I’m afraid of most black men.

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Maureen C. Kenosha, WI I work in a library with a lot of African American patrons, and I tense up when black men come in, especially if there is a group of them together. I saw my father work harmoniously with his African American colleagues, have had many black friends, and still feel anxious when [...]

Why is Obama black, not white?

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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 [...]

Working hard as a white woman

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Lindsey Halsey River Falls, WI Sometimes I feel that racism is taken to such extremes that we forget how much everyone struggles and is judged through life. I’m a young, white, middle-class college student who struggles with school, an income, and creating a future. We all struggle throughout life, racism isn’t completely to blame.

Well, you weren’t a slave so…

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Brendon Milwaukee, WI I’ve heard this used in conversations and discussions around race and it is embarrassing. It completely discounts the persons position as if to say “you’re free now or I never owned a slave, why are you complaining?”.

I saw the hate, it hurt

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Christine Marriott River Falls, WI I lived in the south, born in 1956. I saw awful things as a little white girl from a racist dysfunctional family. They taught me how not to be. Maybe it was because they treated me like they treated black people. My school was segregated early. I got in so [...]

Less about me, more about race.

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Kristen Milwaukee, WI As a white, middle-class lesbian, I often focus conversations regarding diversity around how I am a part of the subordinate identity. I talk about the struggles that I have had and how I have worked to be proud of my identity. But, because of that, race is largely missing from my discussions [...]

I (don’t) fit. Don’t look closely.

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Emery Boyle-Scott Milwaukee, WI I want to belong in a group, and it’s nice to belong until someone looks closely. My whiteness is always sidelined when people learn about my lesbian moms. Don’t look closely and I have all the privilege. But, then it disappears and I’m not allowed, I’m questioned on everything. There’s no [...]

Do I get to throw pineapples?

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Gina Collignon Madison, WI This came to me in exasperation after the last person called me “exotic.” “What,” I thought, “like a pineapple?” I’m mixed white and Filipina from San Francisco, living in the midwest. I never had to think much about race growing up–in my family and group of friends I was considered white [...]

We’re black We love the outdoors

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James Edward Mills Madison, WI On June 24,2013 Adina Scott made a satellite phone dispatch from 17,200 feet on Mount McKinley in Denali National Park. As part of the climbing team Expedition Denali, she and the 18 others had already spent a total of 16 days on the mountain and nearly a week camped at [...]

My ancestor might have owned yours.

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Kathy Miner Madison, WI My father’s mother’s family proudly claims an ancestor who signed the Declaration of Independence. At some point, as an adult, I realized that since he was from Virginia, he must have owned slaves. I have since confirmed that fact. I try not to let it interfere in my friendships with black [...]

He Called Her: Saddle Tan Female

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Lenore J. Domers Appleton, WI I read this “name” in a book entitled Colonel Carter’s Christmas, by F. Hopkinson Smith, published in 1903. It is disturbing to me for the lack of respect for the dignity of a human person.

Mixed Family all about love, always

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Jeffery Sweet Kenosha, WI I am white and my wife is black. We have a son who is the most beautiful person in this world. I hope he grows up to understand that race isn’t an issue, just a fact of life and a reason to try harder to show people that look, I am [...]

OSMONDS BETTER THAN JACKSON 5, WHY?

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Juleah Richards Chippewa Falls, WI BORN IN 1960; ST.PAUL MINN. LIVED IN WONDERFULLY MIXED NEIGHBORHOODS IN SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS UNTIL I WAS 10YRS OLD. MY MOM MARRIED A FARMER FROM RED RIVER VALLEY. WE MOVED TO SPOT 10 MILES FROM NORTH DAKOTA AND 90MI FROM CANADA. THERE WERE ONLY SCANDINAVIANS AND FRENCH FOLKS. NONE OF MY [...]

They didn’t call my great-grandparents white.

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Eitan Greenholtz Madison, WI I am an Ashkenazi Jew; my great-grandparents came to the US from the Russian Empire, where they, as Jews, were not considered white, even though their skin was the same color as the tsar’s. I have inherited their skin color and their ethnicity (if not their religion)

When Color Becomes Excuse for Character

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Scott Gomer Madison, WI No matter which color our skin, certain perceptions seep into our common consciousness. Why do some people live up (or down) to their stereotypes? How can we all celebrate our differences in positive ways?

Everyone’s too afraid to discuss race

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John Swissler Jr. Madison, WI It is usually said that the two topics you never raise in polite conversation are religion and politics. But my experience is that most people can have a far more useful conversation about either of those than they can about issues surrounding race. Gunnar Myrdal is still right: it remains [...]

Why try, if won’t go far?

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Liliana Loera Madison, WI Being an undocumented Latina for about 17 years many “friends”, teachers and other people have told me why and I even trying hard if no colleges would accept me because I’m not from here or even get a job. But now I’m a senior; going to graduate this Friday and this [...]

“Bias Incident Report” training — sadly, welcome

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Carol Pope Madison, WI The UW-Madison has set up a way for students, staff and community members who see, hear, witness or are victims of bias to report the experience to UW Administration, so it can collect and investigate these occurrences. It is a good step, it will gather useful information and hopefully be a [...]

Black, not White, not Biracial!

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Pamela Marshall Milwaukee, WI Life long experiences in dealing with racial ignorance is taking its toll. Being light enough that whites assume you are one of them has allowed me to hear racist comments that would have not been spoken, had they known they were in the presence of a black woman. Then my struggle [...]

Why do I cross the street?

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Genevieve Foskett Deerfield, WI Liberal, well-educated 48 year old female, deeply embarrassed by knee-jerk reaction to walking along a street alone and seeing a group of African-American or Hispanic people.

I have no culture I’m white

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Erin Miller New Berlin, WI No one has ever asked what country I’m from. It’s assumed I belong in the United States. Although I have various European countries in my background, Germany, Sweden, Norway, I have never had to be aware of them anymore than I have had to be aware of the air I [...]

“What are you? Let me guess.”

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Reem Totonchi Madison, WI The guesses are almost never correct, unless they come from a fellow Middle-Easterner. “Where are you from?” they ask, eyes smiling and already knowing. “I’m half-Iraqi and half-Irish,” I say with a smile back. I never mind the question when it’s like this; less accusatory and exotifying than usual. In a [...]

Black out side. Mixed in Side.

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Eddy Bowen Madison, WI I chose these words because It’s my cultural anthropology. most people when they “see” me they just see a normal black guy but little do they know I’m Puerto Rican and Native American. I don’t think its right to judge me based off of how I look on the outside that’s [...]

Tennerican Asian passes on only Asian

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Rosita Gonzalez Madison, WI I am not who I seem. Roads converged to make me a person of three races, of which only one sticks. My children only identify with the one that sticks. But I cannot tell them much about that race that defines them. I blog about it to examine and heal both [...]

White mom, colorful kids, heart ripped.

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Tanya Haney Middleton, WI I am a white mother and school employee; my kids are white, Asian and I have been a foster parent to an African-American child. I have been struggling and driven to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem of institutional racism, but I struggle daily. People look [...]

Will there be seven more generations?

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Dawn Walschinski Green Bay, WI I am a citizen of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. As part of the Iroquois Confederacy, one of our philosophies is to plan seven generations ahead. Right now we are facing a potential enrollment crisis where we won’t have Oneidas with at least 1/4 blood quantum to qualify [...]

Determined by our genetics or ourselves?

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Jane Hortelano Pewaukee, WI This is a question that first occurred to me years ago when I met a friend’s future husband and sister-in-law. The children of a white mother and African-American father, it seemed to me that these sibling differed in their self-perception: I believe that he saw himself as mixed race, while she [...]

Ancestral sins, from which I’ve benefited

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David Young Madison, WI So far as I know, my ancestors all came from Europe too late to have owned slaves. But I’ve benefited in countless ways from being white: better schools, safer neighborhoods, more opportunities, more trust from strangers, larger inheritance because my parents had those opportunities…. So saying, “Let’s all be color-blind now” [...]

Race, always an issue. Really? Really.

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Clyde Taylor Milwaukee, WI I’m 56. When I was a teen, I thought that by now (the 21st century) race would be far less an issue in American life than it was when rioting broke out just a mile from my home in the summer of 1967. Too bad, I was wrong. From “rag head” [...]

Willing to LISTEN, not only hear.

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Rochelle Fritsch WI The country’s history and current tension around race and ethnicity create a pull in which some of us need to talk about it, while others of us are so afraid, ashamed and uncomfortable that we only HEAR the concerns of others rather than listening, reflecting and perhaps even learning from them. Some [...]

Dr. King’s photo behind (a) folding door.

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Judy Seymour Madison, WI I grew up upper class white outside New Haven, CT.  ‘Bill’ and ‘JB’ cleaned my parents’ house for ‘Mrs. Seymour’, my mother.  My mother hung a calendar photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the wall behind a folding door between our kitchen and family room that was only closed/unfolded [...]