The fiction of whiteness imperils humanity.

Evan Sorem, San Diego, CA. I am a human being. I have lived nearly all my life in California. My ancestors have lived in California, Illinois, Wyoming, Utah, Tennessee, Virginia, Norway, France, Italy, England, the Netherlands and who knows where else. So, people view me as a “white” person. In my 40’s, I have learned […]

Image portrayed, impression made. It DOES matter.

P. Contreras, Benicia, CA. How you choose to dress gives an impression about you. Whether that impression is accurate or not no one will know unless they get to know you. But, they won’t get to know you if your image repels them. Example. Teenage Boy (black, Hispanic, Asian, white) in your neighborhood in jeans […]

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Wait… how is he your brother?

Brenna, France. When my brother was born, my mom told my sister and I that she hated the word “half.” She didn’t believe that the tiny little baby boy who looked like an Eskimo was half anything– he deserved our full love no matter what our relationship was. She didn’t like the idea of half […]

Post racial society–dream not reality

Jennifer Woods, Okemos, MI. I am a 65 year old African American and am sick to death that in 2012 we are still, Still, STILL having this same tired conversation about race. That we still have to have “the talk” with our young men. That black people continue, decades after Dr. King’s dream, to be […]

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I pray for my son everyday

J Hill, Canton, OH. I am the proud mother of three children, two girls and a boy. They are all adults now. Every mother worries about her children. But I feel especially concerned for my son. He has done everything well so far in his life, entering his senior year in college, no kids, hardworking, […]

Not Trayvon, fear becoming Sabrina

Cyndi Morris, Los Gatos, CA. I’m a White mom of a Black son, living in an overwhelmingly white neighborhood. I struggle against my in adequate education on race in America. I’m sure I stumble as I guide my son toward valuing everything about himself, including his African American heritage. I have known that I need […]

Angry Black men are so scary

David, Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation. The potential for violence from an angry black man is so much higher than any other source it’s scary. An unarmed black man is a threat unless proven otherwise.

Mugged by black teens, trust destroyed.

Alison Blomster Minneapolis, MN I think there are some healthy reasons why stereotypes of black male teens exist. After being mugged by 5 black teenage boys wearing hooded parkas, I can understand the fear that any other person, of any skin color could feel when confronted by a black male teen whose eyes cannot be […]

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Dress like trouble, seen as trouble

Mike Arlington, VA I’m tired of people dressing, acting, talking like trouble makers, gangsters or criminals then complaining of discrimination. You will become as those with whom you associate. Each individual has the choice how to dress, act and with whom to associate. If they want to be treated as the scum of society, they […]

Man tried for shooting black teen.

KK Boas Austin, TX Associated Press says “A man with a gun. A black teen, shot dead” ABC news says “The trial of a Florida man accused of shooting a black teenager begins today in a case that has drawn similarities to the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin case.” Even the Daily Beast, in an […]

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What if this climber were Trayvon

James Edward Mills, Madison, MI. At the young age of 14 Kai Lightner is doing amazing things in the world of sport climbing. In the spring 2013 he ascended exceedingly difficult routes that included Southern Smoke (5.14c) and Transworld Depravity (5.14a) in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky. On the same two-week road trip he […]

Lunch? Shhh, wait till he’s gone.

Mark De Francis Sante Fe, MN Hearing the right wing comments on talk radio regarding the Trayvon Martin case I was startled to come to a couple of realizations; 1. The race thing is still live and kickin’ 2. my own deeply embedded sense of white privilege was finally being dragged out into the sun […]

This grandma’s love is color blind.

Mara Davis Bermuda Dunes, CA I have one mixed grand-daughter and i love all of my grand-children. Love is not shaped by skin color but by the quality of the interaction between 2 people. This is my family now and I strongly resent anyone mocking us because one child appears different. One day, a new […]

Why not start at the beginning?

Susan Roedl Minneapolis, MN Like much of the country I’m sad and confused at the Trayvon Martin verdict. How can George Zimmerman claim self defense when he got out of his car to pursue his victim? Why did the trial center on the end of Zimmerman and Martin’s encounter and not the beginning? So much […]

Is Anything Wrong With Racial Profiling?

Fred Moolten Canonsburg, PA Please forgive the provocative title. I don’t mean it literally, nor am I even sure what is meant by “racial profiling”. What I do know is that I and many other members of the white majority who consider ourselves fair-minded, face a dilemma that demands attention. Recently, I have read eloquent […]

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 […]

Conversations about race are existentially dangerous.

Martin MacKenzie Clackamas, OR I think these discussions have become so politically charged that no on can escape danger to one’s job, civil liability, or even in some cases, criminal charges. We even have thought laws now, an issue which was brought up in the George Zimmerman – Trayvon Martin trial. For those who remain […]

Race separates: it should unite us.

Elizabeth M Shontz Parker, NM I was on a murder trial several years ago. This is serious business and if there is not enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, there will be no conviction. Zimmerman should never have been charged in the first place. He acted within the parameters of Florida law which a clueless […]

For whites, it’s just a debate.

Charles R. Owens Pasadena, CA As a white person, I can talk about the Zimmerman trial, with all of its nuances, then move onto another topic or go about my day. For black people, the feelings must be visceral, and I believe the anger and frustration are always there.

Because I’m White, I’m presumed racist.

Robert C. Reynolds Sapulpa, OK All races and societies have racist individuals. Yet because I am caucasian, I feel I am singled out, profiled as a racist by non-whites, merely because of my appearance. That is as wrong as any profiling of hoodie-wearing black youth as up to no good. Who speaks up on my […]

Zimmerman verdict made me “the other.”

Christina Wong Seattle, WA I’m a second generation Asian American woman who married into a Caucasian family. I have always felt Americanized and never really identified with being Chinese while growing up, except for those occasions of childhood taunts that I must be smart because I’m Chinese or when I experienced the exceedingly rare occurrences […]

I would have pulled the trigger.

Alex Seattle, WA I’m a short biracial woman. I would never have followed Trayvon. But if it went down like the jury thinks it went down, if I were confronted by a man in the night, I would not have hesitated to fire. Its hard being tiny and female and not having a car to […]

Does “The Talk” include crime statistics?

Peter Gwynn Washington, DC Police and everybody else, despite any amount of training and good intentions, are still just people and will be influenced by patterns around them. I live in northeast Washington, DC. I don’t know how likely it is that I or a member of my family will be beaten, robbed, killed or […]

Black life is not valued.

Patricia Jones Charleston, SC My husband and I are the parents of an 18-year-old son who just graduated from high school. As we raised him to this point, we were always concerned about his emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Our goal was to get him through high school and his teenage years without ever seeing […]

Jury Instructions Vary With Defendant’s Race

David Waters Sunnyvale, CA I am glad that juror B37 spoke out and explained what happened in the jury room and I understand why they voted as they did. They voted the way they did simply because of the way that these particular Florida laws were written and the lack of clarification or instruction on […]

Black men should fear black men

Mark Foster Atlanta, GA How can one seriously suggest the Zimmerman-Martin story emblematic of the black male experience while ignoring the predatory culture of black against black in neighborhoods thoughout our Country.

Racist verdicts exist; not this one.

Ken Hutchison USA Martin felt disrespected, indignant, and incensed that somebody was following him. He saw that the follower was overweight and flabby, so he did not feel threatened. He was an athlete who was skilled at martial arts, and he did not like being disrespected. He knew that he could beat up the follower […]

Not Guilty: no respite to Zimmermans

Patty Reed Greenville, SC Where do they go from here? The only answer that could have brought peace is Guilty. Justice may have been served, but justice doesn’t bring peace. Justice only brings justice. It doesn’t seem to matter what the verdict was, they’ll never have a life again; there is no “returning to our […]

The Very Sight Of Them Disturbs

Sammy Bell San Fransisco, CA Blazing Saddles is a satirical comedy by Mel Brooks that mocks racism, elitism, class-ism, cronyism, and sexism in a western spoof. One part of the movie that was most telling to me about the experience of racism for Blacks included the line “I want the very sight of him to […]

Black youth obligated to be intimidating

Brent Hixson Des Moines, IA Why is our culture so tied up in image? For a young Black or Latino to walk into a store with hood down and face fully exposed is perceived as weak. Actions must always portray power, in charge and make others around them uncomfortable and then ask the question why […]

Blacks kill blacks daily in Sanford

Dave Brown Vero Beach, FL I heard about the Race Card Project on NPR last Tuesday night. The topic of the Zimmerman shooting in Sanford was brought up for discussion. I’m not sure of the exact number but I think I read that there were seventeen shootings in Sanford in January of 2013. There is […]

Easily suspended, can destroy their lives.

Jill Shortreed Maplewood, MN My nephew is half Native American. He was kicked out of school for carrying a box cutter in his pocket that he used at work. There is a zero tolerance policy, so even though he had only a few months left before graduation, he wasn’t just suspended, he was kicked out. […]

I heard they trademarked Trayvon’s name

Tim Weber Reno, NV These words uttered by a co-worker. To me such a statement stems from a desire to divert attention from the matter at hand — that an innocent black child was murdered. It is this form of racism that is most common and most insidious. My response was not a politically correct […]

I’m allowed to wear a hoodie.

Bethany Banner Kalamazoo, MI I realized this today when I walked out of the grocery store, into the rain, and pulled up my hood so that I wouldn’t get too wet while walking to my car. I’m a petite white woman; even with my hood pulled over my head, I’m not perceived as a potential […]

“Angry Black Woman”? Damn Right- And?

Katrina MA Last time I checked, yes- I am African American. Last time I checked, I was a Woman, and last time I checked I had a lot to be angry about, as should every other American citizen. Although years away from having a 17 year old son (Trayvon Martin), how am I supposed to […]

Their age, not race, scares me

Jack Prewett San Bernardino, CA Many teens act like they are 10 ft tall, can live forever. I don’t know what happened in Trayvon’s case but I’m 6’5″ and 300 lbs and feel uncomfortable when confronted by young adults no matter what color they are. Standing with their hands in their pockets and they have […]

Travon could have been my student.

Ron Smith Long Beach, CA I size up my class every year, and I have my own prejudices. My students size me up every year, and they have theirs. Through our discussions we get to know each other on a deeper level, and 95% of the time, we end the class with positive memories of […]

Guilt is nothing. People are dying.

Anonymous MA I’m white and I know that the feelings of discomfort/guilt I get sometimes from thinking about race are really not serious problems. Discomfort is nothing compared to what has happened to Trayvon Martin and more kids like him.

Stereotypes: “Wake-up Everybody!”: Analyze Your Thinking

Mark Ross, California, CA. These issues are complex. Stereotypes (or action using information from stereotype) are based often enough on at least some modicum of reality (authentic or perceived). The wrong view As an African-American male, I have been unduly perceived as a threat. That suspicion has been acted upon several times by government authority, […]