Michelle, Fairfax, VA.
Michelle, Fairfax, VA.
Jim Michonski, Virginia Beach, VA. I grew up in a military family. The March on Washington happened when I was two years old. We mostly lived outside of the US until I was nine. I don’t have memories of and was not exposed to the racial turmoil of the 1960’s. One of the strongest experiences […]
SCC Herndon, VA
Kara Cox, Charlottesville, VA. I constantly get people making racist comments about others to me. They see blond hair and blue eyes and assume I feel the same way they do.
Lynne Moffitt, Virginia Beach, VA. When I was living in Louisville, I came home from work and was mugged when I got out of my car. I had looked around before I got out and this nice young man was walking down the sidewalk. He looked like a typical University of Louisville student which was […]
Britt Mikelle, Centreville, VA. People always ask me where I come from. I tell them, “from love.” Only love or lust would have created me. I am a mutt in every since of the word. Growing up in a multiracial home, I did not know racism untill I was old enough to date. My family […]
Michala Day, Farmville, VA.
Tanya, Manakin Sabot, VA. My (adopted) son is biracial, his bio-father is unknown. I will never be able to connect him with his biological African American family. There is a void that I will never be able to fill for him . This breaks my heart as his mama.
Mary Horton Richmond, VA I didn’t realize until shortly before her death how different the world my mother gave me was from the one she was raised in. My mother had Alzheimer’s, and in the last few years of her life, she reverted to some of the attitudes and behaviors she had learned while growing […]
Ebone Newton, Norfolk, VA.
Justin Shazier, Aldie, VA. Just because you are a certain race doesn’t mean you cant like certain things.
Juan-Day Charlottesville, VA I chose these words because there’s nothing left to say. I’ve grown tired of the same dance around this issue. Race matters because history matters. History hasn’t been kind to brown skin. Educate yourself and your loved ones. If WE don’t appreciate our brown-ness it’s laughable to expect others to.
Hilary Gladstone, Chesapeake, VA.
Carmen Mendoza Tintaya, Arlington, VA. My parents are from a remote village in Arequipa Peru, where only until 2006 accessible roads were built. Now with both my parents gone, I find myself looking for my identity and looking towards that little village. I haven’t made the trip yet. I moved to the US when I […]
Heather Simms, Suffolk, VA. Something that has bothered me throughout the years is the immediate perception because I am a middle class white individual that I automatically have some sort of racism integrated into my DNA. I respect and love everyone regardless of color, ethnicity or appearance. Racism is a concern in our society but […]
Richard Reed Watts, Burke, VA. As a boy, me and my brother would disappear upstairs at our grandparent’s house, exploring for hours everything we could get our hands on. It was dark and smelled old and dusty and it was wonderfully beautiful. I remember distinctly coming across the old fragile parchment that was a list […]
John Stephens, New Market, VA. Many years ago, when I was a young man, I went to see the movie The Defiant Ones with Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier. The film was about two convicts who were both strident racists. They escaped from prison but they could not escape each other because they were shackled […]
Susan Kosior, Fredericksburg, VA.
Anonymous, Purcellville, VA. Living in a world where quotas of minorities must be accepted into major institutions, being a white male becomes a disadvantage. If I am paired against a minority of same academic and extracurricular achievements as me, I will most likely be brushed aside. I believe the only true way to make things […]
Jordan Gray, Newport News, VA. For much of my adolescence, I have been deeply involved in an extremely conservative church, as well as portraying a confederate chaplain in a civil war reenacting company. Through my journeys in both areas, I have been called many things, but the most troubling of those terms afforded to me […]
Dante, Farmville, VA.
Tee Virginia Beach, VA I would love to find the answer to that, and many other questions…
Emily Glemzu, Chesapeake, VA. As a white person I totally understand that I was born with certain privileges that others lack. It is my responsibility to share and use this power for the greater good, to influence others to disengage from prejudice thoughts and activities.
Ciara Myers, Norfolk, VA.
Janice Davidsson, Norfolk, VA. You can’t help who you fall in love with and this American girl fell in love with an African boy. So that makes our son African American. Here’s the catch that a lot of people have an issue with… He’s white. He has blonde hair and blue green eyes and is […]
James Moore, Sterling, VA. No one told me when I adopted my baby girl that I was no longer white. I had to find out the hard way. One friend at a time. Sadly.
Michele Malmstrom, Charlottesville, VA. My daughter has always had very low self-esteem. I tried her entire life to address the problem by complimenting her and giving her the tools for building her confidence: cello lesson, in which she excelled, girl scouts where she achieved the silver award, college educated with a B.A. and at 24 […]
Kelsi Evans, Williamsburg, VA. Growing up in society I have always been questioned about my race. I come from two very, very light-skinned African-American parents, so therefore I am very light, have soft curly “white people” hair, and don’t necessarily “talk black”. Being this kind of person draws attention to myself because people always make […]
Morgan Engelhardt, Norfolk, VA. A lot of times I get shut down for calling myself Pacific Islander or Asian because I look white. The truth is, I’ve always preferred to identify myself with my Filipino ancestors rather than my white ones. It feels like home to me.
Meka Burnett-Gross, Virginia Beach, VA. Speaking correct English was a “must” growing up in my house but living in the south, I was often confronted by all races with “you don’t talk like other blacks, you sound white”. Speaking correct English obviously correlates to me trying to act like a different race too. Since when […]
Kirstyn Paige Andrew, Courtland, VA. No one should be judged, in any way, shape, and or form just because of the color of their skin. Everyone is unique in their own way and can never be replaced. God created us all for who we are and what we are for the better, our outside is […]
Josh Staveley-O’Carroll, Natick, MA. I teach at the college level (in Massachusetts, Virginia, South Carolina, and Washington, DC) and consistently my black students are in the bottom half of my class in terms of grades. This effect is especially pronounced in my black male students.
Taylor Butts, Chesapeake, VA. I’m Black. Completely. I’ve tried to trace my ancestry but couldn’t get very far. I’m very light skinned and “talk white” aka speak proper english so I don’t always fit in with my fellow African Americans but my hair never matched the white girls. Needless to say, I had a hard […]
Hayley Franklin, Virginia Beach, VA.
Lauren Maun, Hampton, VA.
Averi Banks, Carroll County, VA.
Kristen, Virginia Beach, VA. I have ALWAYS been pale. Like so pale its embarrassing to wear shorts (especially in the beginning of the summer). If ever I get a tan, its gone in like 2 weeks. Yeah, I don’t think it will ever be “cool” to be this white.
Virginia Jones, Danville, VA. I’m a 54 year old white lady living back in the south after 15 years away from home. Its not the same everywhere. I’ve been an RN in central Phoenix, a wife of a Vietnam Veteran who was terribly discriminated by his own country and I’m a mother of a blonde […]
Jackson R Barnes, Ferrum, VA. My race/ ethnicity hasn’t effected me in the slightest. I have not been discriminated against or any other of these ill circumstances that I hear others go through. Perhaps I am sheltered or maybe I am blind, but in a case such as this maybe it is better to be […]
Steve B.I.K.O., VA.
Katie Pickard Fawcett, McLean, VA. Grew up in Eastern Kentucky in a county that is in the bottom 5% economically in the country. I have done social work in Appalachia, tutored students for SAT prep in VA, worked at the World Bank for 10 years, and am the author of To Come and Go Like […]
Christopher Kang, Arlington, VA. Love the project–only six words is hard! 🙂
Joe Stainback IV, New Tazewell, TN. A quote from my mother … My positive spin on ‘race’ interactions gleaned from mandated busing in the early ’70’s – Richmond, VA.
Ariel Foreman, Raleigh, NC. I just moved to North Carolina from Virginia. I’m scared to travel on highway 14 between Home and Raleigh especially at night…because it’s heavily monitored by police. I should not be scared of a group that’s suppose to protect me.
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 […]
Brandon Hopson, Portsmouth, VA. Sometimes as an African American, I feel as if I have to work twice as hard to top white people in order to achieve success.
Michele, Leesburg, VA. This was one of the nicer things said to my daughter at her church-ran private school, where she was the only white kid in her class. The girls would actually tell her that they couldn’t play with her because of her skin color. She asked, with tears in her eyes, why she […]
Jennifer Arnold, Radford, VA. We are one. I am colorblind. Racism is done; At least in my mind.
Hayley Franklin, Virginia Beach, VA.
Habibah Amattullah, Richmond, VA. The generalization is made that mostly young black men in poor neighborhoods are making money selling drugs. My question is does one really believe for one minute with this being the capitalistic society that it is, there is not someone wealthy supplying the goods, and reaping the benefits. Since when does […]
Bria Williams, Keswick, VA.
Joy Owopetu, Manassas Park, VA. What does this even MEAN? I have heard so many times that I sound like a white girl from the valley. It has caused me to experience unfriendly behavior from coworkers who thought I wasn’t “black enough” and I have gotten outright laughed at in public by ignorant individuals who […]
Latoya Baerlocher-Turner, Newport News, VA. It’s fun watching people attempt to imagine my face from my name. My first name is notably of African American origin, but my last name tells a different story, so people don’t know what to expect. And it’s always the same vice versa when people who’ve met me, learn my […]
Meghan Morris Virginia Beach, VA I am Native American (Cherokee Nation), and it is frustrating to see people appropriating ceremonial or traditional Native American accessories as fashion statements without knowing the historical background that they have. With that being said, it shows a lack of respect towards my race. It can be seen as harmless […]
BJ Leiderman Virginia Beach, VA
Rachel, Winchester, VA.
Jewell Barnes, Chesapeake, VA. I can’t even keep track of the amount of times I was called whitewashed….. I’m sorry, I went to school and learned how to speak without saying N***** every other word.
Skye Carr, Virginia Beach, VA. Throughout middle school and high school, people used to always call me an “Oreo” because I was one of the few black students in my class that spoke properly and enunciated my words. I’m curious when enunciating became something that only white people did.
Clara Silverstein, Boston, MA. As one of the white children in Richmond, Virginia in the 1970s whose family willingly participated in busing, I had few friends of any race. What we could have used at the time was leadership instead of racist rhetoric, white flight, and school administrators who cancelled all after-school activities. The possibility […]
Julia Odell, Moseley, VA.
Nicole A. Moore, Virginia Beach, VA. Submitted via Twitter: @namoore Nicole Moore, Public Historian, Blogger, Consultant and Interpreter of Slave Life http://www.interpretingslavelife.com/
Alex Mayes, Suffolk, VA. I grew up in a multicultural family. I am hispanic but mixed with black, white, and native american. I typically don’t talk about what I am. Many people assume that because I talk a certain way or act a certain way, that I am trying to be anything besides black. I […]
Hannah Gold-Garvey, Virginia Beach, VA.
Erica Sykes, Chesapeake, VA. I am always approached and asked, “Are you mixed?” What does my nationality have to do with anything going on in your life? It’s none of your business.
Michael Candiotti, Fall Church, VA.
Karen Charlotte, Montpelier, VA. I’m a native Mid-Westerner who has lived in the South about 90% of my life. I try my best to learn about people as individuals not stereotypes and rid myself of any remaining prejudices lurking in my psyche. I hate it when I find myself in a room with only white […]
Matthew Cannella, Norfolk, VA.
Alyssa Swearingen, Norfolk, VA. I come from parents who are different races. I have a mother who is white, and a father who is black. All my life, I get told “You don’t look black,” or I get asked if “I’m sure I am HALF black.” I’ve been told numerous times that I look like […]
Kristin Lindquist, Norfolk, VA.
Teresa Figueroa, Stafford, VA.
Chrystal Roberts Chesapeake, VA
Stephanie Marrero, Chesapeake, VA.
Chris Yenson, Richmond, VA.
Tina, Birmingham. AL. Nevermind the fact that I speak with a southern accent, that my attire is noticeably of American influence, or that my last name is German. When someone asks where I’m from and I give them the name of my hometown, this answer is somehow unacceptable, so I give them the name of […]
Rachel Ferreira Richmond, VA Latina
Juliette A Clancy, Culpeper, VA. Since I am half Asian and my eyes are the only Asian thing about me, people think that I’m automatically straight off a boat from China. I AM 50% SOUTH KOREAN AND 50% IRISH. Get to know me before judging me for what I look like.
Samuel C. Johnson, Keezletown, VA. I am a white man now 67 years of age. In May, 1968 (a month after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) I had just completed basic training in the Army in North Carolina, and was on my way to my home area near Philadelphia. I got off […]
Elizabeth Soda Cupertino, VA Being from a mixed racial background brings a whole other set of issues. Your not White enough to be White and not Asian enough to be Asian. All the racial surveys out there that force me to pick one of my “halves” over another just highlight how much further we have […]
Myriah, Arlington, VA. All my life I’ve gotten the “what are you?” question. It seems to be human nature to try and categorize people in order to identify them better somehow. Being French Creole and Sicilian, I have always loved being racially ambiguous, because my identity goes way beyond man made categories. I am physically […]
Dov Kawamoto Woodbridge, VA
Nayna Sasidharan Arlington, VA That asked within the first few minutes of meeting someone
Willis Mackey Jr., Christchurch, VA. I think that race is not a colour, but an ethnicity. I am so tired of being placed into the stereotypes of an African American. I am skin colour is black, I am a Bahamian. Born and raised in the Bahamas I should not have to be classified because of […]
Jacob A. McCleese, Chesapeake, VA.
Karen Sulmonetti Falls Church, VA My son was born in Guatemala and is very brown with beautiful dark brown, circle eyes and dark brown hair. As an adopted child, he has grown up with white parents and enjoys life in America. Even though we educate him on his birth country, he is all-American because of […]
Lauren Juanita Hines, Alexandria, VA. I am the American melting pot personified: born to a Mexican father and Caucasian (white, mostly Irish) mother, raised by a Lebanese mother and a German-Irish father. I remember weddings as a child where we all danced the Middle Easter dabke. Cousins on the other side of the family won […]
Simone Robinson, Henrico, VA. Submitted via Twitter: @PttSophisticate
Margaret Davenport, Vienna, VA. This was said to me by a black male student in a high school program for disadvantaged but very bright, high potential students where I was academic adviser and counselor. It was said with a combination of dismay that there were few men or blacks working in this kind of program, […]
Anonymous, Concord, VA. Not my words, but Rodney King’s. Did we not get that message?
Bryant, Chandler, AZ. I was raised in a family that didn’t think about race. I didn’t connect that I was white and others were black. My family just didn’t think that way, I wasn’t raised to think about the color of someones skin. Only the merit of their actions. The shock that would stay with […]
Courtnay S., Arlington, VA. Why are we so uncomfortable talking about racial privilege? Does anyone shy away from saying they are privileged because of their income, sex, language, or education? Western privilege exists. English-speaking privilege exists. On that same token, white privilege exists. It is okay to have money, to be male, to be American, […]
Anna Shaw, Deltaville, VA. This is the question that my brother and I were asked by native children in the Bahamas. Each member of my family has freckles and these are not the cute sprinkle over the nose—these freckles, especially during the summer, become large dots that cover our entire bodies. At the time I […]
Aaron David Snipe, Falls Church, VA. It was one day before the 4th of July parade at the summer camp I had attended each summer of my childhood, and the campers and counselors had all congregated outside to discuss our cabin’s float for the parade. Summers at the camp in rural Pennsylvania were filled with […]
Lawrence Dortch, Vienna, VA. I’m tired of smiling all the time to alleviate other people’s fears of me. I am not a monster and I shouldn’t have to dress a certain way or smile when I don’t feel like it to make white people feel comfortable.
Jane Levin, Charlottesville, VA. There’s a fantastic scene in the film, An American Werewolf in London, where the American backpackers go into a pub called the Slaughtered Lamb. They are so uncomfortable because they are so out of place and completely clueless about the local culture. To say they feel conspicuous and uncomfortable is an […]
Raheem Cash, Alexandria, VA. As a kid I spent a lot of time being one of two or three black kids in honors classes. Spent a lot of time being only black kid that played tennis. Spent a lot of time not being considered “black enough”. Well I’m not a kid anymore and fortunately I […]
Pavla Pletkova, VA. Looking at my picture you could never tell. Listening to me speak you could never tell. What I’ve been told is I look like a “regular light skinned black girl”. But little do they know I’m far from regular. As far as I know, I have never met another Czech-Ghanaian person, well, […]
Ayla A. Wilk, Blacksburg, VA. I grew up in a small town in the south side of Virginia. Our town was built on a foundation of tobacco plantations and textile factories. We had only one high school. The population breakdown was nearly 50/50 African American to White – other ethnic groups were negligible. The blessing […]
Andrew Dunn, Meridian, ID. My 4x great grandfather was born a slave in Virginia. My 3x great grandfather owned slaves in Missouri.
Carl Poole, Norfolk, VA.