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White Slavery & The Myth of White Privilege

DeAnna Calderon, Austin, TX. I grew up poor in the Southside of Chicago. We were extremely poor and even homeless at times. Sleeping outside in the middle of winter when I was a child. When I was 22 I joined the Army. The treatment I faced as a woman in the military felt like it […]

I always knew I was different.

Coleen Owens Katy, TX We (my sisters and I) were often the “minority” – growing up in a military household and moving often – whether it meant repeatedly being the new student or not speaking the language, we had many rich experiences because we didn’t fit in… we were nomadic for a time, and taught […]

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All-American Girl: Minority at Work

Stefanie Bernosky, Houston, TX. I was raised as an All-American girl to an All-American family in an All-American town. I even looked “All-American”, proudly featuring my braces and American Flag sweater in this dated family photo (circa 1994). We can trace my family (both sides) to the United States prior to the United States Revolution. […]

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We’re all the same, but different.

Cynthia Parra, Beaumont, TX. Through my profession, I have been given the opportunity to work with university students from marginalized groups and I have become a local social justice advocate. What I have learned is that everyone one wants to be be love, accepted, and not judged. We as individuals, just go about looking for […]

Impossible for me to blend in

Jeremy Tolbert, Austin, TX. I work in the high tech industry where there are < 2‰ African-Americans at my job. When I meet new people, I always hear, “I’ve seen you around”. I stand out because there aren’t many people in high-tech that look like me.

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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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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 […]

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When people ask… What are you?

Naomi, Grand Rapids, MI. I am an American, of Mexican decent… No, I don’t speak Spanish, no I don’t know where my family is from in Mexico… My Grandparents and Great-Grandparents were born in Texas… I grew up in Gary, IN around mostly Black people… people don’t know what box to put me in. How […]

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I Don’t Have Any People

Dara Boyd, Austin, TX. I am always hearing people say, “my people”, “your people”, “our people”, but why can’t we just be people? It never crossed my mind to call all white people or more specifically Norwegian people (which is a portion of my ancestry) “my people” because they simply are not. America, hell the […]

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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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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 […]

____ Students’ Association! Fill the blank.

KM, Austin, TX. I am current in college at one of the largest public universities. Not a week goes by where I don’t see a group of students sitting at a table and asking passerby’s to join their organization. One of the most numerous types would be the such&such Students’ Association. I am of mixed […]

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I Am Not White Or Black

Matthew, TX. Black, White, Asian, or Pink with Purple polka dots – your skin color is not who you are. Do not obsess over the shade God painted you when you were born. Do not let history define you. Do not allow others to control your actions. Love, respect, kindness. Not hate and vengeance for […]

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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Adopted at birth; family history unknown.

Kristi Boehm, Spring, TX. Every year on my birthday I give thanks to the woman who loved me enough to give me up for adoption. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother and father, and my family life was nothing but ordinary. As an aging adult, with no idea of whether I’m Swedish, German, […]

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By protecting her, I’m oppressing her.

Adrienne Kern, Keller, TX. My daughter was two weeks from turning one on September 11, 2001. She is one of them. An Arab (pronounced with a Texas drawl: A-Rab). A camel jockey. A rag head. She is Turkish and Saudi and Egyptian. She is not white like me, her mother, who is also mixed race. […]

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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.

I am a proud American man

Charles Tanner, Midland, TX. I am an American,there is not a pre or post to that I was not brought here I was born here. Yes my distant family came from somewhere else. But as with anyone who truly wants to be an American they assimilated. Just as if I wanted to make any other […]

Your skin feels just like mine!

Laura Speegle Waco, TX I teach elementary school in Waco, Texas. I can’t remember why this little bitty girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old, was sitting in my lap crying… but suddenly she reached out and stroked my pale white are and looked up at me in surprise. After making this observation she snuggled […]

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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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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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Racism is Our Generation’s Struggle Now.

Jade Mack, San Antonio, TX. Racism today comes in many forms. In America, racism is xenophobic, and can come from any race. Racism is interpersonal, and anyone can pass their hate or disdain for another race onto anyone. Racism is internalized, subconscious: that white is normal, and white people are individuals, while everyone else is […]

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Race should not matter in America.

Jordan Hockett, Round Rock, TX. We are all Americans. Its the bottom line, and true. You cant judge someone by their skin color if their born or a citizen in our great country. That’s the diversity that keeps us, The Free People, separated from each other. We shouldn’t use race as tool to differentiate us […]

Sorority initiation, we look like KKK

Marilyn Anne Kay Wimberley, TX The year was 1968. We were gathered in the formal dining hall of the sorority house, lit only by candles, for our sorority initiation. All white females dressed in matching white gowns. One of my sorority sisters commented, ‘we look just like the Klan.’ This was at the University of […]

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Whites say Hispanic, Hispanics say White

Renee Lewin Asutin, TX My mother is Mexican-American from the Rio Grande Valley, my father is white from Orange, NJ. I was raised in a home where English was primarily spoken, but Spanish was still commonly heard. As I was growing up I viewed myself primarily as Mexican. I spent most of my time with […]

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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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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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We’re Here Walking Each Other Home

R. Flowers Rivera, McKinney, TX. The most aware I’ve ever been of race was when my family moved from Gulfport, Mississippi, to New Fairfield, Connecticut, during the 1980s. At that time, New Fairfield was a town with a population of about 10,000 in which there were three Black children, all of whom were in my […]

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I’m not allowed to be country.

Rhonda Gilbert, Crowley, TX. I’m black and grew up in the rural south. My experience was very much small town, and I interacted primarily with other blacks until college. Although a large part of my perspective is influenced by my country upbringing, I don’t feel welcome in that “country” space.

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Strength in pedigree proud of race

Tory Robinson, Omaha, NE. I refuse to be fearful growing up in Texas, I learned fear is an obstacle. I now live in Nebraska a state that hides its racism but I won’t be broken because of the strength in my pedigree.

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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 […]

Racially Ambiguous and Tired Of Explaining

Melanie Cowart, Fair Oaks Ranch, TX. My parents were married in 1934 when miscegenation was illegal in most states. Until I was older, I didn’t realize how much courage it took for them to be together. My mother, who was white, raised her two daughters, now 80 and 62, to be proud African-American women. I’m […]

The privilege of being white while black

Joseph Benjamin, San Antonio, TX. I’m a light skinned black man who grew up poor and black in the south, but because of my skin color I’ve always been treated differently from birth to the time when I realized the significance of it being white while black. I went with a dark skinned friend to […]

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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 […]

I’ve been the ONLY Black kid..

Kelly B. Ferrell Sterling, VA As the child of nomadic parents, we lived where we could and/or where my parents found work. At one point in the mid “70s, we lived in up-state NY, outside of Ithaca. We were the only black family in the area (in the county the way I remember it) and […]

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How’d your baby get RED hair?

Ahtum, San Antonio, TX. I often get asked what are you but when I had a baby with red hair, the question became how did you get a baby with red hair. I always start off with, “well, my mom IS white” then lead into “but my husbands grandmother had red hair” I often want […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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Black and part of the solution.

Maurice Kemp, San Antonio, TX. I did not choose my race. No one did. I was born into a world with preconceived notions about my race and others. We all were. I entered a world with plenty of recorded and unrecorded history. We all did. I cannot account for any of the history that predates […]

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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 […]

Lights flipped, pulled over, relax brother

JC Ousley Houston, TX In 1998 I bought a new red corvette despite my mother’s plea, she said the car was trouble for a black man. On the day the car was delivered, I was driving to my parent’s home to show off my new vette when I was pulled over by three Chicago police […]

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Drop the guilt, and become aware

Danyahel Norris, Houston, TX. When I have a conversation about race or racism with someone white, I tend to get a few common responses. One being the fact that they weren’t even alive for things like slavery and Jim Crow, so they shouldn’t be blamed for it (not that I ever did). Another is the […]

Ni de aqui, ni de aya!

Yesenia Chavez, Houston, TX. I’m a first generation Mexican- American, born and raised in Houston, Texas. Sometimes it feels like I’m too in between both identities to really feel like I’m either. My Spanish isn’t perfect and sometimes I forget words in English.

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Don’t hate ’cause I claim biracial

Fe Bencosme, Houston, TX. As the product of an Afro Crucian and Anglo Dominican union I self-identify as biracial and bicultural. Some people find it “exotic,” which leaves me feeling uncomfortable although not as angry as when someone says to me: “Well, no matter what you think you are the truth is you’re black.” The […]

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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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A “white girl” with a unique heritage

Ashlyn Rachelle Sharp, Azle, TX. I hate the term “typical white girl”. Why does a girl whose taste buds enjoy pumpkin spice lattes have to be categorized automatically in some stupid stereotype? I may be “white”, but my heritage is so much more than just a typical white girl. My veins are flowing with the […]

I’m Biracial and I am prejudice

Ana Vega Rios, New Braunfels, TX. Self-awareness is the first step in moving forward. We all are prejudice in some way, it’s about being authentic enough to admit it. Opening an HONEST dialogue is the beginning of change.

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I’m genuinely sorry about my family.

Katy Wilkerson, Houston, TX. In the deep South, in my experience, racism is pervasive, especially when you talk about poorer and poorer white people (not just men). There truly does still exist a level of social acceptability that is just not OK. I’ve always been extremely disgusted by it, despite being white and having these […]

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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 […]

I’m Black, not African American

Trish, Houston, TX. I’m Black. I’m American. Black is my race. American is my nationality. One has nothing to do with the other. How can all Black people be African American? It’s impossible for a Black person who was born in the UK, to be an African American. Black Americans are not “special” kind of […]

Sad truth: racism is still alive

Javier, Roma, TX. I grew up in a little town in Mexico, near the border with the US, there was not as much cultural or racial differences as bigger cities have. I know that racism exists in Mexico, because I have read articles where they explain how Mexican people discriminate people who they consider Indians, […]

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Interracial family: whites stare, blacks care.

Aurlyn Ellyse Wygle, Lewisville, TX. My husband and I are both caucasian. We have decided to make adoption our “plan A” and have a particular heart for children from hard places. This led us to become foster parents. As we parent these precious, beautiful brown babies we have noticed a trend. African American adults are […]

Stop Blaming Whites for Your Problems

Anonymous, Austin, TX. Blaming all white people for slavery is the same as blaming all black people for Boko Haram. If I am to be held responsible for what some white guys unrelated to me did centuries ago, then you should be to blame for what your people are actively doing right now. This goes […]

Born in America, Your’re just American

Jeff Boothe TX If you were born here you are not African-American, Mexican-American, and Chinese-American. No one says they are European-American, Scottish-American, and Spanish-American. Why do people dilute themselves to being less than American.

I’m not a person of color

Gabriella Grange, Plano, TX. Before coming to college, I always thought of myself as a black person. But when I got to college a few years ago, I heard people use the term “people of color” and it boggled me. Even though the term is used to foster solidarity, the term can be used to […]

His parents will never meet me.

Kayle Dallas, TX Our breakup happened for many reason, but the main one is because his parents would never feel 100% comfortable with their son for being with me. I’m black and he’s white. Such simple labels that belie a myriad of different experiences. I would think that any parent would be thrilled their son […]

When do I become just-American?

Wen Wen Yang Dallas, TX I tell people I’m Chinese-American. My parents are Chinese, born and raised in China, while I was born and raised in the United States, so I think the term Asian-American is accurate. I am straddling the divide, but leaning towards American – I’ve never been to China and do not […]

Poor little middle class white girl

Nina Haug Richardson, TX While applying for college, I realized that I have no “hook” – the box, story, or line that might make me more than just another high-achieving middle class white girl applying to too many schools. And I had absolutely no right to complain about this – I grew up in a […]

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Brown skin isn’t a measure of my intelligence

Octavia, Dallas, TX. I have been to over forty six job interviews since I moved to Dallas. There is a look that white people give you when they realize that the person that they thought so highly of over the phone is a black woman. I have had people tell me all the reasons why […]

Black People Can Be Racist Too

Michael, Dallas, TX. I went to an all black school where I was 1 of 20 or less white kids. I was beat up, chased home every day, picked on and called white trash. I was bullied to the point of finally dropped out, and decided to get a GED.

Confederate re-enactor chose intimidation as spoils

Lillian J. Hall, Dallas, TX. I was a freshman in college. I was sitting in the dining hall with a friend, near a window. It was “Texas Day”. The theme was obvious by the bails of hay, western-wear-clad employes and of course, barbecue on the menu. My friend and I were chatting, when all of […]

Northern Mother Southern Father meet middle

Sandra Hart, Brookeland, TX. This is an amazing thing to do. Growing up in the South in a white household with a black cleaning lady I felt there was more to the story. But no one would tell me anything or even answer me truthfully. I felt that Emma on orders from my mom would […]

The facts stop where feelings begin

John Smith, Las Vegas, TX. Races are diffrent, not only by color of skin, but by brain and how our body is built, its sad but true some races are capable to do better things then others, when the white man whas building rome the Africans where still living in mud houses, and most of […]

I hate seeing it in people.

Jesse, Edinburg, TX. “What the son wishes to forget, the grandson wishes to remember.” According to Hansen’s Law, the second generation immigrant tends to sever themselves from the customs and traditions of their ancestors in order to achieve assimilation, but in time the “grandson” will value, that which the “son” wished to forget. What my […]

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Yo soy Tejano, not “White Washed”

Christopher A Hernández, Corpus Christi, TX. Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Texas, you can always smell the sea; after all: it’s practically in your backyard. But there’s also something else that is constantly in the air that one may not be able to smell, but it’s just as pungent: Stereotypes. I come from […]

She’s nice for a black woman!

Barry Watkins, Santa Rosa, CA. My mother took me back when she told me that. She was loving & guileless. She drove off the road when I told her I had Black roommates in SF, though I grew up in Beaumont, TX. I never thought of my roommates as “Black”, they were individuals – Ron […]

I’m not black, I’m dark brown.

Kelly M., Indonesia. My six words were spoken by my daughter when she was seven years old. I am From Texas, my family tree consists of Irish and English immigrants and Cherokee Native Americans. We generally look Caucasian, but all five siblings have slightly different skintones. I now live in Indonesia, I’m a single Mom […]

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My Not So White Life

Joye Beard, Corpus Christi, TX. In the 23 years that my husband and I have been married I’ve noticed some disconcerting things about being in a mixed race marriage. First, I’m not comfortable around other white people at all. If they’re open minded it’s not so bad. But most are not, and once they learn […]

Pulled over with child; a lesson

Damien Blythers, Dallas, TX. My eyes water up knowing that I will have to teach my children what to do when you get pulled over. It’s hurtful to know that I am at more of a risk in being victimized while being pulled over than someone of another color. There are unwritten rules and instructions […]

I Forget I Am Not White

Dougherty, Outside USA. I was adopted. My Dad is Irish, raised in Texas and then California. Mom is a retired nurse. I was raised around Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and Jews. My friends in elementary school were white. Race was never an issue. Or if it was, I have long since forgot about it. I even […]

Southern Living: Caught Between Different Cultures

Jackie Houston, TX My parents are South American immigrants who were granted amnesty during the 1980s. I was born and raised in Texas. I didn’t have many Hispanic friends growing up. I grew up around many Texas Germans and am now at college in Houston studying German. People are surprised when they discover that I […]