Identity is fluid; context is everything.

Zoë McLaughlin, USA. Waiting in line for the Chinatown bus in New York City, a man approached me and began speaking Spanish. I squinted at him and briefly pondered my response. This was not the first time someone has expected me to speak Spanish. As soon as I began making forays out of my predominantly [...]

Police harassed undercover cop wearing hoodie.

V. USA I’d rather not share my name right now due to the sensitive nature of the incident. While working undercover, I decided to duck into a burger joint to get a bite. It was cold and drizzly outside. I was wearing a hoodie. I am Latino. It was about midnight. I admit that I [...]

I’m Mexican-American, heritage comes first

Bessie King Boston, MA I don’t think I have been offended by being asked “Where are you from?” before. I was raised to know that I am a Mexican with an American passport in a country where everyone is from somewhere. Until the USA truly embraces diversity and it’s own history, there will be no [...]

Democracy and segregation cannot co-exist. We all suffer.

Lee Anne Bell New York , NY As a white person in this country I am disgusted by the lack of public will to challenge institutionalized racism. As a student of our ugly racial history, I know that we will never move forward as a country until we acknowledge and atone for our racial past. [...]

We are all the same, HUMAN

Jacque Howard Tenton, NJ Growing up in Central NJ as well as my diverse educational and professional experiences. I have come to the belief that humans do not recognize other humans who look differently as the same. I believe most people want the best for themselves and others, the hard part is living in a [...]

Poverty and racism leave children “behind.”

Susan F. Bohrer Merced, CA I started a tutorial program and later worked as a social work intern in a middle school where 70% of the students lived in poverty; 80% belonged to minority populations. From the teachers I learned that college was for other kids, and from the students I learned that it didn’t [...]

America’s minority education is in crisis

Alondra K. Poindexter Arlington, TX I am a doctoral candidate at Texas Wesleyan University. I am currently working on my dissertation “Cultural Identity and African American High School Teachers: The Impact On Their Instruction Of African American Students In Texas”. Less African American Teachers = Lower African American Student Achievement? Segregated higher academic achievement, integrated [...]

Black, Mixed, Metisse, Exotic, Afropino, Fulatto

Christina Lewis Halpern New York City, NY The strange thing about race in the western world is the strong need to put people’s identities into boxes. I have a complicated identity, which led to people helpfully telling me what category I fit in, including making up some words to describe me. I’ve chosen to describe [...]

Still Lifting the Veil of Ignorance

George Greene Atlanta, GA In Tuscaloosa and places like it across the resegregating South, we are being forced to fight a battle that seemingly cannot be won. Upward mobility in Tuscaloosa has been, and will continue to be halted because of closeted, good-ol-boy dealings that ruin the future of thousands of people. As a graduate [...]

Colorblindness spreads, reinforces American racist history

Cynthia McCullough Port Orchard, WA Race studies student. Americans seem to think that being colorblind is a solution when in fact it is a tool to maintain White supremacy. The colorblind mentality is the denial of the history of people of color and supports the institutional racism deeply embedded in American culture as many can [...]

White flight and racism trump integration.

Robert Robillard Roanoke, VA I teach at a white flight private school that now aims to be diverse. Another element that must be as true in Tuscaloosa as it is in Roanoke or Richmond, is that black families who have the means (not just money but social capital), frequently get their best and brightest into [...]

PROUD TO BE A CENTRAL FALCON

Cheyenne Miranda Winston, GA 1982 was the first true Central High School class of seniors –none of us had previously attended Druid or Tuscaloosa High. I had the high honor of presenting the graduation speech as Senior Class President, challenging our class and community to move beyond color together. I have been moved deeply the [...]

Self segregation leads to continued stereotyping.

Monica Mingo Germantown, MD Whenever I meet someone who doesn’t have friends who share different skin colors, I challenge it. How can you live in the world we live in and not have White friends if you are Black and Black friends if you are White? If you live in the United States, the melting [...]

Don’t Become Pregnant as a Teenager.

Max Davies Newport Coast, CA There’s societal wickedness, and then there’s personal stupidity. We can all do something about the former, but the latter is beyond anyone but the individual concerned. There are many understandable reasons why people do things that harm themselves and their loved ones, but understanding the reasons for stupidity doesn’t mean [...]

Politicians make policy, (de)segregation is policy.

Melanie Hoyt Beverly Hills, CA The last three Presidents have viciously torn away at the very fabric of American society pandering away to special interests especially big money on Wall Street and corporations. The broad strokes that were in place were laced with thermite to implode. Next is the explosion of society.

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 [...]

Code-switching: an asset, not a crime.

Molly Wanless Chapel Hill, NC To develop and maintain respect in my middle school English classroom, I teach that there are many “right ways” to talk and write. With technology and society being what they are today, no one owns or “rules” the conventions of our language. My students understand that their language and mine [...]

Separate but equal was the goal.

Glennette Clark Washington DC Integration did a great disservice to black people in that we thought that we achieved a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Teachers stopped caring about students and students stopped caring about achieving. Instead, we became “affirmative action’ed” because we lowered our expectations of ourselves along with everyone else. [...]

Times Have Changed.. Or Have They?

Juanita Shields Tuscaloosa, AL People Say That Mistakes Are Lessons Learned, But When Does Those Lessons Become Permanent? When Will This Society Realize That We Can Benefit A Million Times More From Each? We’re Supposed To Be A Nation, United, Standing Together For A Common Good. If You Want Your Country To Be The Best, [...]

Color-blindness benefits a global vision.

Lisa Wenger Hampton Falls, NH As a US History teacher, my 8th grade students were studying segregation and the Brown V. Board of Ed. ruling. I heard the NPR piece this morning and shared the Atlantic Monthly article on the resegregation of Central High in Tuskaloosa and the Dent family’s experiences from the 50’s until [...]

Unique and enriching experience shaped me!

Pamela Payne Foster Tuscaloosa, AL I entered high school in 1972 and was part of an integration experiment in Atlanta GA called the Minority to Majority program where I was bussed out of my neighborhood school which was 100% Black to a neighborhood school 20 miles away which was mainly White/Jewish. Other Black children all [...]

Are you black? You look so …

Nicole Collins Bronzan Rahway, NJ I’m a mutt — black, Native America, Irish, you name it — raised all over the world as a military brat. I consider myself black, but depending on where I am (and how tan), I get all kinds of questions, though substantially less so in a diverse city like NYC.

Integration: equity and opportunity for all

Rob Breymaier Oak Park, IL We hear so much about how segregation harms people and communities. We don’t hear enough about how integration improves everyone’s life. We need more stories and documentation about how integration is good for everyone of every racial background. The appeal to our common interest that holds the key to a [...]

Separate and unequal still exists!

Lori K. Elliott Wyoming, OH I am African American. More than 40 years ago, my parents took me out of the public school and enrolled me inan almost all white parochial school because the public school in my racially segregated neighborhood was so awfu. Six years ago, I moved from an integrated neighborhood to an [...]

Integrate. Know me; don’t fear me.

Laurie Johns Tuscaloosa, AL I am white. I attended integrated public schools in Montgomery, Alabama from 1st through 12th grade graduating from Sidney Lanier High School in 1983 as part of a white minority of around 30%. I believe having an integrated school experience allowed me to know and be familiar with black people and [...]

Mind wide, self-education comes free

Edward Darden Washington, DC Every American black person, who succeeds is and was self-educated to a great extent, at least in the beginning. When children are young, the chains around their minds and bodies are able to be broken with a Will to reach farther than what is in front of them. In this way, [...]

Still separate, still unequal! CHANGE NOW

Sophie Dover Jamaica Plain, MA Despite all the gains we have made as a country (which people love to harp on) – a harsh reality still exists for people of color and low income individuals across the nation. Schools and neighborhoods still remain separated by race and income. More money is funneled into schools serving [...]

Equality Promoter Becomes Racially Inferior

Amy Blue Tulsa, OK As a white girl in a top-ranking and racially diverse high school, I could not understand why the student population segregated itself racially. I saw all of my classmates as equals and felt a strong sense of responsibility to make others see their classmates in the same light. I climbed out [...]

Cowards fear difficult conversations and vulnerabilities

Andrew Yaspan New Orleans, LA I think that we could have so much more progress in this country if we were less afraid of being uncomfortable and discussing issues that are taboo. I honestly do think that Americans try to hold a mirror up to this country often, but it is still through the lens [...]

We are miseducated and don’t know.

Christopher Bland New Orleans, LA Recently I’ve been studying my history, my essence, that extends beyond what was taught in school and at church. I remember learning more about my race’s detriment and disabilities over our triumphs and royalty. From Kemet up until now, we possess more powerful stories than we know about and every [...]

Biggest problem affecting quality public education

Denise Hills Tuscaloosa, AL I live in Tuscaloosa, AL. I’ve been involved with education, primarily at public schools, for years. This past election, I ran for chair of the city school board, because I wanted to be sure that the needs of all children in our system were met. I was blown away by some [...]

Ambiguously different from everyone else. Stereotypes.

Jessica Winfrey Portland, OR I am biracial and bicultural and was educated for the first 6 years in a very diverse school on an air force base in North Dakota. After my parents divorced, my mom and I moved into the neighboring town, which was predominately white. I recall being warned ahead of time that [...]

Bigotry, Enlightenment, Experiencing, Acting, Agitating, Living

Isabelle Keefe Marrero Tuscaloosa, AL I am 76 years old, grew up in New Orleans in ingrown bigotry, discovered that black people had a last name in college, lived among them in the Army, joined a black mission church in Huntsville,AL, enrolled our children in that school(first school to integrate in the state of Alabama), [...]

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Irish, Alsatian-French, Trinidadian East-Indian

Peter M. Crowley, Martinez, USA. The son of a disabled, white American Anthropologist from Peoria, IL and a dark skinned Trinidadian East Indian Headmistress, I learned at an early age about race, ethnicity, and identity. It has always fascinated me that given the United States own identity as a melting pot, that so many Americans [...]