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I’m not colored I’m an American

Ralph Brown (Coach~B :)), Dallas, TX. My six words are in response to these six words: “We don’t allow colored in here” which were said to me on March 19, 1963 by a young female movie ticket clerk at the Majestic Theater in Dallas, Texas. I was attempting to see the world premiere of “How […]

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Leave identity issues to other people

Phyllis W. Allen, Fort Worth, TX. I am a sixty year old woman who has lived through segregation, integration, Colored, Negro,, Black, African American, segregation, marches, integration, Pan Africanism, opulent consumption, financial catastrophe and now I’m just me.

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Don’t speak Spanish, I’m still Hispanic

Victor Santana-Melgoza, El Paso, TX. For most of my life I have been rejected by many people in the Hispanic/Chican@/Latin@ community for not learning and practicing Spanish (as well as not following other cultural cues). I was raised in a household where English was the main language spoken. I am 4th generation American, raised by […]

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You’re not like most black girls.

Felicia Oakmon, Autin, TX. This statement is a repeat offender. I am half black and half Mexican, but I wasn’t aware that ALL “black girls”,or ALL people are exactly the same. Instead of judging people by media, social networks,and what you have heard… take the time to have a conversation, take the time to listen […]

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Multicultural American Family Who loves All

Tunya Marie Loftis, Dallas, TX. I love who I am. I am the firstborn of my mother with four siblings under me. Strangely enough, when I was young, I didn’t know my Mom was white. She was my normal. She was just Mama. Who taught me how to read and color. She did my hair, […]

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I am not just African American.

Erica Watts, Arlington, TX. Growing up, I believed that I was all African American. My mother was African American and so was my brother and that is all I needed to know, to know that I was African American. However, as i got older, people began to question my ethnicity. Some claiming that I looked […]

Never keep secrets from your children.

i, Lulu, San Antonio, TX. I was 52 when I confirmed what I had long dodged: I was adopted — more like appropriated — at birth. Back then and in my part of the world (Texas), those things happened. My adoptive parents are on my birth certificate as the birth parents. Whatya gonna do, right? […]

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Your son looks nothing like you!

Dr. J., Irving, TX. It’s true, everyone tries to find similarities between babies and their parents. But the search ends when people see my son’s curly golden hair, blue eyes, and light complexion. Someone once asked me, “are you sure you want to name him Diego?” (when he was 9 months old). I’ll admit it, […]

My name tells a great story.

Lise (rhymes with ‘please’), Austin, TX. My 6-word essay was originally “What kind of name is that?”– a question (both the polite and impolite versions) I’m regularly asked. My answer is something like this: “Well, my last name is Indian (yes, like from India)–sort of. My father’s family is from India, but the name changed […]

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“Do you speak Chinese?” *face palm*

Amanda McClendon, Houston, TX. For starters, I’m Korean, so no, no Chinese for me beyond “ni hao” and “xie xie”, which I learned from TV travel shows. Secondly, I was adopted as a baby by parents I like to refer to as American Euro-mutts–English, Irish, German, French, and a touch of Choctaw, and that’s just […]

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Yes, those boys are my brothers.

Julia Guerra, Austin, TX. My brothers are very important figures in my life. They were born to a white mom and a white dad. They are blonde and red-haired, with blue and green eyes. When they were little babies, my white mom married my Mexican dad and he adopted both of them as his own. […]

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Borderlands born. Always illegal. Always home.

Chuy Benitez, Houston, TX. When you grow up at the collision of two countries, of two cultures, of two identities, you learn very quickly the different nuances between the two cultures and you adapt to appease whichever culture you have to encounter. It makes you more observant, but of course it doesn’t occur without making […]

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African American Marine New Muslim Traitor

Vincent Simon, Fort Worth, TX. I’m a new revert to Islam, served in the US Marine Corps. Because of my new religion, I have been called a traitor to my country. The person who called me this doesn’t know me very well and didn’t serve in the military. I have been criticized by “good” Christians, […]

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Not all white conservatives are racists

Emily, Houston, TX. Many people complain about discrimination, stereotypes, and prejudices relating to race; and I am under no illusion that what they experience is real and happens every day. After experiencing such treatment, I would hope that those people would be more sensitive to the subject and try not to stereotype people. Unfortunately, I […]

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Who invented the “race card” anyway?

Kathryn Terry, Katy, TX. I hate the term “race card” because when I hear it, it tells me that the person using it doesn’t have any desire to listen to or understand anything about the experiences of racism that people of color face. If you think there’s a “race card”, who do you think put […]

We perceive race issues so differently.

Kim Baldridge, Austin, TX. I’m always shocked at how differently we seem to see race issues along color lines. When I see whites say “NO I wasn’t a slave owner, but transgenerational hurt and missed opportunity does mean something. ” I may have hope that race issues will be resolved. It seems like America is […]

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We were people, before the chains!

Gwen Montgomery, Dallas, TX. This country took a race of people and turned them into second class citizen. Many of our problems are a result of the oppression we went thru for hundreds of years. I’m afraid that the results of those actions may never be changed. We have been fighting every since we got […]

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No offense BUT, what are you?

Francesca Sam-Sin, Katy, TX. “No offense BUT, what are you?” That’s usually how the conversation about my race begins. When I arrived in the U.S. in the 80’s I was really surprised by the emphasis on race. The first time someone asked what “race” I was, it took me a minute to understand exactly what […]

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The Human Race; The Forgotten Race.

Elyzabeth Inez Smith, Granbury, TX. No matter what history has come to discover. No matter what the future has to uncover. No matter what excuses people can come up with in order to justify the racial lines man has created. In the end we ALL are the same race. The only race. The ever colorful […]

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REMEMBER–For WHITE patrons only

Mary Smith, Fort Collins, CO. “Growing up in southeast Texas, I went to segregated schools until high school – Junior year. Laundromats and water fountains bore these signs. I asked my parents why we lived in a place with such hateful attitudes, and they said, “”If people with better values didn’t live here, things would […]

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Bangladeshi-British immigrant. Mom of all-American twins.

Sadia Rodriguez, Round Rock, TX. If I had to limit myself to a single identity, I’d say that I’m a mother of twins above all else. Sure, I’m also a business analyst, a blogger, a divorcee, a permanent resident of the US, a holder of British and Bangladeshi passports and a former US Army wife. […]

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Yes that’s right an Arab Latino

Philippe Nassif, Houston, TX. A blessing and a curse growing up mixed racial in the deep south. Born to a Mexican mother and Lebanese father, I have successfully learned to identify with all of my heritages while feeling like an outsider at the same time. When you are with Arabs, there is always your “other […]

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What are you so afraid of?

Addam Walker, Beaumont, TX, I’ve experienced white woman crossing to the other side of the parking lot to walk past me, the sudden locking of car doors when I approach, the clutching of purses, and so on. It hurts to treated like some kind of criminal when you’re not. Oh well; such is life.

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Embrace who you are, love it

Eric D., Houston, TX. While my son was in elementary school, I asked what race dose he tells his schoolmates he was. He quickly responded, “White”. When I asked why, he said that his skin color wasn’t brown or black. As he grew older he learned about both his Spanish and African American heritage. Now […]

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A closed mind is most dangerous.

Rhonda Lynn, Crowley, TX. When we are unwilling to approach life with an open mind, we leave room for hate to fester and grow. With an open mind, we bring the willingness necessary to hear the other voice, learn the other experience, and try to understand the other perspective. Each of us has been allowed […]

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My Industry can’t get Latino right.

Ricardo Chavira, San Antonio, TX. Actor who splits time between SA and LA. Alumnus of TV series Desperate Housewives. Id say I was shocked that industry can’t tap into Latino market, but I’m not. I also realize that we as Latinos have a tendency to get in our own way.

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Am I Black Enough For You?

Katherine Barrax, Sherman, TX. I grew up in a house with parents who both went to college. I was reading before I entered kindergarten, and I was always corrected when I spoke incorrect English. So my entire life people have said “you sound white” or “you’re not really black” because I speak like an educated […]

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I’m told to get over it.

Anonymous, Houston, TX. It’s hard being a young “smart” black man, especially in the military. If to good at my job it’s because “we helped you out more because we don’t want you to think we where racists” then if I’m not good at my job its. “Well you know black people are lazy…” Plus […]

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The ‘Whitest’ Black Guy I Know

Leon Anderson Davis, Dallas, TX. This is by far the most offensive compliment I can be given. I have heard it since my early teens, growing up in suburban Dallas. Somewhere around the age of 25, I realized that this statement presupposed that being intelligent and well spoken were attributes of white people, and that […]

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Hispanic doctor. It’s not an oxymoron.

Lynette M. Silva, Dallas, TX. My ethnicity apparently changes depending on the immediate environment. I get followed in stores here in Texas, and asked questions like, “Where are your people from?” But when I go to work–I’m a Ph.D.–I am told, “You’re Hispanic? I just don’t see it.”

Together we can do it better

Ben Tallcott, Houston, TX. My life has given me the experience of many cultures and races. I have learned that our differences create a wealth of creativity and knowledge. When we combine these backgrounds together and take the time to listen and learn, we see the answers to many questions. Together we can achieve more […]

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Race matters I wish it didn’t.

Vicki Meek, Dallas, TX. As a child of civil/human rights activists, I’ve spent my life fighting for social justice. I must admit, I never expected to see an African American head our country and was elated when President Obama won the 2008 Presidential election. But I am a realist and so I knew this supposed […]

Not Asian, nor American, but Asian-American.

Margaret Lin, Houston, TX. Although ethnically Asian, I stick out like a sore thumb in Asia. When I visited China last summer, my mother told me that everyone there could tell I wasn’t raised in China. Perhaps it was the way I dressed, or my heavy accent when I attempted speaking Chinese, or how my […]

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What are you? I am Other.

Barbara Racca, Austin, TX. When I was younger, that question would immediately cause my shoulders to hunch and a look of hunted suspicion to cloud my features. Today my embracement of otherness is shadowed by so much more than a child’s rejection of being different– Am I rejecting aspects of my race by qualifying that […]

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Two white children in Halloween photo

Dave Parnell, Carrollton, TX. Our kindergarten daughter wanted to go to her friend’s Halloween party. I saw that the address and the protective father in me did not feel safe letting her go. But I called and the black man I spoke to certainly heard the fearful white father on the other end of the […]

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Hey Dominicans! You too are black.

Cristina Reyes, Houston, TX. I chose the six words I wish I could go around the streets of Santo Domingo yelling. I have never understood, in all my years, why the Dominican culture steadily continues to deny their “blackness.” Their children aren’t taught to consider themselves “negro” instead they are to consider themselves “indio.” The […]

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Neighborhood party we were not invited

Ninfa Pena-Purcell College Station, TX This picture of my parents captures a young Mexican American couple with aspirations to live the American dream in the 1950s only to find out that their family of six children would never be welcomed in their neighborhood. Years later this experience has stayed with me and made me resolve […]

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Honey, you must come from money.

Christine Faris Lufkin, TX Actually, no. Yes, I was blessed to come from a middle class family. And yes, I’ve been blessed to travel the world. Wanna know how? I worked my ass off. Blew out a knee, graduated high school early, started college at 16, took summer school, worked multiple jobs, all so I could […]

Father’s anger cries trail of tears

David Duncan San Antonio, TX Our father would never disclose the full specific reasons for his anger regarding the Trail of Tears and the treatment of the Cherokee people. He talked of land granted his father being stolen by an overseer appointed because ‘Indians’ could not be trusted to manage their own property. His father […]

We invent race to justify intolerance

Joshua San Antonio, TX We are all one race and have only minor different biological features. Do you really believe that is the driving force behind our discrimination and stereotypical caricaturizations of each other? If we were all perfectly homogenized and mixed race, would will still discrimination against each other based on class, money, or […]