I am scared to drive alone

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.

Must we forget our Confederate ancestors?

Jesse Dukes, Charlottesville, VA. This question was on my mind recently, when I wrote an article for Virginia Quarterly Review about Confederate reenactors at the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg. I don’t actually have any Confederate ancestors I’m aware of, but most of the reenactors do. All of the reenactors I talked to considered slavery to […]

Accept the reality; own YOUR story

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.

Exotic name! where are you from

Vidhya Mallikarjunan, Blacksburg, VA. I was born and have lived in the US for my whole life. And I’ve been blessed to live in a town where my race doesn’t come up too often especially in negative ways. But still so innocently people will constantly ask “where I’m from” but I’m from Blacksburg. It’s so […]

Tribalism is more divisive than race.

Elias Jones, Charlottesville, VA. It is tribalism that leads to assumptions both affirming (they are like me, they accept me, I am safe with them) and disruptive (they don’t like us, we don’t trust them, they are different). Tribalism perpetuates white privilege, empowers classism – which is informed and compounded by racism and sexism – […]

Lincoln Memorial with Ace. I understand.

Jonny Cecka, Richmond, VA. I have always had progressive attitudes about equality and so-called “race,” but visiting the Lincoln Memorial with my adopted 13-year-old son, Ace, was profoundly moving and made me understand the sacrifices of Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and countless others in a deep, personal way.

Scared that we are not enough

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.

Why Does My Race Cause Fear

Steven, Aldie, VA. I feel that because of my skin color, my race, and all of the characterizations that have been made about both, there is a fear is exuded when people see me. Some of it is ignorant like the seeing a well-built black man being some type of demon or beast. Like how […]

Out of Appalachia, into the world

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 […]

We’ll stand up for each other

Susan H Berger, Portsmouth, VA. I am a proud Unitarian Universalist of Jewish decent. If we don’t stand up for each other who will stand up for us in this world. UU’s and others hid Jews in WWII. I am a member of our Racial Justice Task Force. “Black Lives Matter.”

Surprise surprise I was born here

Victoria, Fairfax, VA. I was born in Conway, SC. I’ve lived in the States for nearly two decades now (all of my life so far). It wasn’t till I was in elementary, and I had to ask my mom why boys would say “ching chong” to me that I realized that I was somehow different. […]

I am proud to be white

Staci, VA. I have seen the term “white privilege” used a lot recently as though it were an actual epidemic. What infuriates me about this term is that it is NOT relevant in the year 2017. Black people have more opportunities GIVEN to them than white people when it comes to education and the workforce, […]

I have been around the world

Mike Snow Spotsylvania, VA I have listened to the Race Card Project for some time on my NPR station and it has encouragd my own thoughts on the subject. I admitted to my self many years ago that I had thoughts and views that one could deem as “racist”. This smacked me in the face […]

Don’t straighten your hair, baby girl.

McKinley Dixon, Richmond, VA. In the dominantly caucasian school that my sister used to attend, she would get picked on for her hair being curlier and fuller than the other girls in her school. It got to the point where she would straighten it every morning before we go to school. Damaging her hair, for […]

Divide in America demands one listen

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 […]

“Waiting on the World to Change”

Hannah, Norfolk, VA. I chose this quote from a popular John Mayer song because it so relevant to where we still are today. This song, created in 2006, is more relevant 10 years later than it was then and that is a problem. And even though I am not a minority, the hate in this […]

Everybody turns white when shot at

Bettie Wilkins, Roanoke, VA. I was born in 1940 and my parents were sharecroppers. My father was drafted in 1942 and came home in 1944 with a partly collapsed lung. He was in a trench with other GI’s when the Japanese threw a burning bomb with gas into it. He was lucky because three men […]

Able bodied Financially Successful Minority Male

AJ, Falls Church, VA. I am a white American female with multiple disabilities. I realize that generally speaking, my whiteness and U.S. citizenship is a benefit for me in society. But recently, I had several experiences where a person of another race assumed something about me that was false, and it pissed me off. In […]

My child is of human race

Ngan Lam, Virginia Beach, VA. I learned race, prejudice, racism, stereotype, and developed my own personal biases, but when I look at my child I only see a precious human being and spirit…just him and forget about all that I learned.

America: do you hate me?

Andrea Catala, Burke, VA. It seems that half of the U.S. felt fear and panic of non-whites or immigrants taking over our country. Well now I’m fearful and panicked that half the country hates non-whites. Is that true? Was this election truly an anti-establishment referendum? Or was there sexism and racism that tinged the voting […]

My daughter isn’t a “China Doll.”

Debra Cope, Alexandria, VA. Adoption is beautiful, and I really don’t mind helping others navigate the awkward preconceptions that accompany it. But this phrase just burns me because it equates my spunky, lively child with an object . She’s not my toy — she’s my daughter!

I’m More than, Less than Accepted

Nicole Reynolds, Virginia Beach, VA. Race often goes hand and hand with self worth. Who am I in the world? What does that answer mean? How does it affect my life? Is there anything I can do to change that? I have Ugandan Blood, Taino Blood, Spanish Blood, Past African American Slave blood. What race […]

I don’t know where to begin.

Elizabeth Johnson, Arlington, VA. There are so many things I wish I could say but am worried they will come out the wrong way. I want to say I see you’re struggling. I want to say I see racism among my friends and within my own family. I want to say it’s wrong. I want […]

Three Cultures. Two Races. No Home.

Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. As a mixed child, I have never felt at home with any culture. My mother was born in the Philippines and my father was an airman stationed there. They are wonderful parents who are absolutely in love with one another. I am one of three children, the middle child and only […]

Why must I choose one race?

Cassandra Young, Norfolk, VA. Often times when filling out a survey or application we are asked to select our race. Many of the times the directions state to only choose one. I am biracial and one race does not define me.

I feel othered for being lightskinned.

Lexie Nobrega, Norfolk, VA. I was never “black enough” to fit in with the black kids, but I am not white either so I obviously did not fit with those kids either. I was called an “oreo” often-black on the outside but my personality was equated to that of stereotypical whiteness. I always embraced being […]

Why do you sound so white?

Ladaja Kennedy, Norfolk, VA. Growing up, I went to a predominately white school with mostly white friends. Because of this I was usually not hanging around with people of my same race and ethnicity, thus not sounding like the others or having connection like everyone else did when it came to it. Then later when […]

To belong everywhere and nowhere simultaneously

Amanda Baran, Arlington, VA. “No, I’m not Mexican. Nope, not Latino. I’m an American who’s half Syrian and half Indian. Well actually, my father’s former nationality was Syrian. His parents were refugees from Turkey who were expelled during the Armenian genocide. No, they weren’t Armenian, they were Christians who were forced out and into Syria […]

Political climate gave HATE safe space

Kelly Ferrell, Sterling, VA. I am disappointed but not surprised that charismatic politicians have taken the easy route and invested in hate rather than commit to making our country and our world more inclusive. Home-grown extremist groups that terrorized communities of color had been marginalized for some time. Now they feel that they have an […]

Well educated Asian-Americans asked, speak English?

Christine Thai-Pappa Fairfax, VA I was at a National Convention for my sorority, which is an Asian- American Interest sorority. A number of us had gotten onto the elevator at our hotel. There were girls from the University of Virginia, Berkeley, Standford, Cornell, and Carnegie Melon. At the next floor a group of older Caucasian […]

You sound like a black person

Leslie Morris Roanoke, VA I am in management at one of the top insurance companies in the United States and this was the ignorant comment I heard when an individual on my team transferred a man to me to resolve his issue. He said “You sound like a black person.” I asked if that was […]

Smart black kid plays tennis alone.

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 […]

Your fear is not my fault.

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.

We are not what we were

Kellianne Murtha, Chesapeake, VA. Times have changed, people have changed so why is “race” still thought to be an ongoing problem? We are no longer who our ancestors were and we no longer believe all of which they did. Race should not be a problem and should not be a deciding factor for things, such […]

I’m Pavla Pletkova. And I’m black.

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, […]

It’s Okay To Talk About Race

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, […]

Not hispanic enough, not white enough

Alfida Cruse, St. Louis, MO. Growing up half Dominican and half Missouri German (white) constantly left me feeling not white enough for the white kids and not Dominican enough for the Hispanic kids. I have been called out and subsequently shunned when my mother picked me up from school in Arlington, VA (“you’re WHITE?!”) and […]

Can only white people be American?

Nyssa Thongthai Richmond, VA I am Thai-American. I was born here and raised in Thailand. I came back here when I was 15. I’ve lived in Norfolk, VA for 12 years now and when people asked me where I’m from, I would answer Norfolk. And lots of time they would counter me and say “No, […]

Feeling Conflicted about my family history

Romaine Martin II, Richmond, VA. I Think Ancestry.com is very therapeutic. You can spend hours researching your family’s cold cases. One bit of information I found out left me feeling unsure of how to feel at all. “Green Gore was born, in 1816, the son of Robert Gore (1783 – 1870/1880) and Tomsey Jarrel,(1778 – […]

He can’t swim, Dad saves him.

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 […]

Mugged…Most assume black mugger…wrong

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 […]

Stronger TOGETHER than we are apart

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 […]

Mother gave me a different world.

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 […]

Andes shadows follow me, no Quechua.

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 […]

I am WHITE. I’m NOT RACIST.

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 […]

My ancestor’s slave’s ancestor contacted me

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 […]

I carry hope through young musicians

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 […]

Race is a Matter of Mind

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 […]

I’m a white male; I’m unwanted.

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 […]

I’m “white” does’t mean I’m racist.

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 […]

I fully accept and understand privilege.

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.

Meet My WHITE AFRICAN AMERICAN Son

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 […]

I have failed my biracial daughter.

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 […]

Wow, I can’t believe you’re black!

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 […]

Being Mixed Doesn’t Define Cultural Identity

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.

What does “talking white” sound like

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 […]

I’m not a color, I’m me.

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 […]

Why are my black students failing?

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.

I’ve never really been black enough.

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 […]

Good Lord, that girl is white!

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.

My race isn’t who I am

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 […]