I avoid people that are different.

Jill Noeh Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project-The University of Michigan Explanation: I’ve found that throughout my life, I have avoided people who look and act differently than me. I grew up in a white neighborhood that was sheltered from people who were different. At first it wasn’t me purposefully trying to avoid these people, [...]

Race. We aren’t in Kansas anymore.

Joe Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I feel like this phrase accurately describes my feelings towards race as well as that of the nation as a whole. My hometown is the opposite of diverse, and coming to Ann Arbor has truly opened my eyes to a world of diversity that I [...]

Sterling Whites is my town’s nickname.

Jacob Barshaw Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan For my entire life I have lived in in a town called Sterling Heights. When I was in elementary school, close to 800 children went to my school. Only one was black. Until last year, not one black person owned a house in my [...]

Be white, but not too white

Carissa Stouwie Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan My butt is very sun burnt, and not willingly. I am a ginger. I have white skin, some could even say translucent. I tan so that I can blend in, so that people don’t ask if I am albino, or if the carpet matches [...]

“Mexican? Good joke, you’re clearly white.”

Alfredo Holguin Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Shorty Summary: I decided to choose these 6 words as my race card because this is something that I have heard A LOT since living in the US for the last 10 years of my life. Every time that I tell people that I [...]

Emphasize color and become more blind.

Maddy Boylen Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Society keeps trying to move forward as a whole unit of colorblind people, however, continually talking about stereotyping and problems between races does not help. It only brings to light these problems and makes the seem more “normal.” We need to find solutions instead [...]

In a bubble, then it popped.

Emily Laske Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I lived in a small city that was 94% white, with minimal exposure to the concepts of race and racism. Coming to the University of Michigan was an extreme sort of diversity culture shock for me, and through my courses I have gained knowledge [...]

Don’t glance at coins on sidewalks.

Jill Epstein Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan At a family gathering years ago, a relative of mine inspired me. He told me that each time he came across a penny on the sidewalk that was heads-down, he would flip it over to bring the next pedestrian good luck. The next week [...]

Where in this world is Trindia?

Anisha Nandi Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan “I’m half Trinidadian, half Indian; I was born in England but I grew up in New York.” They can wrap their heads around England and New York. They register half-Indian due to the caramel skin tone and dark hair. Yet, I can almost always [...]

Racism: It’s worse than I thought.

Lisa Schlosberg Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan The facilitators of a race and ethnicity activity asked us to walk from one side of the hall to the other if we had ever been followed around in a store while shopping. The lone black girl of our group took a step forward, [...]

Race is forever, prejudice is not

Sam Laurila Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I think there will always be names attributed to groups of similar looking people because humans naturally classify things. I don’t foresee us ever having a society where no one is distinguishable from another. However, prejudices based on race shouldn’t and don’t have to [...]

Drowning in generalizations; floating on truth

Alexis Ford Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan As an African American, I have several generalizations placed upon me. Some people just assume who I am. I am rarely asked. While a lot of these assumptions hurt, I know the truth. I know only my own actions and words define me. I [...]

The consequences of liking black guys.

Julie Naski Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan As a white female, I have found that it is easier to keep my mouth shut when it comes to my attraction to black guys. When I reveal this to people, I am most commonly met with a surprised reaction, and then asked with [...]

I am not like the rest

Rabia Syed Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan These six words represent how I feel about myself when people make assumptions as to the kind of person that I am. Being brown and Muslim makes me easy to lump with a large number of people, whom I do not necessarily see myself [...]

Polo, Khakis, Sperry’s, still a N*****!

Chaddirck G Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan No matter how I dress, what I do, or say I am viewed this way on U of M’s campus, in the state of Michigan and outside of it. No matter what I do to lesson the fear of me being a Black and [...]

Keep an eye on that group

Maura Seleski Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Summary: These six words were commanded of me during my employment at a clothing store at my local mall almost daily. As I was folding clothes or working the cash register my manager would routinely call me over and whisper into my ear, “keep [...]

Racism ends where race is unnoticed

Raoul Martin Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan “Racism ends where race is unnoticed” because people from the same race tend to form isolated groups and it is the fractionation of human that causes fear and hate. As a student in a university ethnically diverse, I often observe people from the same [...]

Predominantly White Community; Michigan Changed Perspective

Steven Tobias Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I grew up in small, predominantly white community in Richland, MI. We did not have any diversity in our community and the first time I experienced this feeling of new culture and perspective was at the University of Michigan. Diversity flourishes here.

Race is fear of the unknown

Marissa Allegra ’16 Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan The human race is known throughout history to have segregated, alienated, and judged others on the basis of being different. Whether this deals with religion, country of origin, cultural choices, or most significantly, one’s race, we rely on pre-conceived notions of a person [...]

I’m not seen as an individual.

Grace Sun Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Short summary: My accomplishments, achievements, hobbies, grades, ethics, etc… Almost all aspects of my life are attributed to my race: Asian. Everything I have ever done in my life is because I am Asian, not because I am me. Grace Sun University of Michigan, [...]

Race’s implications are real, must change.

Taine Stoll Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project, University of Michigna As a scientist, I know that there is no biological proof to our perceived differences in race. However, coming from a multicultural family, I have personally witnessed the differences that skin tone can have on your interactions and ways you are treated. I hope [...]

Predominantly White Community; Michigan Changed Perspective

Steven Tobias Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project, University of Michigan Short Summary: I grew up in small, predominantly white community in Richland, MI. We did not have any diversity in our community and the first time I experienced this feeling of new culture and perspective was at the University of Michigan. Diversity flourishes here. [...]

I wanna be light like Mom

Aren Dumars Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan When I was very young I believed that everyone light, bright or damn near white was better, prettier. I am a brown skinned black woman. My mom is of mixed race (black and white). I used to come home from school and ask her, [...]

My natural hair isn’t a statement.

Michelle Mabson Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I wear my hair the way it grows out of my head…no chemical enhancements. BUT for some reason…a reason I suppose I know all too well, the act of wearing my ‘natural’ hair is seen as larger than life. Maybe it’s the fact that [...]

A bridge divided; submerged in mind.

Curtis Grayer III Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Race is an abstraction that can only be interpreted emblematically through the eyes of its creators. It fragments the whole. All people are racist, racist we are. With varying depths, some people are racist at the deepest and darkest level, never seeing light, [...]

Why wait until we’re in college?

Megan Gilson Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan As a future high school teacher, I believe that race and diversity education should be mandatory component of high school curriculum. College should not be the first time that students study modern racial inequality in depth.

Nothing More Than An Evolutionary Advantage

Christian Cavacece Kentwood, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan It always bugs me how people judge and put so much weight on a man’s race instead of his true character. The only reason we have different pigments is because of our ancestors need of UV absorption, nothing more. A person did not choose it, [...]

Celebrate Differences; Encourage Inclusiveness by Example.

Katie Pethan Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan When we are able respect and understand the diverse cultural, economic, gender, age, ability, and racial experiences in the US and around the world, we will become more able to decrease discrimination and thereby increase our effectiveness. This is the core meaning behind, “United [...]

We are treated how we look.

Kimberly Dorsey Detroit, MI I am bi-racial and have been raised in a white family inside Detroit. I have suffered many racially motivated injustices in my travels and it makes me angry when people pretend race doesn’t matter. It matters when you are the one being discriminated against.

White privilege mostly invisible to whites.

Shawn Jackson Ann Arbor, MI Understanding race Project- University of Michigan Too many confuse class struggle with racial privilege and it causes them to deny and/or actively oppose the idea that they have any privilege at all. Just because some minorities can excel or some white people are poor in our capitalistic society doesn’t mean [...]

What is your race? Check one.

Destiny Carter Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I feel that the institutional concept of race often forces people to identify with only one race, even though they may be made up of more. I feel that race is important in that it allows people to find commonality with others however, I [...]

How to protect my black son?

Michael Bolton Scottsdale, AZ Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Dad Caucasian. lived life in black neighborhood mostly. studied black history–college+leisure. love black culture esp music, classic jazz. slave narratives. am black myself but cannot pass as such. other dad, my partner, black, died. am now single dad, not planned. bringing up son in white [...]

Heritage Day? I am a mutt.

Christina Vallem Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan When the elementary school holds a Heritage Day my kids would ask me “What are we?” At first I would say we are “mutts.” Kids love dogs and understood the answer. My best answer evolved into “Northern European mix.” An improvement over rattling off [...]

In a survival state exclusion dominates

Ava Dupre Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan When my belly is full of food and my needs are met, everyone has space in my heart. When my survival is at stake, whether it be food, water or love, I look at everything as an obstacle to my survival and pursue the [...]

No, where are you actually from?

Aliza Hirani Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I am a Pakistani-American, born and raised in Texas. When people ask me where I am from, I proudly tell them Dallas, Texas. Then, without a fail, I get the response, “No, where are you actually from?” I have realized when some people ask [...]

We are lazy, we shouldn’t be.

Gil Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I believe that discrimination and racist attitudes derives from human nature to be lazy. Because we humans are so lazy, we do not spend the effort and time to learn about the individual but instead, discriminate people by their skin color. This attitude is wrong, [...]