Sara Jean Wright, Harrisonburg, VA.
Sara Jean Wright, Harrisonburg, VA.
Jen McKain, Oakton, VA.
KD, Oakton, VA.
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 […]
Attalah Shabazz, Richmond, VA. Wipe the slate clean, don’t generalize, there is more to me than my skin color. I am more than what society teaches you about me. Give me a chance, give us all a chance. Throw away all of you presumptions.
Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. Calling me an Oreo or not really black, or basically a white girl means that you define some part of my personality, attitude, preferences, or demeanor as being owned and attributed solely to white people. Is it my intelligence, my sense of style, or how I speak? Is it because I’m […]
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 […]
Nathaniel U. Jackson, Partlow, VA.
Amaia Diaz, Chesapeake, VA.
Kristina Ogilvie, Arlington, VA. It just struck me, I guess: on paper (i.e. a resume) I am for all intents and purposes a white girl. My name couldn’t be less ethnic, and I’ve had the privilege of getting an amazing education and having experiences that my father (Afro-Panamanian) could only have dreamed of. But I […]
Michael Candiotti, Fall Church, VA.
Hisham Jabim, Reston, VA. I am a Muslim borne and raised in Palestine. I am married to an American woman name Rebekah and we have a three year old daughter Hanna. My wife and I lived in the middle east together for almost 10 years and now we moved to Northern VA. Bekah is a […]
Ashley Diaz Mejias, Richmond, VA. I write this as 34 year seminarian and old mom of two girls; my husband is haitian and puerto rican, and I am cuban and white. I am part of a church that, over the past year, has walked through race dialogues in an effort to begin bearing witness to […]
Tessa McCoy, Wise, VA.
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.
Mark Ohrstrom, The Plains, VA. I will not be one too.
Amy Lee, Winchester, VA.
Susan Cooper Alexandria, VA I’m not black, but I really wish that more Americans would show some respect for our first black President.
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 […]
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 […]
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!
Michelle, Norfolk, VA. When I tell people my father is from Denmark most people in America always ask me why my hair is not blond. Scandinavians have just as many different natural hair colors as they do blond.
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 […]
Bria Williams, Keswick, VA.
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.
Denise Noboa, Norfolk, VA.
Anne Decker, Virginia Beach, VA.
Lauren McEnerney, Norfolk, VA. ODU
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 […]
Shari Sites, VA.
Emily Scott, Virginia Beach, 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.
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 […]
Brody Cameron Virginia Beach, VA
Susan Kosior, Fredericksburg, VA.
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 – […]
Samantha Poelstra, Richmod, VA. I am half Czech, half German, very much white. I chose these words because I sometimes have a hard time adding to conversations about race because I have internalized guilt over the actions that others my color have committed. I sometimes feel ashamed.
Denise Pierce, Sterling, VA. My grandmother who was born in NC in 1901 and lived to be 105 tried to instill in me a love for my land-owning ancestors who also owned slaves. At 99 she was still quoting from the KKK playbook that taught slaves were lucky to have been brought to America and […]
Peter Alison, Richmond, VA. I come from an Austrian mother and an American father, so when people ask me about my ethnic background I tell them I’m half-Austrian. Throughout middle and high-school this elicited responses asking me if I hated Jewish people, or if I praised Hitler. It was annoying at first, but later it […]
Brooke, Richmond, VA. Virginia Commonwealth University Racism goes all sorts of ways. My race shouldn’t define everything about me, and definitely shouldn’t generalize me as a person. My race shouldn’t decide how I get treated in public or how much I get paid. My race should not put me above or below anyone, and it […]
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 […]
Scott McLean, VA The world is full of millions of people trying their hardest just to get by. They do not have time to be racist. “Racism” is not a problem in the U.S. It is the most diverse country in the world. Go to Japan. Go to Iraq. Go to Scandinavia. Try to be […]
Anthony Turoczy, Manassas, VA. My Great-grandparents came to America in 1904 from Hungary. They worked in the mines during the day and went to school at night to learn how to speak, read and write English. Don’t blame others for your bad choices; work hard and make something of yourself.
Tee Virginia Beach, VA I would love to find the answer to that, and many other questions…
Annie Woodbridgem VA In high school, a white male classmate once said this to me. I am a half-Korean, half-Dominican woman. I had no idea how to respond. The context I perceived was that he meant that I spoke very clear, unaccented English, ate American-typical food staples for lunch, got excellent grades, and was in […]
Mike Arlington, VA I’m tired of people dressing, acting, talking like trouble makers, gangsters or criminals then complaining of discrimination. You will become as those with whom you associate. Each individual has the choice how to dress, act and with whom to associate. If they want to be treated as the scum of society, they […]
Stephanie Siegmund Richmond, VA
Rachel Ferreira Richmond, VA Latina
Tara Newport News, VA Despite my personal cynicism and ongoing interest in matters of race, I am still surprised at the pervasiveness of anti-black sentiment following the election of President Obama and the Zimmerman verdict, among other things. Frustrations seem to be boiling over, and feelings that used to be secret are being quietly confessed […]
Justina Adarkwah Christchurch, VA I’ve always had a problem with identity, but ironically I realized it was me that thought I had a problem, it was society, my community, everyone else who had an opinion about ‘what’ I was and who I should be. I’m not sorry to let everyone one know that its not […]
Nayna Sasidharan Arlington, VA That asked within the first few minutes of meeting someone
Abbie Elliott Leesburg, VA For my entire adult life, dating has been a challenge. As an Asian-American, I vehemently resisted falling into stereotypes. But, as an Asian-American on the dating scene, my looks delivered my first impression for me. Men developed ideas about me even before I spoke. Where they expected to find a quiet, […]
Ted Hudson Centreville, VA Excerpt from my fourth-great-grandfather’s 1790 Sussex County, Delaware, will: It is my Will and I do order that the Negroes I now hold in bondage shall be free from me and my Heirs and at their liberty at the time hereafter mentioned to wit: Charles to be free & at his […]
Isabel “Scottie” Dalsimer Alexandria, VA It was a bright and sunny day in August 1963. I was 25 years old and just back from a two year assignment in West Africa. My household effects were arriving at my Washington apartment that afternoon, but I had time to go to the March on Washington beforehand. I […]
Chrystal Roberts Chesapeake, VA
Brianna Branch Norfolk, VA I’m black and therefore I am seen as a threat to others because of my skin color. I have never tried to or had the desire to harm someone else. Sometimes people lock their doors when they see my friends and I walk past and yell racists comments out of the […]
Jonathan T Sciance Norfolk, VA I am me, I want to be judged by my history, not my people’s.
Ashley Stefanowicz Hampton, VA
Tara Izadi McLean, VA
Silvia Bobby Norfolk, VA What would we our judgments and impressions on?
Nathan Smith Richmond, VA White is a generalization of what I really am. I am a quarter Cajun, quarter Swedish, and a quarter Italian, and a quarter of mixed up Western European races. VCU Focused Inquiry
Amirio F. Hampton, VA
Frances Coronel Norfolk, VA It’ll all be different.
Michele J. Andrews Richmond, VA Upon seeing a picture of me with my (apparently) white grandmother, my boss said this to me. Then tried to backtrack by saying he was dumb because he was only white.
Mariel Oak Hill, VA Most people assume that just because I speak Spanish i’m Mexican or Spanish–no, I’m Peruvian.
Ricki Fowler Bedford, VA While growing up, I spent 5 years in a town hostile to outsiders. I’d always been unlike other children, but there, I was bullied by the kids at school and punished by the adults for being bullied. I’d been reading about the trials of African-Americans during the civil rights movement (then […]
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 […]
Trini Kechkian Herndon, VA
John Staunton, VA It is factually true that I never owned slaves. But while this statement is true for every American person of any race, it is also the great white excuse. I think that all people today of every race owns responsibility for the moral and historical consequences of slavery. But today’s descendants of […]
Mahmuda Solaiman Suffolk, VA
Michele Deramo Blacksburg, VA Despite media depictions of Italian-Americans as criminals and buffoons, fewer than 1% have any connections to organized crime.
Noah Johnson Wicomico Church, VA While sitting around the dinner table with my mom and grandparents, we began to talk about the Race Card Project, which led into many interesting conversations, one regarding the evolution of racial slurs. We talked first about the racial slurs that I am familiar with as a teenager, and then […]
David Zetoony Alexandria, VA When race is considered in a contest — whether its use is lawful or unlawful, ethical or unethical, motivated to equalize or motivated to discriminate, implicit or explicit, intentional or unintentional — it means that you never know the degree to which you won or lost based upon your merit. If […]
Renee Reives Lorton, VA Sometimes I feel stuck. I’m black and educated. I feel like a unicorn based on what so many people perceive and say about black people. I am expected by black people to endure a “struggle” I was not born into. Even misinformed white people that think they are helping feel the […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
V. Anne Spence Powhatan, VA Would I have been called a “N****” if my skin were white”? Growing up in El Barrio and the Bronx in New York City was I called the “N” word by a redheaded transit cop at 12. The last incident occurred in a store in here Virginia. I was in […]
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 […]
HELEN CANNON LOUNSBURY Alexandria, VA I WEEP FOR THE HARD FOUGHT PATH WE ALL HAVE BEEN ON AND STILL ARE ON FOR RACIAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS JUSTICE. WHEN WILL WE EVER LIVE ON THIS PLANET AS HUMANS, RESPECTING EACH OTHER AS LOVING BROTHERS AND SISTERS? SO MUCH T0 DO. HOPE PERSISTS; I’M GLAD FOR THE […]
Brian Lounsbury Alexandria, VA The Civil Rights movement was powerful, and such a struggle to overcome the injustices of one group toward another in a fight for justice. The music that brings all together and honors the civil rights all deserve!
Yatzek Krzepicki Ashburn, VA The banality of evil is frequently cited in the context of the atrocities of the 21st century; the failure to witness and confront evil is our greatest failure as a people, and we risk complacency in the light of the constant vigilance justice demands of us.
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 […]
Betsy Nash Virginia Beach, VA
John Richmond, VA Why can black people say “there are too many white people around here” and people laugh it off but if i said “there are too many black people around here” I would be a racist?
Patrick O’Laughlin Falls Church, VA ‘White’ by privilege, but not by culture.
Ann Lewis Richmond, VA Racism is a system of oppression that only People of Color can experience; there is no “reverse racism” or racism against white people, because there is no system which intentionally oppresses them. If you are white, you can experience prejudice or even discrimination based on your race, but you will never […]
Jordan Schramm Richmond, VA When I think of white, I think of a simple 8×12 sheet of printer paper. My skin does not resemble that color at all, so why define me in such a way? And when you call someone “black”, they are not the color of a chalk board, you are wrong. Color […]
Irmarie Richmond, VA Just because I am Hispanic, it doesn’t mean I only know how to speak Spanish. I’ve been speaking English since I was 5 years old. I think I have it down.
Ann Tuzson Charlottesville, VA
Robert Luke Chesapeake, VA
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.
Carlton Yearwood Arlington, VA Why the killing, why the hate, why the rape and tears…why, why, why? If we cannot love and respect one another, why should anyone be willing to offer a supporting hand?
J.S. Richmond, VA My grandparents came to the US in the 1960s from Poland after living through the Nazis and the Communists. I won’t be saddled with crimes in which neither I nor my ancestors had any part. Grow up people.
Derek Nicholas Newland, NJ Hello, my name is Derek G. Nicholas. I am going to tell you a fascinating story of the descendants of Cabell family slaves located in Nelson County, Virginia. This is not just the story of my directly related ancestors stemming from a single individual bloodline… but an intriguing story of an […]
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 […]
Andrew Steven Doss Callands, VA I learned of my Huguenot heritage when I took up genealogy several years ago. They were forced to leave their ancestral homeland simply because their religious beliefs defied the state organized religion. It’s amazing that so many other people around the world are facing this same type of persecution today.
Adriana Green Richmond, VA Cornered in the grocery store, back pressed against stacked cans and rows of condiments – “But where are you really from?” On the subway, walking home, hair grabbed by a stranger in a pale coat – “What are you?” I spend my life defending my identity. The constant questioning: but, where, […]
Ted Hochstadt Falls Church, VA This is approximately what my mother said to me when I asked her why our African-American cleaning woman could not read the word I asked her about from my second grade reader. The conversation with my mother occurred in Brooklyn, NY almost 65 years ago, but I still remember that […]