Excuse me, I was before him!

Ayako Sato Washington DC I often get passed up in line even though the person at the counter looks directly at me and knows I have not been helped. Sometimes I wonder if it is because I am an Asian-American female and the person at the counter has an image of a passive Asian as […]

Middleton-Inn-back-porch-before-dinner

Failed to befriend first black student.

Lynn Scott Cochrane, Washington DC. I grew up in a deeply segregated Charlotte, NC in the 1950s and 60s. When my high school, North Mecklenburg, was finally integrated in about 1963, there was one black girl who always sat alone in the cafeteria. She may have been the only black girl in the school that […]

Guilt. I loved my Annie so.

Lisa VonTress Las, Sunrise, FL. As a child growing up in the DC suburbs, I had no idea about what was going on. I had Annie, who was with my family 6 years before I was born until I was 13 when my father moved us. I came back to her later as she worked […]

Rosa, is the balcony really better?

Jeff Howard Washington DC It took me 50 years and working in depth on civil rights movement history to suddenly realize that an incident in my early childhood revolved entirely around race. My family’s Black nanny, born and raised in Culpeper VA was so intent on seeing West Side Story when it hit the local […]

My March On Washington Freedom Kiss

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 […]

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. […]

Griot’s love preserved unspoken unheard truths

Jimmie Jones Washington DC My father spent 30 years preserving the genealogy of our family through three generations. My early Summers were spent recording voices, taking pictures, tracing gravestones and memorizing family trees into three generations. His book and his legacy led me to the plantation where I met ancestors, reclaimed cotton, cried into soil […]

“What are you?” White people ask.

Delaney Eubanks Washington DC Bard College at Simon’s Rock Born the day JFK was killed and never once asked such a rude thing by anyone who wasn’t white, but many many times by whites. Never would whites approach a white woman like that, with such a propriety, zoological attitude. And the anger at my offense! […]

“How we get along in Washington, D.C.!”

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 […]

Eastern Market Metro – where whites exit

Liz Pomper Washington, DC My card is about the astonishing racial divide that persists in Washington DC. Take a blue or orange line subway from downtown towards Largo/New Carrolton. Watch what happens at Eastern Market: the vast majority, if not all, of the white people get off. I noticed this shortly after moving to the […]

Cracker don’t belong in dis hood

Eric Chaney Fort Leonardwood, MO Serving in the Army I was stationed in Washington DC. When I arrived I worked in an office of 7 African Americans one Hispanic and me the only white guy. The guys in the office where great we were like family but they briefed me that there are parts of […]

Without my mask, I get ignored.

Cat Washington DC If I speak in my normal voice, I get ignored and spoken over. If I speak loudly, people look embarrassed (but they still don’t hear what I have to say). I’ve gone through silent periods over the years. It’s tiring, wearing a mask of charm and cultural whitewash. Why is it so […]

You talk like a white boy

Joseph Washington, DC from an essay I wrote in 2008: IN 1980, THE year I ran for president, the country was mired in inflation, the malaise of the Carter administration was about to be overtaken by Ronald Reagan’s Morning in America, and like a lot of the country, Ooltewah High School was swept up in […]

You don’t look like you’re Chinese.

Jess Washington DC My mom is Chinese. My dad is white. I am half-Chinese, but my appearance is ambiguous. I feel like I have to “come out” as half-Chinese in certain contexts. For instance, being part of a group of people who acknowledge lack of diversity or a group of people SEEKING diversity. Race is […]

You’re pretty …for a black girl.

Sydney Buffalow Washington, DC A phrase that continues to be said to me till this day and I’m an adult now! I also hear it used when people feel they are complimenting a pretty female who happens to be black. As if being black and pretty don’t go together!