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 [...]
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 [...]
Katherine Suszczewicz USA When you don’t know, your imagination will choose to make something up. Over and over again.
Tim Buer USA My maternal family was from the South. The N-word and racial slurs were part of normal conversation. Those old tapes still roll. My thinking has changed a lot for the better, but I’m not there yet.
Lupe Family Covington, GA Take the exhibit world wide. Take to southwest. northwest, south and Maine of USA.
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 [...]
Sean D. Stuber USA I don’t remember what I said that prompted my daughter’s question. It was during a casual conversation about my experiences growing up, the good, the bad, the exciting, the boring, etc. and then we started talking about other people we knew that were from different places and what they had done [...]
Valarie Castillo Albuquerque, NM New Mexico IS in the United States.
NIK BANNISTER Houston, TX Louisiana epitomizes how race and education interfere with opportunity, cultural identity and upward mobility.
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. [...]
Mark Allen Kleiman Venice, CA As a student activist back in the day, I fought de facto segregation. It breaks my heart to see how quickly things slid back. A “kinder, gentler” end to a “kinder, gentler” Reconstruction. Only nationwide.
Mehran Mashayekh Santa Ana, CA From a quote of Lyndon B. Johnson
Deborah Washington Brookline, MA Institutional racism still exists. It makes racism anonymous. “nobody’s fault”. Those who carry it out use systems as a scapegoat, like systems don’t represent the thinking of groups of people.
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 [...]
Carmen Gonzalez Glendale, CA We as a society tolerating substandard educational conditions, resources, and outcomes for non-white children betrays our ethical lapses.
Daisha Taylor Cleveland, OH Every time an African American graduates is another way we prove society wrong. But it is another future persued and created.
Mari Filer Tuscaloosa, AL
McLain Filer Tuscaloosa, AL
Kelsey Coleman St. Louis, MO I feel that I have worked incredibly hard to get where I am. I know that I have worked hard and have been dedicated to my own education. I know now, that I have had much easier access to this education and to the place where I am because of [...]
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 [...]
Edward Lyons Boston, MA If all schools provided a quality education, it wouldn’t matter so much how we decided who went where.
Robert DeVaughn Jr. Joppa, MD If we want to move beyond racism, we can no longer continue to differentiate ourselves, or each other, by race.
Joan Goldbach Winter Park, FL When I was in high school, the classrooms were integrated. The cafeteria, though, was segregated – by choice, not school mandate. Please tell me that this isn’t the case anymore.
Moira O’Connell Morristown, NJ
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 [...]
Gabriel DeMiero Cambridge, MA
Amy Sharpe San Diego, CA Our country should be able to provide equal opportunities and education for ALL students.
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 [...]
Vishnu Rajan East Fishkill, NY Most of my life, I’ve been an outlier. I was one of 10 non- whites in my graduating high school class of 870. I’m short, I’m young for my year, and my family at home is different from everyone else’s. It took me many years to finally be ok with [...]
Ryan Owen Milwaukee, WI The problems we see in our schools are a result of the bigger problems that are acceptably in grained in our society.
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 [...]
Theresa Fichter Council Bluffs, IA Council Bluffs, IA in the early eighties was mostly white. Middle class and drugs and alcohol was a problem in school. But, not as bad as pregnancies and bad administration, in schools.
Satoshi Kanazawa Portland, OR
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 [...]
Ann Altman New York City, NY “Liberty and justice for all”? Not until every child receives a good education.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Joe Sexton Brooklyn, NY No people own the market on hate or hurt; every people possess the solutions to both
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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. [...]
Steve Broache Baltimore, MD
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, [...]
William Halley St. Jo, TX
Charles W Smith Little Rock, AR Strive to be color blind every day!
Vivian Dimmel Liverpool, NY Retired inner city school teacher who had to return to the suburbs and the mindset of ignorant people in my retirement.
Kurt Andersen Brooklyn, NY
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 [...]
KL Anderson Colorado Springs, CO Educational disparity has long been a racial card, but it’s one the sinking middle class is now being dealt, too. This might actually play out as a great eye opener to the blue collar job holder who has been traditionally manipulated into bigotry.
Tamika Brown Atlanta, GA Race and socioeconomic status are nearly inseparable. And nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in American classrooms. Education has become a battle between those who have, and those who have not.
Jenifer Daniels Charlotte, NC As child, I was labeled ‘talkative’ and a ‘trouble maker’…when all along I was really gifted and left to languish.
Joan Hamilton Berkeley, CA
John Daws Tucson, AZ I learned this years ago from an elderly black woman in a coffee shop in Manhattan. She said, “For black people, everything is about race. For white people, nothing is about race.” Those contradictory yet complementary thoughts have served me well since then.
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 [...]
Scott A. Hall Adel, IA Growing up in a small Midwestern town the entire population of the town looked like me, acted like me, worshiped like me. It wasn’t really until college that I was able to truly experience diversity of culture, race, nationality.
Victor Goode Long Island, NY America’s first revolution was enshrining the value of liberty into our constitution. The Civil War Amendments, 13, 14 and 15 enshrined equality as a paramount value of American life.
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.
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 [...]
David Gire Camargo, IL Life
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
Michael Thau Centennial, CO I noticed that people of different races are no different in their core. Some are smart and others less so – just like every group! Once you get past the social construct of race, you can truly know people better.
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 [...]
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 [...]
Reginald A. Taylor North Bethesda, MD
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 [...]
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 [...]
Nikole Hannah-Jones Brooklyn, NY
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 [...]
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 [...]
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), [...]
Kerri Ash Tuscaloosa, AL When I think of the sacrifices of all of those who fought before me, I’m ashamed of how we (parents, the schools, the churches, the community) have failed them and our kids. We have failed and our children are following suit. When we do better, they’ll do better.
Leigh Slater Hagerstown, MD We are not born hating people who are different from ourselves. Like the song from South Pacific says, hatred is taught, not innate.
Amanda Zamora Brooklyn, NY As the youngest in a large (seven children!) Mexican family, I was always jealous of my brothers and sisters for having strong Spanish first names. Mine was too easily anglicized: Amanda. So in the 6th grade, I took the opportunity to switch to Mercedes, my middle name, hoping to claim more [...]
McLain Filer Tuscaloosa, AL
Elizabeth S USA Is he on the basketball team? Does he play football? I’m white and in an interracial relationship. Whenever someone new sees a picture of us together that’s usually the first thing they ask. No, I’m sorry just because he is tall and black doesn’t mean he can dunk or played sports in [...]
Victoria USA I don’t know if this fits on the site, (which I love by the way), because Judaism is a religion and not a race. But I am sick and tired of being judged by my Jewishness and comments like “you don’t have a Jewish nose” or “kinky Jew-fro” and “if someone picks up [...]
Michael Candiotti Fall Church, VA
Miguel Ferrer Washington, DC
Traci Butler USA I’m a Caucasian mother of a beautiful, amazing little girl who happens to be of mixed heritage, because her father is from Africa. I have a difficult time when it comes to school forms or paperwork for doctor’s offices, because they don’t give you a box for “mixed ethnicity” or a space [...]
Mary Crescenzo USA I most always add a “human” box to check, or fill in the blank with “human” on such requests on forms.
Syeeda Tatum-Hensen Milwaukee, WI I applaud Ms Norris for starting this dialogue. it is long overdue.
Ida W. USA In elementary school when they asked ‘race’ on forms I filled out ‘Human” because I am a member of the human race! The teacher erased by answer and had me write ‘white’, I told her that ‘white was a color, not a person. She thought I could not have been more wrong.
Yuka Nakamura Des Moines, IA Drake University
Donor Conceived USA My dad will always be my dad, but at the age of 30, my parents decided it was time to tell me that my dad was not my biological father. Everyone in my immediate and extended family already knew this except for me. They were afraid of how I would respond. All [...]
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 [...]
Joni USA I had a really good friend who happened to be black; witnessed the pain and struggles; felt ashamed of the white race
Sue Schiller USA Rather than integrate them, our city closed the public schools in September 1958. When they reopened in January 1959, Geraldine (I know her last name, I will never forget it) was the only Black student in my school. I will never forget seeing her walk down the hall during change of classes, [...]