Jane Meacham, Washington, DC. My dad is a lawyer in Kansas City, MO, who always had mostly black, working-class clients. When the city school district started to decline in quality in the early 1970s, we moved away to a nearly all-white suburban school district nearby. So I realize now, all these years later, that his […]
Kristin Barker, Washington, DC. Thanks for this project. Love you, Michele!
Steven Shimberg Washington, DC I envy our kids who seem to be colorblind and take diversity for granted. Having grown up in the 50’s and 60’s, I regret that my ability to understand fully, appreciate and relate to some of my friends’ life experiences is limited. Divides based on socio-economics are significant but divides based […]
Sarah S., Washington, DC. My Puerto Rican grandmother used to call me “muchacha fea,” while calling my dark-haired, dark-eyed, darker-skinned, curly-haired sisters, “muchacha linda.” That woman treated me like Cinderella. When we were kids, one of my sisters took my grandmother’s cues, and decided to torment me by saying that I was adopted (I wasn’t), […]
Dr. Felicia R. Wilson Young, Washington, DC. The constructs of race can not define me, withhold anything from me. I love the SKIN I am in and know that what I give to the world goes FAR Deeper.
Brittney Smith, Washington, DC. But since I’ve moved here I can’t help but notice that many of the stereotypes of black males are true. I’ve been chased down the street by black males, groped by black males and sexually assaulted by a black male in the street. Since then I’ve been scared of black males. […]
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 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.
Deb Ewing, Washington, DC. Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally) has been dedicated to helping us be able to find identities on various forms, including the U.S. Census, for decades.
Phyllis l. Johnson, Washington, DC. We as black people still suffer from the vestiges of slavery, like colorism.
Darrick Gilmore, Washington, DC.
Jack Montgomery, Washington, DC. My husband and I got married and adopted three beautiful children on the same day last summer. Happy times! I have learned more since these kids have arrived than I ever new possible. A same-sex parent family with trans racial kids draws a lot of attention both in the big city […]
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, […]
Mark Overmann, Washington, DC. I grew up in a mostly white suburb north of Cincinnati, Ohio. My grade school was not diverse. I remember one black classmate in my year – we played baseball and basketball together – and one girl of Asian descent, but that’s about it. My high school was more diverse, but […]
Julie Chen Washington, DC
Patrilie Hernandez, Washington, DC. When you look at me, what race do you see? Do you see my dark skinned grandparents, whose African relatives escaped from the Dutch slave trade? Do you see my last name, which reflects my “Latina” heritage, or do you see a brunette “white” girl, after hearing the way I speak […]
Renee Sumby, Washington, DC. Thanks Michele for an amazing keynote at Society for Human Resource Management’s Diversity & Inclusion Conference in Boston last week. People are still talking!
Tyler Brown, Washington, DC. As an African American and Irish American man ppl have referred to me as biracial or mixed for most of my life…both terms uncover misunderstandings about race and what makes a person. One being can’t be two races at the same time, neither can they be mixed like cake batter in […]
Debbie Justice, Washington, UT. I adopted my son in 1987
Lynda Tredway Washington, DC I have about 10,000 words to say about race in America, how we are all affected by it every day — in individual and structural ways. I sometimes remember Cornell West’s words: We are all on the Henrietta Marie (the slave ship sunk off the coast of Florida). We are all […]
Margaret Washington, DC St Patrick’s day in the USA does not reflect my Irish heritage, nor do “Irish” bars.
Krishna Ghodiwala, Washington, DC. I am an Indian American woman who was born in Canada, immigrated to the US at the age of 3, and went on to receive an excellent education that has helped me pursue a successful career in US politics and issue advocacy. My Indian heritage is a big part of my […]
R. Denise Everson, Washington, DC. My grandmother reared me. Her positive expressions of beauty being black shaped my perception and made me proud to be black.
Robin Massengale, Washington, DC. This country was founded on a profound falsity the vestiges of which remain today. That falsity? That whites are superior and blacks inferior, and therefore, slaves, second class, exiles. But look at us!!!! LOOK AT US!!!! LOOK AT WHAT WE HAVE DONE FROM WHENCE WE COME! Not only do we matter, […]
Allie Reese, Washington, DC. I’m a mixed white/Southeast Asian TCK: In the US, I’m some kind of Asian (but in Indonesia I’m ‘bule’, or a white foreigner). My childhood took place in neither of these countries. I don’t seem to have a place here, let alone anywhere.
Cheryl Head Washington, DC President Barack Obama has too much grace or perhaps it is too much political presence to play the race card. So, I’m going to play it for him and raise the ante. From the “you lie” shout during the State of the Union Address to the terrible debacle of legislative gridlock, […]
Bridget, Washington, DC. As a child growing up in the Texas Hill Country I was often told to go back to Mexico. I didn’t speak Spanish, and I’m half white. German, Irish, and Finnish to be exact. My dark, curly, frizzy hair and olive skin won me no favors. Years later I live in DC. […]
Amanda Perez, Washington, DC. This was said to me when I arrived for a job interview and they were meeting for the first time.
S. Michael Evans, Washington, DC. Looking for signs that help us to become more porous human beings.
Tracy Hart, Washington, DC. Yes, I’m from a tobacco-pickin, Southern white trash family, and I mean that in the most endearing way. Some stereotypes my family breaks: we were Southern but poor sharecroppers rather than slave-owners. Other stereotypes my family embraces: using discriminatory language in equal measure across all those who are not white Southerners. […]
Ezra Rosser Washington, DC Biligaana is a Navajo/Dine word that means “white, other, or the enemy.” I grew up in part on the Navajo Nation where my non-Indian parents worked and where my father still lives.
Brenda Batts, Washington, DC. Thank you for making us think!
Tori Collins, Washington, DC. Depression is real and doesn’t care about your race. If you’re African-American and female not only are you expected to be resilient enough to just take the hits and keep going, if you can’t due to emotional or mental illness, you’re considered to have an attitude, you’re a mean or a […]
Ashley Cooper Hair, Washington,DC. Georgetown Day School In the town where I went to high school, the privilege I felt was one of class. There were almost no people of color. Living in Washington, DC, I feel my white privilege constantly. Not only am I not followed around Best Buy, my shopping bags are never […]
Tina C. Ozturk, Washington, DC. You can’t imagine how many times people of all races exclaim my daughters cuteness while questioning my motherhood. I try not to take it personally, but I do find it rude and disrespectful to risk hurting a parent’s feelings just because you are curious. What’s the point?
Adam Conner Washington, DC My sister and I are both adopted from South Korea. Our parents are white. One of my memories from childhood is being at the grocery store and constantly having people ask my mom “Are they yours?” point to my sister and me. I remember one time someone then adding “Are you […]
Stephanie DeRoose, Baltimore, MD. During a service trip to Washington DC, I encountered many nice and talkative people while I walked the streets. I made a comment to another volunteer and her response was, “It’s because they’re black isn’t it?” I had never experienced such rude commentary and didn’t know what to say. My comment […]
Mona Khadr, Washington, DC. “But where are you from, originally?” is a question I get a lot. When I was younger, I answered proudly (“Egyptian!”) because my heritage was something that made me unique from my mostly white-American peers in the suburbs of MD and PA. As I got older and entered high school, college, […]
Edirin Davis, Washington, DC. When a friend at a wedding called me their token black friend as a joke, I said “no, im just your friend, don’t call me the token”.
Faith Dow, Washington, DC. Black women are the benchmark and template for every viable social reform from the past 50 years that others use to advance their own agendas – often at our expense. We deserve respect and reciprocity.
Nathan Kovar, Washington, DC.
Anonymous, Washington, DC.
Jonathan Osmundsen, Washington, DC. I appreciate some of the coverage that’s focused on the Baltimore riots, and issues that influenced an explosion of pent up anger. That frustration is valid, those wrongs must be corrected. Here’s the “but”… I’ve not heard one NPR story that mentioned the burning of a 60-unit building by rioters, which […]
Doug Mitchell, Washington, DC.
Gaby Segalla, Washington, DC. I’ve been adopted…twice. I was raised in a diverse community and I attend Georgetown Day School which is a very accepting school. I’m Vietnamese but I’ve been raised in America by a white family. When I am with my family and a friend who is white to other people I’m the […]
Brittany Carney, Washington, DC. As a person that is three quarters African American and one quarter Japanese, I feel that culturally I’m the other away around.
Kehinde Washington DC Tired of frequently being the only person of color at DC young professional gatherings.
Stephanie Diane Scott-Melnyk, Washington, DC. My father is a light-skinned black man. My mother is an extremely fair white woman. For at least the 40 years I can remember, I have felt required to fight for the recognition of my black heritage. My race card is a statement made to me at least once a […]
Peter Haas, Washington, DC.
Kathy Williams, Washington, DC.
Joe, Washington, DC. Don’t believe the hype. The press baits everyone. Stirring the pot gets more clicks which makes money. The pols benefit from a nation divided too. Realize the vast majority of America is somewhere in the middle of these extremes.
Marlena Reese, Washington, DC.
Erin Powell, Washington, DC. “Are you sure your dad is really black?” “If you imagine her with curly hair, you can tell she’s mixed.” “You look straight white, nothing else.” “Ugly half n*****.” Just a taste of the both disparaging and conflicting comments I’ve received on my YouTube vlog about my personal experience being biracial. […]
Barbara Doc, Washington DC.
Anonymous, Washington, DC. I am White and i hate to hear other White people say they are color blind or that we’re all the “human race.” by saying we are color blind, we are pretending racism is over and make other’s struggles seem illegitimate. To me, this seems like it adds insult to injury.
Lauralee Coady, Washington, DC. Georgetown Day School In the gym, step forward if you are white, back if you are black. A diversity lesson, well intended. Alas, one best friend forward, the other back. In public. One raged for the other who took it in stride.
Kira Henstenburg, Washington, DC. Mixed race Russian-Kazakh. Adopted. I’m not considered “asian enough” to be invited to anime conventions. I’m not comfortable taking a strong stance on race in class discussions because I’m considered white. I’m told I “look a lot like my father.” If I say I was born in Russia, people assume my […]
Moyo Myers, Washington, DC. In that split second when someone (of any race or ethnic origin) sees me (White) standing with my husband (African-American), they decide so much about the quality, depth, and reasons for our relationship. And that shows, in the expression on their face and in the way that they interact with us.
Bassey Etim-Edet Washington, DC No, my name is NOT unique or interesting. You’re world is just very small.
Kwazi Owens Washington, DC I see so much divisiveness among black women due to colorism. I remember growing up and girls automatically not liking me just because of my complexion and me feeling the need to reel in my personality as not seem as though I’m trying to be “better” than others. As an adult […]
David Smith Washington, DC Racism works both ways.
Keosha Varela Washington, DC
Carol Zachary, Washington, D.C.–and Montana. Somehow I kept blocking on three things: A) the six words. . . grandfather, poker, three hangings, an invitation lost for almost 60 years, and my changed perceptions; B ) the fact that I’ve felt I should know exactly what evidence was presented against the men who were hanged; and […]
Connaitre Miller, Washington DC. Howard University
David C. Ruffin Washington, DC I participated in the March on Washington in 1963. I was 18 and home on leave from the Air Force. My most enduring memory of the March was a conversation I had with an older man on the train ride from Pittsburgh to Washington the night before. He told me […]
Janet Jimenez Washington, DC Puertorriqueño(a) is the “proper” term used to address a native islander from Puerto Rico. Do not confuse with Newyoricans, or anyone else born outside the island to Puertorriqueño parents. A real Puertorriqueño(a) knows the words to “La Borinqueña”, speaks Spanish (FLUENTLY), has lived on the island, and cries to the words […]
Tracy Harris Washington, DC
Cynthia McCullough Port Orchard, WA Race studies student. Americans seem to think that being colorblind is a solution when in fact it is a tool to maintain White supremacy. The colorblind mentality is the denial of the history of people of color and supports the institutional racism deeply embedded in American culture as many can […]
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. […]
Reginald A. Taylor North Bethesda, MD
Tanya Hutchins Washington, DC
Gaby Segalla Washington, DC Most people see me and assume I’m Chinese. As an adopted Asian girl most people think “Oh that girl is probably Chinese.” I don’t take offense to that mostly because I have become used to being asked I’m Chinese. I’ve gotten used to people asking me where I am from and […]
Miguel Ferrer Washington, DC
Josh Van De Riet Washington, DC
Kelli Fallon Washington, DC
Josie Villanueva Washington, DC “… pick our melons on my Daddy’s farm.” she said to me, with wide eyes, on one of the first days at Hoosier Girls State. I was one of the very few Latinas in the program, a delegate chosen for my academic excellence and leadership at my high school. I think […]
Diane Tepfer Washington, DC
John White Washington, DC
Sadaf Qureshi Washington, DC Weekends in the United States make worship on the holy days of Christianity and Judaism convenient. The holy day for Muslims is Friday, a regular working day. In some ways, this reflects the way in which the architecture of a society is built around considerations for those in the mainstream or […]
Tawana Littlejohn Washington, DC We were welcomed with mostly open arms, the year was 1967.
Eileen Wasow Washington, DC
Jevon Heyliger Washington, DC My son is 2 years old and I refuse to believe he’ll grow up on a world full of George Zimmermans. I refuse to believe that being a black male will be an albatross around his neck. I have to believe this. His generation has to be better than us.
LSSteph Washington, DC I’m a white woman, ever since I read this article back in college by a black man discussing his revelation that he always instinctively looks down or away when encountering a white women because he didn’t want her to be afraid of him and how he no longer does that, I say […]
Ethan Pickering Washington, DC …a drink. Because he stumbled into the bar hammered. But he was Salvadoran and I am white. Nevermind that I was speaking to him in Spanish (NOT my first language). Nevermind that I was conversing with other Spanish speakers who were drinking–some who were drunk–at the bar. Nevermind that nobody else […]
Peter Gwynn Washington, DC Police and everybody else, despite any amount of training and good intentions, are still just people and will be influenced by patterns around them. I live in northeast Washington, DC. I don’t know how likely it is that I or a member of my family will be beaten, robbed, killed or […]
G. Thompson Washington, DC From the historical raping and pillaging of peaceful countries to still being the #1 profile of serial killers and perpetrators of school shootings, there remains one group worthy of fearing.
Lisa Craig Washington, DC It’s a bit complicated. My father’s family consists of Scottish, Swedish, French, German, English, Mexican, and two different Native American tribes. My mother’s family consists of French-Canadian, English, Inquit (Alaskan Native Americans), and some other ethnicities that I am not aware of (I am not close to them). All of my […]
Tiffanie Luckett Washington, DC I have had men and women approach me on public transit, in the streets of Washington, in restaurants and grocery checkouts, in nearly every domain of my life, and touch my hair without my consent. As a black woman with long curly hair, I feel like somehow people think my hair […]
Karen Hill Washington, DC Those words were spoken by the first boy I ever had a crush on. I was 12 and had asked my best friend to find out if he liked me. She called him and while I listened in on the other line asked what he thought. He hesitated and then with […]
Marianne Scott Washington, DC At least strangers no longer blurt out “no, you aren’t black,” as they did for years. My skin is lighter than most whites and quite freckled. My curls are “good” – large ringlets. Instead, people reveal their own stereotypes when they tell me I don’t talk black. As if there was […]
S. Keita Washington, DC Freedom to choose was never offered.
Diana Veiga Washington, DC This weekend I was at an event with a roomful of black women. There was this one lady who stood out because she looked “white”, but then she opened her mouth and she sounded “black.”. And then her mother stood up and she was black. I looked at my mom and […]