Mountaineers-Crenchaw

Crenchaw climbs Denali realizes King’s dream

James Edward Mills, Madison, WI. Fifty years ago this summer in 1964 Charles Madison Crenchaw became the first African-American to climb to the summit of Mount McKinley, the tallest peak in North America. Also known as Denali this peak represents the highest physical point that anyone can achieve in this country. And as metaphor of […]

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We’re black We love the outdoors

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 […]

Nice small town has race issues.

Sara Przybylski Stevens Point, WI People think this is a great place to live, work, and raise kids… and it is. Just under the surface, though, there’s a little more going on. I grew up here. I saw my first African American person at the grocery store at the age of four-ish and loudly complimented […]

Working hard as a white woman

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.

I (don’t) fit. Don’t look closely.

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?

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 […]

OSMONDS BETTER THAN JACKSON 5, WHY?

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 […]

Everyone’s too afraid to discuss race

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 […]

“Bias Incident Report” training — sadly, welcome

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 […]

“What are you? Let me guess.”

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 […]

White mom, colorful kids, heart ripped.

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 […]

Ancestral sins, from which I’ve benefited

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” […]

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

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 […]