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 […]
Katherine Suszczewicz USA When you don’t know, your imagination will choose to make something up. Over and over again.
Auguste Budhram, USA. Anyone who has ever been in the minority remembers the first time a word knocked the wind out of them. As a child, my first time came packaged in a rhyme known by everyone– making the blow feel conspiratorial and that much worse. The rhyme is part of every 10 year- old’s […]
Louis E. Perego Moreno, New York, NY. All my life, I have been out of more than one box. However, after wrestling with the subject for over 20 years, I have arrived at a point in my journey where my identity is defined by belonging to three worlds: Latino, Gay and USA. Many Hispanics in […]
Anonymous, USA. I speak no Hindi. Live in a big suburban house. Dress and eat like a yuppie white person. What makes me Indian?
Alan S. Doctor, Cambria, CA. I was born in San Francisco on 15 Sep 1930. Dad was Scotch/English and Mom was Polish with a dash of German. Both 1st generation born in USA. My neighborhood friends were Hispanic, Oriental, white and refugee Jews from Germany. In high school I liked to walk home through the […]
Linda M Larsen, Hudson, WI. Hungarian+British +Canadian = American. I’m an immigrant, a ‘legal alien’ from Canada, with Hungarian and British parents, living in the USA. I’m supremely aware of the fact that no one sees me as ‘immigrant’ because I’m white. I moved from a very visibly multi-racial large Canadian city to small-town, lily-white […]
Brian Isaac Rizowy, Israel. Born and raised in the USA to Jewish parents, one from Sarandi Grande, Uruguay, the other from Chicago, I am nearly 100% Polish, with a dash of Russian and Mongolian thrown in. My great grandmother hid her Asian features with swanky glasses from the 1940s and 50s, lest anyone suspect her […]
Jeysi Guillen, New Orleans, LA Aspen X The stereotypes that a lot of people have about Latinx in America.
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 […]
Donna Southwood-Smith, USA. Yes, yes, I understand that what people see, affects what they think. I get historical baggage … I am from Jamaica, travel much, and have been mistaken for a ‘local’ in about ten other countries. Why? I am certainly part of the African diaspora, but like many Jamaicans, have mixed ancestry. My […]
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 […]
Tiffany M. Lyons, Rockaway Beach, NY. Syracuse University ’16 I am biracial and my experiences with race are constantly informed by internal tug of war about what side I belong to. I’ve finally accepted my place in the grey and the view is sometimes trying but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Stephanie Baylor , USA. I am a twenty-something white woman who lives in a city where rape is a gang initiation. I also have a concealed carry permit to defend myself. I think about the gun in my purse when I see a “gangsta,” be he caucasian, african-american, mexican, or asian. A “gangsta”, per the […]
Kurt Andersen Brooklyn, NY
Denee, USA. #thatadoptedlife
Eesha Verma, USA. When I was in elementary school, we had a Diversity Day kind of thing where everyone was asked to bring in something that represented a holiday or a tradition they had in their family. I celebrate Diwali, so I brought in a clay lamp called a diya that we put candles in […]
Johnny B., USA. Growing up in thee northeast US, in a multi-racial mixed racial attitude combined with military and college education has afforded me a peaceful coexistence.
Anonymous, USA. Someone, maybe many people, in my family took on the persona of mixed race Black/Native Americans so they could be, what? Less Black? I don’t know if it was my father’s generation, or his father’s, or even farther back. I grew up thinking I was Indian and consequently less connected to my Black […]
Gianna Radoi, USA. People think that being white means you are American. I am second generation, born and raised in America, but my parents are from Europe. Sure, they fled communism in the 80’s, but for a better life. Things did not always come easy for them when they started new lives here, with only […]
Grace Morse, New Orleans, LA. Aspen X I chose those six words because reading and writing (within travel) are some of the most important aspects of my life.
Shanelle Smith, Richmond, CA. Aspen X Sometimes I feel that at school, students that are non black just assume that I’m not doing as well as them or that I automatically don’t understand the material we are learning. I have also been excluded from being in groups with the “super studious” kids in my class, […]
Elizabeth, USA. In the novel Invisible Man, a black man in 1930s America struggles to find his identity. He starts out as hopeful and naive, believing that his hard work, determination, and intelligence will lead to eventual success and happiness. He does not realize, until the end of the novel, that the white characters and […]
Kevin Johnsrude, USA. If you feel unwelcome or unheard or afraid, hang out with me. I promise to listen fully and lovingly to what you have to say.
Anonymous, USA. “White boy”, , , . What I don’t understand is why there has always had to be a race at the bottom. No one seems to be able to get the freaking idea of racial equality through the six inches between their ears. First it was Africans. Then Jews, Asians, Latinos, Middle Eastern […]
Saheba Cuccia, New Orleans, LA. Aspen X Adopted and raised in the South, I have seen and heard of the racial barriers that some people use to divide us. The color of your skin should not determine anything such as relationships, jobs, and social standing in society.
Racquel Picou, New Orleans, LA. Aspen X To me race is just a social and political construct that is very binding. A reason for humans to hate each other’s differences and to create these unwarranted and detestable battles for superiority. I’ve been forced before to just tick a single box in standardized test that says […]
Charlie, USA. I brought my car in for an oil change (in the predominantly black area I live in) and they told me that it’d be an hour before they could get to it. ‘No big deal,’ I though, ‘There’s a shopping center across the street.’ As I made my way down the sidewalk, a […]
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.
Peter Smucz, USA. The concept of race is actually a manifestation of a very old and fundamental human process, that of ingroup and outgroup identification. It developed for a single purpose, to facilitate harm against the outgroup, in this case the race in question. But hatred doesn’t come out of nowhere, their needs to be […]
Robert Symens Bucher, Oakland, CA. Aspen X I am a white man, and I realize that the concept of race was created by people like myself a long time ago. The purpose of race was to create a tiered society in which white people had superiority to the other races. It is important for all […]
Nicole Turek, East Lansing, MI.
Victoria McCord, Cincinnati, OH. Describing myself is always a challenge (in a USA context). I can’t check one simple box of who I am. I’m white. I’m also Metis – an indigenous tribe in Canada. Most people can’t recognize this, and I am flattered when some people can. It is uncomfortable when I tell someone […]
Chrys, USA. When did my children’s race become collateral damage in your game? Pawns in the politico. As if you birthed them from your womb, you nursed them at your breast, stayed up with them long nights when they were sick to see if they were still breathing, caressed the curly locks about their face […]
Anonymous, USA. I find funny it when people say, “I’m full American” or something along those lines because all Americans are immigrants, or of the family of immigrants. Therefore, no one is “full American.” The United States is a young country, and most people can use common technology to trace back where their family immigrated […]
Sandi, Brooklyn, NY. I hear this question often by non-black individuals who haven’t experience racism (overtly or covertly) in their lifetime. And how these individual usually turn a blind-eye when incidents of police brutality occur across the USA by ROGUE law enforcement and UNARMED black citizens.
Douglas Moore, Sharon, VT. Raised white, male, Midwestern and Republican the movement broke open so many of the absolutes in my life.
Emma GreenWood, USA. I live by these words. I believe life is beautiful, no matter how difficult. Every day we wake up, we never know what’s in store for us. It’s exciting and wonderful to just be alive, that’s why it’s “being alive”. Being alive is amazing, and fulfilling. Before we know it, life is […]
S. E. USA. I’m white. I have never once paid attention to what color someone’s skin is (unless I admired the color). Now I’m told that not paying attention to race is racist? I truly don’t understand what a white person can do that isn’t racist and it has me afraid of even talking to […]
Anonymous, USA. Ever since a young age, I have been super passionate about hip-hop and rap music, but have received constant criticism, weird looks and other disapproving messages from some people who claim “there is no way you can like rap”. Although it’s a minute issue compared to other stories, it still makes me feel […]
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.
Daniel, Charlotte, NC. I do not want to say what country I am from, because I want you all to guesstimate my ancestry? Where would you say I am from? What part of the world do my features reflect? Please explain your responses! Please share your thoughts with me. I am NOT from the U.S.A. […]
As a young African American male, I have learned, through very personal experiences, that many do not expect me to be as wise or as knowledgeable as I am. My knowledge and opinions on complex issues as well as my level of articulation often catch people off guard. I am often expected to act and […]
Meya D. Hayes, Washington DC.
Growing up in a biracial family, the concept of race has always been confusing to me. As I grew older and began to learn more about my own identity I decided to stop identifying as biracial and began to only call myself black. When people ask me what I am and I tell them that […]
When I entered high school, I quickly learned terms like white privilege, white fragility, and microaggressions, which challenged my identity. While I understood I benefited from white privilege, I did not like the label. Still, the racism embedded in our institutions and the frustrated feelings of my friends motivates me to want to be part […]
Anonymous, USA. A fellow customer I saw shopping for the 30 minutes I was in the store walked to the front as we were leaving. He noticeably pointed his key fob towards the parking lot to ensure his door was locked.
When I was in the eighth grade my science teacher pulled me to the side after class and asked was I selling drugs. She asked me that question because I had over one hundred and fifty dollars but it was my birthday. I got offended because she seen I was black and the only reason […]
Ryann Mellion, Washington DC. Why do school textbooks only talk about slavery? Black history doesn’t start or end with slavery.
Anonymous, USA. White people of TODAY are not your enemy. As a white person, I have nothing to do with what happened 60-100 years ago. I see you as just another person. My main concerns are about managing my own problems, and surviving on a very low income. I am poor. I just want to […]
In my world, white was normal. I believed that race was something other than whiteness. The normalcy of whiteness meant I did not have to think about what it meant to be white. I grew up in a predominantly white suburb, which meant most of my friends were white and most of my schoolmates were […]
Overt racism is largely outlawed, but practically everything that determines how we live, from education, to housing, to financial access, to the legal and justice system, have built-in racial biases that have normalized social disparities with which too many are comfortable.
I got my driver’s application returned the first time because I chose boxes that aligned with both of my racial identities. The woman gave me one look and sort of laughed a bit, then pushed the clipboard back to meet my hands. I sort of looked over to my mom and erased the two boxes […]
Lisa Jasinsk, Trinity University In 2007, I spent a year working at The Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY. One day on my way into the office, I slipped on an icy sidewalk on 125th Street, and in a comic prat fall, landed on my bottom in a filthy puddle. A group of guys gathered outside […]
Ryann Williams, Trinity University In a lot of ways, having two parents of different racial/ethnic backgrounds allows a unique insight into both cultures. It can be extremely enlightening to see how both sides can be so different and yet so similar at the exact same time. However, there is always this feeling as if I […]
Michele Johnson, Trinity University. My research lab studies the evolution of lizard behavior, and we need a diversity of perspectives to do our best work. Racially diverse groups are more productive and more creative, and every one of my students brings an important perspective to our work.
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in his book Between the World in Me that “racism is the father of race.” I teach that to my students every semester. Racism created race, not the other way around. The categorization of people according to a perceived racial difference was one of the worst mistake every to be called scientific, […]
Diane Smith, San Antonio, TX. Trinity University My daughters great-grandparents were immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany and Finland. We are all immigrants.
Dr. Deneese L. Jones, San Antonio, TX. Trinity University Race still matters! Even after sixty years past the Brown v. Board decision where the courts mandated: “With all deliberate speed.”,race is still a significant factor in our educational institutions, the criminal justice system, and employment. There are real differences in how different races and ethnicities […]
Simran Jeet Singh, New York, NY. Trinity University My visible Sikh and South Asian identity have shaped my experiences with racial and cultural identities. Upon seeing me, people mark me as different and make various assumptions about me. Associations assume (but are not limited to): foreign, violent, conservative, uneducated, terrorist, victim, uncivilized, and dogmatic.
Maia Ogembo, Arlington, TX. Trinity University Because of the way I speak or carry myself, I am not viewed as black enough to some people’s standards.
Kindness and the Golden Rule are so impactful when applied to any situation. I remember hearing the Aesop’s story (many years ago) about the North Wind and the Sun. Kindness or gentleness carries the day over aggression, force and a mean spirit. This story tells a lot about how we should treat our neighbors, and […]
In 1987, at the age of 16, I left my family in Mexico and started my journey in the U.S. with a visitor’s visa that was to expire in one month. I was supposed to attend high school for three years, learn English, and go back home to become a bilingual secretary. At that time, […]
Brian K. Miceli, San Antonio, TX. Trinity University
Jamie Thompson, Trinity University
Jerheme Urban, Trinity University I am very proud of the fact that I was born in south Texas, a location steeped with history and tradition. It is also an area that is a melting pot of race, culture, and economic diversity- with a heavy blue collar, agrarian influence. After traveling/working across the country, I have […]
Nhi Nguyen, Trinity University In Vietnam, my ethinicity is Kinh, which is the dominant group of Vietnamese. Before coming the U.S., I never really cared about my race because I did not need to challenge any racial inequality. When I’m in the U.S. to study abroad, Vietnamese is a minority. Most people just know about […]
Melissa Flowers, Trinity University My mother is caucasian and my father is black. I have immense privilege in my life, and I feel that being a biracial woman gives me a sense of pride which leads to strength and confidence. But this comes at a cost. I am often referred to as “acting white” by […]
Kitt Smith, USA. I have white skin, green eyes and brown hair. I appear every bit a homogeneous American white. I am not. I am a first generation American born to a Mexican illegal and a Irish immigrant. My family has no history here and no part in the oppression of black people. Both sides […]
Audrey Lee Cho, USA. My parents immigrated to America in 1973, with my older brother Lee Wan Young and my sister, Lee Shin. I was named Audrey when I came along a couple years later, and our little brother Tom was born in 1978. My mother tells me they carefully watched American television, sitcoms and […]
Olivia Zayas Ryan, Glen Rock, NJ. Elon University
A., USA. I work in an area with a lot of Hispanic or Latino immigrants from different places. I have not had many good experiences with them. For awhile I just tried to excuse their behavior as not knowing or understanding the cultural differences but it’s getting harder. Before I continue, yes I know there […]
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 […]
Jillian Kurekova, USA. I am a 21 year old white female living in the ghetto. I have always been the outcast. I grew up in foster homes with black foster mothers and siblings, I have lived in all-black neighborhoods and went to all-black schools. I have never felt out of place surrounded by black people […]
Katelyn Prine, East Lansing, MI. As a white student who grew up in rural Michigan, my conception of race did not exist in my small community. For me learning about race is best done through meeting people who have faced the struggles and building relationships. Groups like MRULE on campus have inspired my growth 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, […]
Jason Peter Thomas, USA. I did not realize it was a good thing to be proud of my white heritage until gay marriage was legalized in the U.S. I looked up gay rights and found out that white societies provide the most advanced human-rights legislation around the world. This lead me to understand that white […]
USA. I am an artist I am a reader I am a writer I am a friend I am a sister I am a daughter I am more than my race.
Kaniela Kelekolio, Captain Cook, HI. The legacy of slavery and, for much of history, the demographics of the USA have led to ‘white vs black’ being the central racial discussion. But as America grows more diverse and East and South Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic communities and white and black ethnic subgroups flourish, they challenge a […]
Caroline Galvez, USA. Growing up, I always knew that I was of Asian descent because I am Filipino. For some reason, everyone I met who was non-Asian assumed that I was Chinese just because I had the slanted-like eyes as how many Asians do. I noticed that many people who see an Asian person immediately […]
Miranda Nogaki, Burien, WA. I’m sad and shamed it took me so long to see the racism in myself and my country. It’s so much a part of my thought processes, my brain now feels wrong. I’m eager to do the hard work of learning to listen, how to drop my agenda and expectations of […]
Bryan Maloney, Indianapolis, IN. A dirty little secret of institutionalized racism in the USA is that racism is a great way to distract the working class.