Really, we are all the same

Elizabeth Todd, Plainfield, NH. I grew up in the south and as a child heard my elders disparage blacks, Latinos and Catholics. Even as a child I knew this was wrong, I knew that we are all the same. I struggled with this dichotomy; the people I loved having values I deplored. How does one [...]

Michigan State University Senior

Stop talking like a white girl

Jasmine Baker East Lansing, MI Growing up I was placed in the gifted and talented program in my elementary school. I learned to speak what this society refers to as “proper English.” Because of that, many Black students would tease me and tell me that I’m black, stop talking like a white girl. What does [...]

Begin: Befriend someone different than you.

Karen Fritts, USA. We talk and talk about race, but most of us stay in their own corners during the discussion. We cannot begin to understand each other from a distance. We cannot begin to trust one another without understanding. Are you willing to foster a friendship with someone different…a friendship that you are comfortable [...]

A lifetime of challenge, determination, triumph.

Betty J Byrom Sanford, Lansing, MI. I am a child of the 50’s and know full well why we ask for reparation. While I have been recognized through my work which has brought national recognition to Michigan State University, I remain forever mindful of the educational deficits that left holes in my education that will [...]

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 [...]