Kristin Maerke, Springfield, MO. When I was younger I was very annoyed by the question, “What are you?” Which were usually the first three words spoken to me. I have since learned to embrace my cultural diversity, and sometimes even enjoy making people guess (it tends to make them quite uncomfortable).
Courtnay S., Arlington, VA. Why are we so uncomfortable talking about racial privilege? Does anyone shy away from saying they are privileged because of their income, sex, language, or education? Western privilege exists. English-speaking privilege exists. On that same token, white privilege exists. It is okay to have money, to be male, to be American, […]
Margaret Snyder, South Portland, ME. I live in a predominately “white” city, but one where there are over 60 languages spoken. I see people of all colors around the city, and I find the languages, clothing, and colors to be enjoyable to experience, but I often feel it is not okay to stop and observe […]
Jane Levin, Charlottesville, VA. There’s a fantastic scene in the film, An American Werewolf in London, where the American backpackers go into a pub called the Slaughtered Lamb. They are so uncomfortable because they are so out of place and completely clueless about the local culture. To say they feel conspicuous and uncomfortable is an […]
Paige, USA. I’m am a white woman, oddly uncomfortable being around all white people. Maybe because I date black men, maybe because I hear so many racial slurs (against blacks). Maybe because I see how judgmental white people are to minorities. White people treat me as though I am wrong for dating outside my race. […]
Jenn M. Jackson, Chicago, IL. Every single day I am accused of “making things about race.” I’m told that I’m “looking for racism” in everything. I’m told I must lead a sad, angsty life since I can’t stop pulling the “race card.” I often get this feedback from Whites who feel uncomfortable when I note […]
Wes, Boston, MA. I feel like the topic of race has become uncomfortable for many people because we assume the worst of people’s words. A discussion that includes the ethnicity of another person too commonly leads to an argument or someone accused of being a racist when no harm was intended or when a fact […]
Eric Moore, Anchorage, AK. “I get it” cuts three ways. First, I understand this is true. Second, I am in most ways the example of a person who is privileged and this has brought me opportunities, second chances and more. But Third can be an exasperated “I get it” because no matter the advantages I’ve […]
Pamela, USA I grew up in a predominantly Asian neighborhood in Southern California. It was a hard transition living in places where Asians were the minority…non-Asians were just so foreign. But I’m doing exactly what I’m fighting against: making others the Other. My brain has learned to fight these Othering thoughts, but I can’t always […]
Peggy Magnusson San Pedro, CA In exchange for the stress of freeway traffic, I have begun taking the bus to and from work. For most of my life I have lived in largely white, upper middle class communities. Now I sit shoulder-to-shoulder with people of color. Sometimes I am uncomfortable.
Susan Eugene, OR After a lifetime of feeling uncomfortable around most people, white or of any race, my face now defaults to a doubtful distrustful set of creases in the presence of strangers. Sometimes I feel like telling the rare black person I see off campus that I’m awkward around everyone, but it’s also true […]
Janice Fairfax, VA I used to work in retail where we received commission, requiring customers to identify us. Customers always felt uncomfortable referring to me as “black.” I started to notice this tendency in other areas of my life. The hesitation suggests a sub-conscious/conscious negative mental connotation with the word. I like my blackness, do […]
Kathryn Sanders Summerville, SC I am white Southern woman . I will never forget overhearing a group of white co-workers harshly criticize a black co-worker’s slip into African American vernacular at an on-the-job baby-shower while handing out gifts. I have some Appalachian forbears and am an English major and I take great pleasure in using […]
Rosna Delucca Pompano Beach, FL Growing up on a small island, I was colorblind. I didn’t know that one day the color of my skin will make me feel uncomfortable in America.
Terrie East Palo Alto, CA Soon after moving to an exciting silicon valley in the first years of the internet boom, it felt like anything was possible in this new world. I was invited by a friend to a party given by a start-up founder, held at his home. We arrived separately from my friend […]
Lili Thomases Ann Arbor, MI
Jennifer Ashland, KY I am from a small city in Kentucky… people automatically think “Do you have your teeth”, “Do you wear shoes”, “She hates “colored” people”.. while all of these are simply uneducated guesses. I truly didn’t realize how bad racism was until I got older and in high school. I went to a […]
Chelsea C. St. Petersburg, NC
Sometimes uncomfortable. Sometimes Easy. Bigotry Unaccountable. Anonymous, Raleigh, NC