Jan Spooner, Tucson, AZ. As a white American, I don’t have a strong feeling of culture. My African American, Jewish, Native American and Hispanic friends can all talk about a strong cultural background. Their stories reflect their heritage and what it means to belong to their ethnic group. What is my culture and what are [...]
Taylor Bailey, Huntington, IN.
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.
Michael Murton, Bowling Green, KY.
Felix Zavi, Bellingham, WA.
Nicholas Ellis, Somerville, MA. Being referred to as simply “white” strips me of my ethnicity, of which I am very proud. I look Slavic, I am Slavic, why should I be OK with being referred to in any other way? My people were also slaves, in fact the word “Slave” comes from an old French [...]
E.C. Boyd, Canton, OH. I was not born, but I was raised in a predominantly white neighborhood because the school system was better in Perry Township than the low-income, mostly black Canton City Schools. As the only black person on my school’s debate team, I dealt with a lot of people surprised that I could [...]
Holly Wenninger, Malden, MA. I’m white, but for the past six or so years I’ve worked out at n athletic center whose focus is primarily on the POC community — so when I’m there, I’m usually the only white person in the room. A couple unanticipated side effects of this are (a) now when I [...]
Abigail Macy, Zimbabwe. I am a white American living in Zimbabwe. It never ceases to amaze me how much racism I experience, how much prejudice there is against white people. It bothers me that things such as a dance are classified as “white” or “black”. I hear things like, “Oh, you can’t do that, you’re [...]
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.
Kaylin Jorgensen, St.Paul, MN. I chose these words on more of a personal level but, a lot of people do not believe me when I tell them I am Native American. People assume that the color tone of your skin defines you. When in reality you are who you are no matter what your skin [...]
Leslie Cole, Lake Worth, FL.
Julianna, Seattle, WA. I have wished I was biracial everyday so I could better help with the issues. How can I help now?
Anonymous, USA. I’ve witnessed several other whites that have had similar experiences of being beaten or bullied by blacks, throughout my life. I’ve witnessed much more racism towards whites than the other way around. Some people say it’s racist to be afraid of blacks. Where I grew up, it’s just common sense. This was not [...]
Francis Skony, Chicago, IL. Being an almost 40 year old man from Chicago, I’ve always grown up with a melting pot of friends, acquaintances, co-workers. I do not judge anyone by their race – I will have an opinion based on how some present themselves to the world. If you have no respect and no [...]
Jennifer F Taylor, Arcata, CA. Excellent work with enjoyable discussions on NPR…. Thank you Michele!
Janice Mendoza, East Lansing, MI. I moved to Michigan from Southern California in middle school. I was very shocked to find out that there were not many Latinos in my new area. I felt very out of place. I am current student at Michigan State. I loved the idea of diversity when I got accepted [...]
Holly Richmond, East Lansing, MI. I uttered this statement of shame at 12. My Dad said “sorry,nothing you can do about it now so live with it”. My Mom said “behave so you give whitey a good name”. I’ve been trying ever since but I still don’t want to be white!!!!!!!
Olivia Brenner, Haslett, MI.
Antoinette Malveaux, Seattle, WA.
Marlee Sherrod, Canton, MI.
R. Lutz, MI. We will reach the point of true equality in this country when, rather than saying “I’m black” and “I’m white”, we recognize that we are all flawed people who make mistakes. This doesn’t mean we can’t recognize and celebrate our differences; we just need to focus on the fact that we are [...]
Brody Cameron Virginia Beach, VA
Jonscott Williams, Gilbert, AZ. This is the question either asked, or thought but unasked, by people both Black and White. This is connected to the assumption that one of my parents is White … neither is, though an early ancestor was. Some Black people have questioned whether I was “Black enough” … some Whites have [...]
Joan Evans, Lawrencevillve, GA. And I am 100% white. But (far too many of) my students associate “white” with oppression and bigotry. When they tell me I’m not white, they are trying to tell me I’m not a racist. Telling me I’m not white is a compliment. Pretty damning, huh?
Jay Lassiter, Cherry Hill, NJ. Alternative Race Card: SICKLE CELL TRAIT? BUT….I’M WHITE! (I’m from the south…. you do the math.)
Erin, St. Louis, MO. In my world today I associate power with people who are white. All my teachers and school leaders, white. My parents, white. The police in my area, white. All forms of power and authority in my life are white and this is how its been since I was little. Fear those [...]
Karin Callahan Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation
Astrid afKlinteberg Gloucester, MA As a criminal defense attorney I am reminded constantly that I am privileged because I am white. I’ve represented many minority clients who where initially pulled over because the cop ran a ‘routine’ plate check on the cars they were driving, or in which they were passengers. There have been several [...]
Eddie Savage Gilberetville, IA There are bad people in the world, black, white, brown. the color of your skin does not matter. I know I am judged being white and a cop. Racism no matter what anyone says is HORRIBLE and needs to end, but so does the hate children are taught from a young [...]
Brett Maisel Nacogdoches, TX As a young, naive police officer I mistakenly thought most people would appreciate my sincere desire to help and protect the citizens of my community. I was shocked to find out that some people (who didn’t even know my name, background or what was in my heart) hated the very sight [...]
M. Landrum Atlanta, GA I grew up poor in a mixed neighborhood in south Atlanta. My two best friends were white and black, and for the most part we all got along. One day my white friend was angry and called my black friend a n*****, and even though I’d never heard the word I [...]
Miles SC Out privilege is a curse when it comes to wanting to help voice the problems with race.
Chris Clarke Canada Nordic Pride World Wide! For a Millenia we’ve slept! Now we rise to honour the Gods!
Lee Stringer Mamaroneck, NY I was born into a place and era in which the aspiration was to assimilate. Of course, once I got a good handle on doing this, it was The Sixties and everything changed. The new order of things was to wear your ethnicity on your sleeve. So there I was, Sidney [...]
Elizabeth Las Vegas, NV Because I have white skin, people automatically strip me of any heritage I have. Please don’t mistake “white” as the absence of culture. My family have lived through many wars, prejudices, struggles, and also victories.
Alyssa Yates Orlando, FL I was going to say something about how it pisses me off that some people assume that my life has been easy just because I’m white (in some 6 word format), but then I thought about how bigoted I am against rich people. I’m not even a hateful person, and it’s [...]
Leah Grand Rapids, MI
Georgia Calhoun Kingwood, TX
Kurt Huber Monroe, CT My favorite quote on family is from Desmond Tutu. “You don’t choose your family. You are Gods gift to them, as they are to you.”
Rachel Drummond Highlands Ranch, CO Jasmine stands apart. She doesn’t want to. Like may people of color who also have albinism, she is often not accepted or believed to be Chinese. Very few people who meet her haven’t had some strong reaction — new age folks have told me she’s New Age magical, children tell [...]
Jennifer Kerkow Chaska, MN I’m mostly Scottish and German but Im around 1/4 Indian. I feel like I cant fully embrace it and claim it because it isnt the majority of my heritage, although its a part of me that I love. When my great grandparents came to America (from Poland) they didn’t take the [...]
John Koch Gresham, OR
Alec Marchant Ashland, OR As a white male who finds much inspiration, pleasure and interest in cultures other than my own, I sometimes worry if I muddy the lines between appreciation and appropriation. Through my studying and relationships with these other cultures, I know I have been guilty of appropriation on at least one occasion. [...]
Star Houston, TX I am a 15 year old middle class white girl. I lTexasove everybody. Why do black/mexican/etc. people I have never meet bully and a avoid me? I go to a school where my brother and I are the only white kids, and he is my only friend. Racism is real and its [...]
Daniel A. Rodriguez Philadelphia, PA Hello, my name is Daniel A. Rodriguez and I am 15 years old. I am of Mexican and White descent. My parents came from Mexico shortly before I was born here, in the United States. My father is a construction worker and my mother is a house cleaner, which many [...]
Sadie Petersen Philadelphia, PA As a child, the streets of west Philadelphia were my playground. I loved going to school in the area and wouldn’t change a thing about how I was raised and how race was never even noted in my small family of four, which eventually grew to a family of 7. However, [...]
Serifa Tursunovic Des Moines, IA
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.
Josh Leake Cullowhee, NC It’s very aggravating to be judged because Im white. I come from a very rural area with a poor background. I have killed myself to support myself and be able to put myself through college.
Shara Standefer Montoya NM Being one of the few non-latino’s in both my family and community this is the response I always get when something like this comes up in the conversation is, “oh, I didn’t mean you. I forgot you were white!”
Haley B Grand Rapids, MI My parents are adopted. I am a mutt. Both of my parents are darker complected with strong features that I wish I would have inherited as I am pale, blonde and blue eyed; so I get labeled “white.” When I look at the world around me, I see the variety [...]
Angelo Saxon Grand Rapids, MI People often mistake me for white because of my light skin. I identify, however, as an Arab, due to my Lebanese ancestry, of which I hold near and dear to my heart. The reclassification of Arabs as “white” by the government in the early 1900’s means that I have to [...]
Harry Dapron I was a white, nerdy, shy, socially invisible teenager in senior high school. She was a beautiful, black classmate with a lovely, engaging smile that I would see when she turned around in her seat in Latin class to talk to me! I liked her and she seemed to care about and maybe [...]
Yasmin Gill Baltimore, MD My mother is white, American, and my father is Pakistani. Where ever I go, and whomever I am with, I rarely find someone who is at home with *all* of me. I am American, undeniably so, but there are peices of me that are also uniquely Pakistani. Americans see or experience [...]
Linda Levittown, NY My three children are a mix of English/Irish and Puerto Rican and when you line them up in a row, you can see one mirrors me, the second mirors my husband and our third is a pretty even split down the middle and can “fit” either side of our mixed family. A [...]
Anonymous Portland, OR
Jann Patterson Hayden, ID The major bad things that have happened to me were because of black people. I was mugged by a group of black teens and my son had a gun held to his head at work by a pair of black thieves. I am afraid of black people that I don’t know [...]
TR Kelley Swisshome, OR “White trash” is a hip cultural joke. “N*****” is “hate speech”. Why?
Slaton Anthony Mount Vernon, IA My last ancestor came to America before 1800 all from England, France and Germany. My ancestors fought and died in almost every American war, I was raised in the Cookson Hills of rural Oklahoma and believed that I was part of the American white culture. While attending college in Oklahoma, [...]
Janeen Irving San Leandro, CA For the first 12 years of my life I was clueless to my own color (or lack thereof) growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the next 20 years I tried to prove I was black. To no avail. Now I’ve come to the conclusion I’m an amazing [...]
Danny A Richardson Phoenix, AZ
Sarah Harmonay CT
Aris Foucault Etheridge Leverett, MA I think it’s possible that the poor urban white perspective may be a helpful one in thinking about race as it relates to poverty. What are the similarities between the poor urban white experience and the poor urban black experience? What are the differences, and how do these differences effect [...]
Dominick Woodridge, IL
Adriana Pedroza Both of my parents were born and raised in Mexico. Looking at my family pictures, I’m the odd one out. As a child, I was blonde, and my eyes have always been on the lighter side. My skin is not dark. I don’t have my mom’s dark hair or my dad’s dark eyes [...]
Nick Timmins Chicago, IL
Annaleisle Gingher Peachtree City, GA Understanding my ethnicity has explained so much and helped me understand who I am. I may be classified in a box as “white” but I am a second generation Sicilian with dark skin and dark hair. I’ve always identified with other races. Only to understand we are all the same [...]
Catherine Marden El Cerrito, CA My mother is from El Salvador. My father is from Kentucky. I grew up in rural Oregon. I didn’t know I was half-hispanic until I realized checking the hispanic box on college applications might help me get accepted. To this day I struggle with my Salvadoran ancestry. I am white. [...]
David Smith Washington, DC Racism works both ways.
Tom Dierolf Brevard, NC If you saw a photo of me among asian, black and latino faces, and asked to pick the immigrants to the U.S., you would probably not pick me. But I immigrated from Germany in 1960, and I know that all of the others in the photo could have had family living [...]
Ellison Weist Portland, OR I grew up in the Deep South, the white child of parents who championed Civil Rights in the 1960s. Yet it’s this story from my elderly Portland, OR neighbor that speaks volumes to me about race and forgiveness.
Leslie Brooklyn, NY From the southwest. Speak English and Spanish.
Steven Columbus, OH Working a parking booth. Black woman pulled up. Sign clearly posted with the rates for parking. Open the gate. That’s 2 bucks to park here. I bet you don’t charge white people. The sign is for everyone Mam. I’m interested in green not the color of your skin.
Susan Siegel New York City, NY Brooklyn l am living on the backs of those that struggled and fought so that I can live my life outloud.
P Morehead City, NC I am a white female and I am not racist at all. But sometimes I find myself with thoughts or fears that feel a little racist. Where is this coming from? I don’t want to have those thoughts or fears about other people because of their race. That is wrong.
Ilana New York, NY I grew up in Israel to a father born in Germany and a mother born in the United States. Yet every time I tick the “white” box I feel uncomfortable. The culture I grew up in was considered “white” but the Middle East is ethnically diverse. Everyone was a “mixed breed” [...]
Ashley Gremler Ft. Meade, MD I’m White, well mostly. I am a quarter Vietnamese, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at me. I’m dating a Black man. I love him for who he is, not for the color of his skin. But I must admit, I love the way our hands look [...]
Sid Clearfield, UT
Sonny Kniep Davis, CA
Mattie West Sacramento, CA
Anonymous Mobile, AL I was born and raised Caucasian, though of course, like most Caucasians, I was referred to and referred to myself as “white.” But like so many, I found myself attracted to African American culture, and, generally, more accepted by African Americans. As I’ve grown, becoming an instructor of English and therefore, an [...]
Jackie Loya-Torres Kansas City, MO As a small child in the 1970s, I remember having to take some sort of standardized test in school. You know…the ones where you need a #2 pencil to fill in the ovals? On the cover page, in addition to listing my name, gender and age, I was asked to [...]
Aminah Columbia, SC Being a light-skinned African-American has afforded me the ability to kind of live on multiple sides of the race coin in terms of my superficial assets. Many people assume that I’m mixed; I’m not. Many people assume that I lucky because, since I’m fully black, I have good hair. Man, if one [...]
Jen Rogers Fresno, CA I am so sick of people thinking that I owe them or their race something. My ancestors made it on their own without a handout why do you need one.
Mary Ann Paris Philadelphia, PA Except for my brother, there were never any children who looked like me. I am black and white, more specifically black, jewish, german, irish, italian and polish and my brother and I have European features. We grew up in a segregated part of Philadelphia among black children. They never wanted [...]
Molly Kohler Canfield, OH
Renee Lewin Asutin, TX My mother is Mexican-American from the Rio Grande Valley, my father is white from Orange, NJ. I was raised in a home where English was primarily spoken, but Spanish was still commonly heard. As I was growing up I viewed myself primarily as Mexican. I spent most of my time with [...]
Ed Morganroth, Jr. Plover, WI I have wondered since Mr. Obama broke onto the national scene why both he and the media have always characterized him racially as black and not as biracial or white. Why did he decide to pick one race – he is indisputably half black and half white? I would think [...]
Amy Broadie Minot, ND I frequently overhear things said by people who don’t realize that I am half black and half white. On several occasions, I have received numerous apologies from coworkers or friends for saying something stereotypical/rude/racist after they learned about my background. I always reply by saying, “You can’t see what I hear.” [...]
Karen Bengtson St. Cloud, MN
Gregory Kennedy New Orleans, LA
Sabrina Vargas Albuquerque, NM Being Spanish I have light skin. Many people in Spain have blue eyes, green eyes, red hair. Just because I have red hair, and lighter skin than most Hispanics doesn’t mean I’m white.
Peggy Magnusson San Pedro, CA In exchange for the stress of freeway traffic, I have begun taking the bus to and from work. For most of my life I have lived in largely white, upper middle class communities. Now I sit shoulder-to-shoulder with people of color. Sometimes I am uncomfortable.
Kristine Ratanaphruks Durham, NC I look ethnically ambiguous and, at times, I pass for white. I grew up watching white men call my father “boy” — I’ve heard countless racist remarks made by people who don’t realize my heritage — I’ve heard the question ” What are you? ” too many times to count and [...]
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
A. C. D. USA I’m white, have Asperger’s Syndrome and attend college. Not long ago I had a black student corner me in the hallway outside the financial aid office. He got close to my face and spoke in angry tones, asking why I got scholarships for having a disability. He couldn’t understand why a [...]
Justice Littlejohn Cherokee, NC Being Cherokee and living on a reservation you don’t grow up white, even if you are only half cherokee and half white. Tourists that come to the reservation always claim they are part cherokee. They are so proud of it. I don’t understand why they kinda get offended when I say [...]