Where Are You From? No Answers.

Charley Sullivan, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan It was 1976. I was 12, and just moved back to the DC suburbs from growing up in Southeast Asia and West Africa. The first question to me in 7th grade English class was “Did you see Tarzan?” This is how much my new […]

Don’t glance at coins on sidewalks.

Jill Epstein Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan At a family gathering years ago, a relative of mine inspired me. He told me that each time he came across a penny on the sidewalk that was heads-down, he would flip it over to bring the next pedestrian good luck. The next week […]

Polo, Khakis, Sperry’s, still a N*****!

Chaddirck G Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan No matter how I dress, what I do, or say I am viewed this way on U of M’s campus, in the state of Michigan and outside of it. No matter what I do to lesson the fear of me being a Black and […]

The house I did not build

Adam Paberzs, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Here are some other 6-word essays that you may use under my name (I know that’s probably breaking the rules – just wanted to share if nothing else). Whiteness. Welcome to the real world. Not who I thought I was. Fear. Guilt. Shame. Courage. […]

Acceptance, like art, comes in all colors.

Harold Rice, Ann Arbor, MI. On Location: University of Michigan The University of Michigan has the 8th most international students in the country, which causes all of it’s students to be both accepting and interactive with cultures far different from their own. I came to the university from a town that was 99% white, and […]

Really? Are both your parents Indian?

Shevon Desai Ann Arbor, MI My parents emigrated from India to the US over 50 years ago. In terms of ethnicity, I think of myself as South Asian – but in terms of race, we are officially Caucasian (my family are Parsis – Indian Zoroastrians whose ancestors originally came from Iran). Race and ethnicity for […]

We joke, but it’s not funny.

Pauline Devlin Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan This is in reference to my friends and I. I do not believe any of us would consider ourselves racist, so I feel bad when I hear people casually perpetuating stereotypes.

Army-wide, we were all green.

Christine Cook, Wayne State, Ann Arbour, MI When I was in the Army, diversity was important. So was looking past color differences. At the beginning of basic training, the drill sergeant insisted we were all “green”–meaning the color of our uniform was more important than the color of our skin.

Drowning in generalizations; floating on truth

Alexis Ford Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan As an African American, I have several generalizations placed upon me. Some people just assume who I am. I am rarely asked. While a lot of these assumptions hurt, I know the truth. I know only my own actions and words define me. I […]

I’m never asked about hot sauce.

Christine R. Ann Arbor, MI Before I started dating my “black” boyfriend, I really didn’t think about race very much or the privilege I inherited with my “white” skin. There have been times that people have made rude comments or asked, what I would consider, overtly racist questions upon learning of our interracial relationship. However, […]

At the hospice, everyone is blue

Debbie Taylor, Ann Arbor, MI. My mother passed away on December 14, 2012 of liver cancer at the age of 80 and she spent her last afternoon and night in Ann Arbor Hospice. The staff was loving, kind and professional. One nurse in particular examined my mother with such tenderness and care that I was […]

We are treated how we look.

Kimberly Dorsey, Detroit, MI. I am bi-racial and have been raised in a white family inside Detroit. I have suffered many racially motivated injustices in my travels and it makes me angry when people pretend race doesn’t matter. It matters when you are the one being discriminated against.

My natural hair isn’t a statement.

Michelle Mabson, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I wear my hair the way it grows out of my head…no chemical enhancements. BUT for some reason…a reason I suppose I know all too well, the act of wearing my ‘natural’ hair is seen as larger than life. Maybe it’s the fact that […]

Sir, please take your “hat” off

Jasneet Kaur Palaha, Ann Arbor, MI. University of Michigan. Sikhism, a monotheistic religion from Northern India believes the idea of simplicity, therefore requiring to never cut your hair, along with other requests. Men usually tie their hair neatly in a turban, whereas girls commonly let it down. Wherever we were, my father would be frisked […]

They were Asian and left 20%!

Caitlyn Rize, Ann Arbor, MI. As a waitress on a college campus, the people I work with constantly stereotype their tables before even walking up to them. Oftentimes the other servers will “give their table away” — meaning they don’t want to serve them — to us other servers who give everyone the chance to […]

No, I’m “really” from New York.

Kate Lee van Loveren, Ann Arbor, MI. I was born in New York, grew up in New York, and live in New York (when I’m not at school). I’m of half Chinese and half Dutch descent, but for some people that registers into me not being American for some reason. Just by looking at me, […]

New experiences: better late than never.

Bryce Beckwith Ann Arbor, MI I attended a catholic, all-girls high school in Sacramento, California. Race and diversity were things I had only experienced through informative assemblies. However; the University of Michigan has made those assemblies a daily experience.

Being biracial makes me an edgewalker.

Anonymous Ann Arbor, MI The concept of being an “edgewalker” is from Nina Boyd Krebs–it means you can move between cultural traditions and cultural communities with some level of ease, comfort and enjoyment. Being raised in a Black/White family, we talked about and lived race/ethnicity/socio-economics/etc. daily. I know now that this is a blessing as […]

We are lazy, we shouldn’t be.

Gil, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I believe that discrimination and racist attitudes derives from human nature to be lazy. Because we humans are so lazy, we do not spend the effort and time to learn about the individual but instead, discriminate people by their skin color. This attitude is wrong, […]

This one a slaveowner in Barbados

Margaret Condon Taylor Ann Arbor, MI My mother and her sister visited me decades ago when they were researching their ancestry. My mother orally provided me with one sentence summaries of some of these ancestors. Sentences included this one scalped by Indians (in Herkimer County, NY), and this one — an epileptic– crushed to death […]

I avoid people that are different.

Jill Noeh Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project-The University of Michigan Explanation: I’ve found that throughout my life, I have avoided people who look and act differently than me. I grew up in a white neighborhood that was sheltered from people who were different. At first it wasn’t me purposefully trying to avoid these people, […]

Washtenaw students use The Race Card Project to confront bullying

Powerful words from a high school student—shared during the second annual Youth Diversity Forum with a room full of Washtenaw County high schoolers—helped set the tone for a day-long discussion Friday at Eastern Michigan University.

About 200 students and teachers from every public school district in Washtenaw County attended the forum, held at EMU’s College of Business in downtown Ypsilanti.

High school students participate in a social identity exercise at the second annual Youth Diversity Forum at Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business in Ypsilanti.

Nation built on racial discrimination, exclusion

Georgia Ann Arbor, MI Think about it. The building of this country was facilitated by making it ok to destroy or enslave someone who was not white to get what they had or could provide to advance this country. Genocide was committed on a people to get the land. Enslavement was committed to get free […]

You mean to say Native American

Swapnil Deopurkar Seattle, WA I moved from India to Ann Arbor, Michigan; age 26, male, long hair, parted down the middle and with a pony tail. My first day at the bus stop, started a conversation with an African American undergrad. The conversation abruptly halted with me saying “I am Indian..” and he interrupting “..you […]

Painful regret about an assumption made.

Anonymous Ann Arbor, MI The year was 1997. I was part of a small committee selecting MBAs for highly sought-after internships in China. I wasn’t prepared to be tested on my passionate belief that skin color doesn’t matter. But I am white. And when another white colleague said, “this candidate is African American, he might […]

Afropean-American, I made it up.

Laura Kupe Ann Arbor, MI My parents are originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, I was born in Germany, raised in Luxembourg and Metro-Detroit. I am a German-speaking black American, and people would never make that assumption about me.

My grandparents met in the KKK

Alisa Rose Ann Arbor, MI I didn’t know that until recently. My aunt found my grandfather’s robes in a trunk when he died. My grandmother was a little embarrassed. The times have changed in my home town–the KKK is not active anymore that I know of. But the town is still less than 2% African […]

I am one of ‘those people’

Mary Donaldson Ann Arbor, MI When said out loud, ‘those people’ must be said like something of nasty flavor is on the speaker’s tongue. When I hear people say ‘those people’, I know they are referring to a nameless-faceless group, but have sooo many criticisms they have identified, no less, in vivid detail.

Didn’t know I was so prejudice

Christy Moeder Ann Arbor, MI While taking a college course, we were challenged to learn about other ethnicities. As well, we were asked to reflect upon ourselves in our views of other cultures and whether we are diverse or not. During this course, I realized I was not a diverse person at all. I have […]

In the space, I mark human!

Elizabeth James Ann Arbor, MI Being of mixed ancestry and believing in only one race, human, it’s very difficult to be yourself in a country where determining “who” you are is so closely connected to your ethnicity. I am Elizabeth and that should be enough.

Owning my Whiteness, Becoming an Ally

Becky Christensen Ann Arbor, MI Despite growing up in a somewhat racially diverse area in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had never thought about the privileges I had based on being White until I read Peggy McIntosh’s “White: Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” in graduate school. Since then, I’ve been actively exploring and acknowledging […]

My heart is blinded by experience

Ava Dupre Ann Arbor, MI Though I am real with everyone I meet regardless of appearance or origin, my experiences from growing up in a multiracial home often misguides my heart. I identify as a Mexican, White and Black Woman. When I see a white man, I see the absent father of my mother and […]

Dear Grandma, Brown is Beautiful too.

Aliza Hirani Ann Arbor, MI My grandparents often travel from Pakistan to come visit my family once or twice a year. Growing up, my grandma would bring me tubes of “Fair & Lovely” lotion. It is a lotion that apparently bleaches your skin to make it “whiter”. It felt like brown beauty wasn’t good enough. […]

Acknowledging my privilege in American society.

Danielle Morency Ann Arbor, MI I grew up in an upper-middle class suburban town composed of 93.4 percent white people. You could say that I had limited exposure to people of other races. While being a white person in society did provide me with certain advantages throughout my life, these were not things I was […]

Used to define, meant to describe.

Jennifer Cantrick Ann Arbor, MI While in reality race is one aspect of thousands that makes a person who they are, in America more often than not race is used as a defining characteristic rather than a descriptive one. The disproportionality in the way people see race over every other factor besides gender as a […]

Style, because appearances are judged first

Karen Doh Ann Arbor, MI Human beings judge, no matter what race or ethnicity. But besides race, people also judge appearances in style, posture, and talk. Rather than fighting against the unchangeable judgment of race, working with it can help ease up stereotypes and distinctions. Sadly, people never get to know another because their style […]

I can do anything I want.

Nicholas Lepore Ann Arbor, MI Dear Race Card Project, My six words are, “I can do anything I want.” Essentially, as a white, middle-class male, society has provided me with certain privileges and advantages that are unavailable to those of different races.

Racism does not exist without you.

Stacey Van Buskirk Ann Arbor, MI If you choose to treat everyone equal, racism would not exist in your world. The only person you can control is yourself. You can control how you react and how you act in terms of racism. Treat everyone equal and ignore people who treat you less than that. One […]

Colorblind? How can you believe that?

Alec Malstrom Ann Arbor, MI I chose these words based on an interaction I had with a close friend who believed social justice work isn’t necessary anymore because racism doesn’t exist in our society. I was so taken aback that I didn’t even know how to respond to him. As I come to think about […]

Daily reminder we aren’t the same.

Carlos Dume Ann Arbor, MI I chose these six words because even though there is not much difference concerning race biologically, there is socially. Growing up I learned that the color of our skin and our cultural background impact the type of treatment we get. Race serves as a constant reminder that no matter how […]

I am not like the rest

Rabia Syed Ann Arbor, MI These six words represent how I feel about myself when people make assumptions as to the kind of person that I am. Being brown and Muslim makes me easy to lump with a large number of people, whom I do not necessarily see myself being similar to. When people see […]

We are more similar than different.

Brigid Greska Ann Arbor, MI An interesting point has been brought up in multiple classes I have taken this year: between “races” there are more similarities than within each “race”. This further proves that race does not actually exist and that it should no longer be a factor. It is perplexing to me how it […]

Not the same, also not different

Bryan Ren Ann Arbor, MI Being an Asian American in the United States has created a dilemma. I find it hard to relate to being strictly American, but I also discover difficulties while trying to hold on to my Chinese roots. As a result of my race in this country, I feel a disconnection between […]

Hi, so what ethnicity are you?

Audrey Niemchick Ann Arbor, MI I actually laughed when the girl that I was about to play a tennis match against asked me that during our warm up. Casual conversation. The first thing she said to me. And let’s not forget the other 306 people who have asked me and tried to guess. “You look […]

Race is fear of the unknown

Marissa Allegra ’16 Ann Arbor, MI The human race is known throughout history to have segregated, alienated, and judged others on the basis of being different. Whether this deals with religion, country of origin, cultural choices, or most significantly, one’s race, we rely on pre-conceived notions of a person based on the superficial. We wish […]

Injustice exists today; I don’t wait.

Savannah Ann Arbor, MI As a white person, I can’t wait until tomorrow to become a better ally or to fight against racism or oppression. Injustice exists now, so I must act now. To wait, to see activism or allyhood as a secondary priority, is to forget that the lack of urgency is a result […]

All People Are Created As Equal

Adam Rosen Ann Arbor, MI We can see in color, not black and white, but this doesn’t mean we should judge or be judged based on the color we see. I am a citizen of the world just like everyone else is. I believe that our citizenship of the world makes us equal and no […]

I am MORE than just WHITE.

Michael Petzak Ann Arbor, MI My whole life, the only bubble I can fill out is white. I am white in color but I am more than just a Caucasian. I am a Polish and Dutch American with great pride in my ancestry. I wish I was given the opportunity to identify with a group […]

Detroit 1967 riot division,decline… reconciliation?

Zachary Terzich Ann Arbor, MI After July, 1967’s race riots, my grandfather and thousands of other white families abandoned the once “Paris of the Midwest”, Detroit, MI for the safer suburbs. To this day the suburbs are stable and mostly white, while the city itself is in decay and almost entirely black. Good people on […]

Race. We aren’t in Kansas anymore.

Joe Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I feel like this phrase accurately describes my feelings towards race as well as that of the nation as a whole. My hometown is the opposite of diverse, and coming to Ann Arbor has truly opened my eyes to a world of diversity that I […]

Sterling Whites is my town’s nickname.

Jacob Barshaw Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan For my entire life I have lived in in a town called Sterling Heights. When I was in elementary school, close to 800 children went to my school. Only one was black. Until last year, not one black person owned a house in my […]

Be white, but not too white

Carissa Stouwie Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan My butt is very sun burnt, and not willingly. I am a ginger. I have white skin, some could even say translucent. I tan so that I can blend in, so that people don’t ask if I am albino, or if the carpet matches […]

“Mexican? Good joke, you’re clearly white.”

Alfredo Holguin Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Shorty Summary: I decided to choose these 6 words as my race card because this is something that I have heard A LOT since living in the US for the last 10 years of my life. Every time that I tell people that I […]

Emphasize color and become more blind.

Maddy Boylen Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Society keeps trying to move forward as a whole unit of colorblind people, however, continually talking about stereotyping and problems between races does not help. It only brings to light these problems and makes the seem more “normal.” We need to find solutions instead […]

In a bubble, then it popped.

Emily Laske Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I lived in a small city that was 94% white, with minimal exposure to the concepts of race and racism. Coming to the University of Michigan was an extreme sort of diversity culture shock for me, and through my courses I have gained knowledge […]

Where in this world is Trindia?

Anisha Nandi Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan “I’m half Trinidadian, half Indian; I was born in England but I grew up in New York.” They can wrap their heads around England and New York. They register half-Indian due to the caramel skin tone and dark hair. Yet, I can almost always […]

Racism: It’s worse than I thought.

Lisa Schlosberg Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan The facilitators of a race and ethnicity activity asked us to walk from one side of the hall to the other if we had ever been followed around in a store while shopping. The lone black girl of our group took a step forward, […]

Race is forever, prejudice is not

Sam Laurila Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I think there will always be names attributed to groups of similar looking people because humans naturally classify things. I don’t foresee us ever having a society where no one is distinguishable from another. However, prejudices based on race shouldn’t and don’t have to […]

The consequences of liking black guys.

Julie Naski Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan As a white female, I have found that it is easier to keep my mouth shut when it comes to my attraction to black guys. When I reveal this to people, I am most commonly met with a surprised reaction, and then asked with […]

I am not like the rest

Rabia Syed Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan These six words represent how I feel about myself when people make assumptions as to the kind of person that I am. Being brown and Muslim makes me easy to lump with a large number of people, whom I do not necessarily see myself […]

Keep an eye on that group

Maura Seleski Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Summary: These six words were commanded of me during my employment at a clothing store at my local mall almost daily. As I was folding clothes or working the cash register my manager would routinely call me over and whisper into my ear, “keep […]

Racism ends where race is unnoticed

Raoul Martin Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan “Racism ends where race is unnoticed” because people from the same race tend to form isolated groups and it is the fractionation of human that causes fear and hate. As a student in a university ethnically diverse, I often observe people from the same […]

Why Do I feel So Guilty?

Jessica Kornstein Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan After talking about diversity and race in our class, I have felt nothing but guilt when hearing about the inequalities and unfortunate circumstances of people of color or different races. I have become well aware that being white means being privileged. I feel guilty […]

Predominantly White Community; Michigan Changed Perspective

Steven Tobias Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I grew up in small, predominantly white community in Richland, MI. We did not have any diversity in our community and the first time I experienced this feeling of new culture and perspective was at the University of Michigan. Diversity flourishes here.

Race is fear of the unknown

Marissa Allegra ’16 Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan The human race is known throughout history to have segregated, alienated, and judged others on the basis of being different. Whether this deals with religion, country of origin, cultural choices, or most significantly, one’s race, we rely on pre-conceived notions of a person […]

I’m not seen as an individual.

Grace Sun Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Short summary: My accomplishments, achievements, hobbies, grades, ethics, etc… Almost all aspects of my life are attributed to my race: Asian. Everything I have ever done in my life is because I am Asian, not because I am me. Grace Sun University of Michigan, […]