimme a break! Live YOUR Life!

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 […]

Beautiful flecks on history’s butterfly wings.

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 […]

Face it. We are all racist.

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 […]

Private School? No, I’m not rich.

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 […]

Being white is not a crime.

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.

Rural Alaska, six blacks, my family.

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 […]

Yeah, but you’re not BLACK black.

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 […]

Blackness is your problem not mine

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 […]

Reverse discrimination against whites solves nothing

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 […]

White mom of bi-racial child forgotten.

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 […]

You don’t see color? You’re oblivious.

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 […]

White, raised in black community. Grateful.

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 […]

I just want to scream, cry

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 […]

Race is not always a factor

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.

Father/Black Daughter/White Family/Race?

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 […]

Just now figured out I’m Southern.

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.

My asian kids aren’t like me.

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 […]

Your English is really quite good.

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 […]

White means struggle, not better, Bigot!

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 […]

I will never be black enough.

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 […]

White people marching for black voter registration

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 […]

Disenfranchising Whitey Was 2012’s Unspoken Truth

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, […]

I unpack my white privilege daily.

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 […]