Ursie Bankhead, Buffalo, NY. I have a PhD, have studied race issues. And still struggle in my workplace. Mostly within my own department. I have support from several friends of various races/ethnicities/backgrounds, etc. But, it is difficult at times being “the only” and to experience microinvalidations during staff meetings or to end up in a […]
Ebony, Farmington Hills, MI. I grew up in a place where Black people felt they made it. A suburban community where the majority of residents were Black, employed, and thriving. It was wonderful growing up in this setting but it created unrealistic expectations for what the “real world” was and what life is like for […]
Christina Gibbs, La Habra, CA. Growing up in Orange County all of my life, I grew up around mostly White, Asian, and Mexican people. I was always the token black person in schools throughout life and in my friend groups. The only only times I was around more than a few black people was when […]
Angie Estrada, Columbia, SC. I have been struggling with my sister-in-law seemingly using me as her token Mexican-American “friend”. She parades me among her white friends and uses me a talking point when making casually racist comments. You know, the classic “…but my friend is *insert minority here*”. I cringe at the fact that I […]
Meggan Ellingboe, Minneapolis, MN.
Chinna Ford, Vallejo, CA. It’s hard work being the token. You must learn to lighten the mood with an acceptable race joke every so often. When slavery is mentioned in classrooms you must ignore the peering eyes of your classmates. You must, sing, dance and excel at sports because in the words of my white […]
Lee, Queens, NY. I live in NYC. A melting pot no? I am one of the few people where I work who is white American. I have a lot of experience but there are people there that have more experience than me and are better then me. I make at a minimum $15 more per […]
Nick Wheatley, Louisville, KY. I have heard so many people make racist comments and then use this as an excuse for not being racist. Racism isn’t about who you’re friends with. Racism is about making a race feel inferior to your own.
Edirin Davis, Washington, DC. When a friend at a wedding called me their token black friend as a joke, I said “no, im just your friend, don’t call me the token”.
Laura Abercrombie, Mulberry, FL. I am a 27 year old biracial (mother black, father Russian and Romanian Jewish descent) woman. I was born and raised in NY, transplanted to rural Fl when I was a teen. I am also one of Jehovah’s witnesses. Basically, I’m very used to being on the fringes, the “token”, the […]
Leslie Carver San Diego, CA I am a professor & was profoundly affected when I heard a student talk about having been referred to as a “token Latina”. I realized that although I care a great deal about diversity on my campus, I had been guilty of thinking of students that way – as the […]
Victoria Finney Cambridge, MA I still remember how upset she was when I asked her this. Like I had said something wrong that I shouldn’t have. Like I had failed a test somehow. “Tori, aren’t you happy with the way you are? You are beautiful; black is beautiful.” Why is she saying this? Why does […]
James P. Ayers Ft. Wayne, IN Dear Michele, We enjoyed your Fort Wayne Presentation. My 6 and 5 words in two versions: THE RACE IS IS OUR CENTER or RACE IS AT OUR CENTER (in 5 words) I was tempted to ask a question as a follow up to your including the reference to diction […]