I’m actively black, you’re passively white

Demarcus Robinson Park Forest, IL I’ve been thinking about how, as an African-American, I and other minorities actively think about out race as opposed to our Caucasian counterparts. It’s not that I’m thinking “I”m black, I’m black, I’m black” every second of the day, but I know that certain situations force the thought upon me, […]

African American but not black

Rewan, New York, NY. I’m 15 years old, and I live in New York. My parents were both born and raised in Egypt and moved here in the ’80s. Let me cut to the chase- I’ve been called white, Hispanic, “light skin,” but I consider my self Arabic, because Egyptians speak Arabic and is located […]

She’s White in a Black body….

Cooper Shell, Jackson, TN. She’s White in a Black Body….. That is what has ALWAYS been said to describe me—since I was at least 12 years old. My name is Cooper Shell, and I grew up in Choctaw County, MS. I hail from a blended family which is very typical in my town. I suppose […]

Good hair is well maintained hair.

Jessica Elaine Burks, San Diego, CA. I am Black, Irish, and Native American. My paternal grandmother had straight long hair. My maternal grandmother had 4c textured hair. All my life I believed the myth that “good hair and long hair” do not belong to black women with 4C textured hair. My friends and even family […]

I’m black, not from the Carribean

Lemuel Reddikc, New York City, NY. People ask me “where are you from?” and I never know how to answer that. I just say “I’m black,” but then they ask me where my parents are from. My maternal grandmother is from the West Indies and my maternal grandfather was from the Carribean, but I can’t […]

Mullet. Dashiki. Mom White. Step-dad Black.

Paco Romane, San Francisco, CA. I grew up in an all white racist small town, with a hispanic nickname (paco), a white mom, and a black step-dad who’s last name was White. It taught me a lot including I believe there are two different kinds of white people: those become “black” around black people and […]

Bad time for Blue; Always Black

Tim Wagner, Fairfield, CT Come from a conversation I was having with friends. One friend saying how it was a bad time to be a cop in the United States. My other friends, who is an ex-cop, said that was true. He then said, it has always been a bad time to be Black in […]

My children jumpstarted my racial identity.

Johnny, Concord, MA. As a gay Asian man married to a white man with two adopted children of color (one black, one Latino), I came to understand my own racial identity trough the experience of welcoming our two children into our family. It’s taught me that to really provide a strong racial identity for my […]

Three Strikes- Black, Deaf, and Female

La Toya Plummer, Greenbelt, MD. Although I have lived with three strikes for more than twenty years, the color of my skin always has been and always will be fundamental to who I am. When you are colorblind, you do not see me. Overlooking a portion of me that is susceptible to the brutal ignorance […]

All the Mexicans here are Black.

Jessica Laursen San Diego, CA to New Orleans, LA When moving from San Diego to New Orleans as a teenager I realized the jobs held predominantly by Mexican-Americans in Southern California were performed by African-Americans in the south. Jobs such as janitor, yard maintenance, cook. I began to realize how incredibly complex social “status” is. […]

Image portrayed, impression made. It DOES matter.

P. Contreras, Benicia, CA. How you choose to dress gives an impression about you. Whether that impression is accurate or not no one will know unless they get to know you. But, they won’t get to know you if your image repels them. Example. Teenage Boy (black, Hispanic, Asian, white) in your neighborhood in jeans […]

I changed countries, now I’m black

Kehinde Yemen I sat down at a store today in the middle of Mumbai and a cute little girl about two years old was walking by with her grandma. She took one look at me and refused to come any further. I smiled at her encouraging her to take the few extra steps but she […]

We aren’t all “Strong Black Women”

Ce Submitted via Twitter: @CelesteAurora Sunday March 11, 2012- 140 character exchanges spark a rich conversation… The Tweets that ignited the conversation… We aren’t all “Strong Black Women” @CelesteAurora     Has “strong” become a euphemism for “it doesn’t matter how we treat them because they’ll survive”? Pamela Upsher ‏ @PupsherLive   It seems so. […]

Not Member of Your White Club

Britt Verstegen, Socorro, NM. I grew up as a blonde, blue-eyed kid in an interracial family within a racially diverse neighborhood of inner-city Detroit. My step-father is Black and my sisters are biracial. Due to my family composition, I became aware of white privilege at an early age. For example, I knew in third grade […]

“Shonda?” No interview. “SK?” Wow, interview!

Shonda Kay Purvis, Green Cove Springs, FL. I have had to rebrand myself and change my name because “Shonda K. Purvis” (and her “BLACK” resume) doesn’t get job interviews, but SK Purvis (and “his” “WHITE” resume) does. (By the way, I am a Caucasian female. You thought I was black, didn’t you?)

Some Dogs Just Don’t Have Names

Glenn Richardson Wilmington, NC Every spring we would travel from Washington DC to Oktoc Mississippi to help my Dad work the cows. He had about 200 head to push through the mucky shoot to the cattle squeeze where they were tested for brucelllosis, wormed, weighed, pregnancy checked by an arm length plastic disposable glove to […]

1968. Black freshman roommate. Different planets.

Anne Lincoln, MA I was asked by Admissions if I would agree to having a black roommate. I said yes, but when she learned of the request (I never knew how), she was angry–at the school, and confusing to me, at me. From that moment on, there was only anger. I was naive and woefully […]

Her black smile I fondly remember

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 […]

You’re not like most black girls.

Felicia Oakmon, Autin, TX. This statement is a repeat offender. I am half black and half Mexican, but I wasn’t aware that ALL “black girls”,or ALL people are exactly the same. Instead of judging people by media, social networks,and what you have heard… take the time to have a conversation, take the time to listen […]

Confederate re-enactor chose intimidation as spoils

Lillian J. Hall, Dallas, TX. I was a freshman in college. I was sitting in the dining hall with a friend, near a window. It was “Texas Day”. The theme was obvious by the bails of hay, western-wear-clad employes and of course, barbecue on the menu. My friend and I were chatting, when all of […]

My black boyfriend’s not an athlete

Elizabeth S, USA. Is he on the basketball team? Does he play football? I’m white and in an interracial relationship. Whenever someone new sees a picture of us together that’s usually the first thing they ask. No, I’m sorry just because he is tall and black doesn’t mean he can dunk or played sports in […]

I’m not a person of color

Gabriella Grange, Plano, TX. Before coming to college, I always thought of myself as a black person. But when I got to college a few years ago, I heard people use the term “people of color” and it boggled me. Even though the term is used to foster solidarity, the term can be used to […]

Black and Beautiful with Breathtaking Strength

Sidni Sera Goodman, Wayne State, Eastpointe, MI Being black in America is more than just challenging. There are so many highs and so many lows. I dealt with one day feeling black and proud, seeing how other cultures love my culture, style, flair, music, etc., then other days, I see how my black brothers and […]

No offense BUT, what are you?

Francesca Sam-Sin, Katy, TX. “No offense BUT, what are you?” That’s usually how the conversation about my race begins. When I arrived in the U.S. in the 80’s I was really surprised by the emphasis on race. The first time someone asked what “race” I was, it took me a minute to understand exactly what […]

Lost in race as a mixed kid

Ninasophia Stowe, Riverside, CA I am mixed with Black, German and Mexican. Growing up I was very confused about what it meant to be mixed. I didn’t feel fully accepted by the Black community because I didn’t have enough black features, was called the “black friend” around white people and didn’t speak Spanish so felt […]

Black beat me up, I’m sorry

Mike, USA When I was a young child I lived in an area where there were no people of color. My family went to visit my grandparents and while I was playing I saw a kid who was black. I had never seen anyone that had skin color other than my own, at least not […]

Stereotypes are a result of laziness

Christal L, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Instead of getting to know people, some find it easier to put people into boxes. Black = bad. White = good. Mexican = illegal, etc. It’s sad. Get to know people. Skin color gives a hint to who a persons ancestors could have been. It says nothing about the […]

Veil, black, nationality, gender, food, proper names

Asmaa Benbaba, Auburn, AL. In more instances than one, the veil is considered as a symbol of subservience and exclusion by western media. As a result, a lot of people reproduce the same thoughts and behavior towards those women who choose the veil as an identity and refuse to think critically of the socio-cultural and […]

Our different skins hold one love.

Ty Martinez, Oak Lawn, IL. Black Mexican Korean Italian – sharing the best of each other with each other through similar yet very different cultural experiences. We amplify our togetherness by honoring our own mixed uniqueness.

White Jewish girl in a bubble

Emily Einhorn, Beachwood, OH. Whenever there is talk about racism, a part of me feels guilty. I have lived in a small suburb my entire life. In this town, people joke you’re either black, Jewish, or Asian. I have never witnessed a racist act and I feel as if I’ve missed out on being a […]

BLACK AND FAT WHICH WAS ENOUGH!

Shari L. Burgess, Wayne State, Detroit, MI How dare I be black and then choose to be fat. Elephant, Big Nose, Whispers and Out loud comments. At 58 tears still falling, still looking for the b in black to be beautiful and f in fat to be fabulous

Noir, Schwartze, Negredo – I Am Black

Courtney Jones, Denver, CO. People hide behind the stereotypes, racism, politics, and labels to avoid CONNECTING with others. Are we afraid people have more in common with us than we allow our differences to believe? My pride in my race contributes to my Life & community. It takes nothing from you & we all gain […]

Black Vietnamese. Speak spanish. Eat rice.

Hao Nguyen, Durham, NC. I wanted to say… Black Vietnamese. Speak english, spanish, vietnamese. Eat suong kho, pho, and corn dogs. Words that describe my mixed race/heritage children. Having to choose only 6 words, I had to put them in order of words that most describe them. Having to choose what comes first — black […]

Does her black baby doll offend?

Michelle Martini, USA. When it came time to choose my daughter’s first baby doll, there were only dark-skinned dolls left in the specific brand/style I wanted. Thinking it didn’t matter, I bought it. She has since chosen her own doll — also dark skinned. I’ve gotten a few comments. Most people seem to think we’re […]

East Europe substitutes Roma for Blacks

Harold Svignor, New York, NY. Humans inherently think in “Me up – You down” terms. We are innately tribal, and somewhat hostile to “the other”. That proclivity has created not only tribal strife, but war, sport, and many other human traits. It is universal and cannot be overcome….except by religious self denial. Non-caucasians have yet […]

To be young, gifted, and black.

Maynard Hearns, Santa Cruz, CA. The black story in america is very simple: we were slaves, and then we weren’t. We were never given freedom, or equality. When we begged for it, we were lied to. When we Marched on Washington and pleaded our case, we were shot in the back of the head. When […]

White skin is the best camouflage

C. Badour, MI. In America today, the best way to fly under the radar is to be white. Assumptions are made about blacks, asians, and hispanics based purely upon race, which cannot be said about whites. Non-whites seem to stick out in America, as if being white is considered a social norm and being non-white […]

Finally, a multi-racial option on applications.

James Duvall OUTSIDE USA For the longest time, I’ve always tried to put both my Latin side and my African American side towards the end of job applications. Sometimes they would make you choose one or the other. so when that happens I would alternate between Latino and Black. But now I can finally pick […]

Being Black and southern, educated engineer

Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. Calling me an Oreo or not really black, or basically a white girl means that you define some part of my personality, attitude, preferences, or demeanor as being owned and attributed solely to white people. Is it my intelligence, my sense of style, or how I speak? Is it because I’m […]

We’re just not understanding each other

Nancy Wilson Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation Misunderstanding is breaking my hopeful heart. I was robbed by a black man I’d smiled at on the street. I still smile at people on the street. But, I might hold my purse tighter. I was robbed by a black man I’d looked in the eyes […]

Who is your daughter’s father?

Itoko Richardson, Daly City, CA. I am Japanese and my husband is Black (he extremely dislikes to be called African-American). Our experience alone was interesting and filled with many racist, stereotype encounters and reactions. But my experience with my daughter is interesting. When I and my daughter are out, I can feel strangers’ wonder of […]

Interracial family: whites stare, blacks care.

Aurlyn Ellyse Wygle, Lewisville, TX. My husband and I are both caucasian. We have decided to make adoption our “plan A” and have a particular heart for children from hard places. This led us to become foster parents. As we parent these precious, beautiful brown babies we have noticed a trend. African American adults are […]

White, Black, Brown should not matter.

Jonathan Bennett, Forest, VA. The only problem is it does and to too many. America, the America I grew up in, was described as a melting pot where diversity was supposedly celebrated. Now I see that there was always a thin veneer of racism strewn throughout my childhood that still persists today, especially with this […]

I decide if I’m “black enough”.

Kelly Wickham, Springfield, IL. When I was born the white nurse told my mom that “mixed” wasn’t a category and she put “white” on my birth certificate, but my mother knew she’d be raising a child that the world would identify as black and she raised me as such.

I am who I am, ME!

Debra Rosenberg, Phoenix, AZ. I am the person I am meant to be, and proud to be a Jew even though growing up I knew what it was like to be “Black”. I had to overcome many obstacles of prejudices.

Black youth obligated to be intimidating

Brent Hixson Des Moines, IA Why is our culture so tied up in image? For a young Black or Latino to walk into a store with hood down and face fully exposed is perceived as weak. Actions must always portray power, in charge and make others around them uncomfortable and then ask the question why […]

Pride comes before the downfall, duh…

Courtney, Wyoming, MI. All this pride to be black, white, brown, American, whatever, just let it go. You didn’t put any work to be the color you are, or the country you were born, it just happened. You can love who you are or where you are from, outside of being prideful. I’m not certain […]

Successful, Black, Gay, a family’s shame…

Karim Ali, Columbus, OH. I suppose I have been pondering my Race Card (TM) entry for a few months. When I read the comments of Michael Sam’s father (Michael Sam Sr.) about his disappointment in his son for being gay, I was nearly in tears, as it reminded me of my own coming out with […]

If Obama’s only Black, everyone loses.

Lorna Dianne Stookey Fredericktown, MO It cut deep, the aftermath of the 2008 election. I woke up to find racism splashed across the front page: “We finally got one of OURS in the White House.” Whose “ours” was he? He’s multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multiracial! He’s European American and African American. He’s “Everyman.” Could have been […]

I will not yield to you.

James Michael Rogers Houston, TX I was at my neighborhood park one morning jogging, and I saw three white women walking abreast in one direction, and a black woman coming towards them in the opposite direction. The white women ignored the black woman and no one stepped back to let the black lady pass, and […]

Latin America has light-skinned racists too.

Patricia Linderman, Mexico. I’m the spouse of a US diplomat, and we have lived in four Latin American countries for a total of 11 years. We have sometimes seen strong discrimination and heard ugly remarks against people in these societies with darker skin color. It is definitely not just a U.S. and European problem. Besides […]

Breaking the stereotype black male nurse

Chris Porter Seattle, WA History and TV have provided many roles, mostly negative, for black males. Our society rarely sees black men in the role of care taker or nurse, providing nursing care and in the role of leader particularly in a female dominated profession. It has been my life’s mission to tear down that […]

Black grandma, White grandpa. That’s weird!

Val’Dionna P., San Francisco, CA. Throughout the years it has been a bit difficult to understand the many emotions and stereotypes being of color and mixed. It is important to understand that how one is raised growing up in a complex world that continues to critique someone on the features or melancholy of their skin […]

Racial Construct that won’t stop me

Leonard McReynolds, Atlanta, GA. I’m a black Puerto Rican who lives in the United States. At Times, it makes navigating race relations difficult, for everyone likes to put me in a box. Either I am not black enough because I speak Spanish, or not Puerto Rican enough because I am black. However, I will not […]

Black or white everyone uses tools

Ted Mittelstaedt, Portland, OR. I was born in 1966 and by age 13 I knew how to solder and by age 15 I was building electronic devices from schematics. By age 20 I had taken apart and put back together several different kinds of computers and written code in assembly language. I also have a […]

I am mixed-race gay man

Paul Avery, Chicago, IL. I am part Mexican and Black, live in Chicago, going to City Colleges, wish I could leave earth for a planet where gay men made up 80% of world population.

Even with diversity there’s White supremacy

Mike R., Midlothian, VA. My six words reflect the reality that even with the increasing diversity in the U.S. and the increased interactions across racial and ethnic lines, White supremacy still exists. I think many people naively assume that the increasing diversity will solve our racial problems. However, racial segregation still exists, under investment in […]

Not fully White, not fully Black

Anonymous, Columbus, OH. I am mixed race and have always felt in the middle in terms of race. “Legally” I am Black and more often than not experience the same benefits and determents as the Black side of my family. I have also had the misfortune of being mistreated by both races for being “light […]

I’m Diane. I’m Alaskan, and Black.

Diane, Fairbanksm, AK. Images of Alaska never show Black faces, but yet in Fairbanks, the state’s second largest city, the Black population is equal to that of Alaska Natives. We have been effectively erased from our own history and present day lives. I work with tourists and a day doesn’t go by when I don’t […]

I fell for the assimilation trap

Brian Roberts, Gaithersburg, MD. I am a middle-aged American black man. I thought that if I lived my life as a solid citizen, went to the right schools, secured a good career, raised a family, I would not only provide for my family, I would set an example that would make white people less frightened […]

Neither This or That, but Also

Rena Joy Dunbar, Eugene, OR. Our Black and White bi-racial identity was questioned even before we emerged from the womb. What ‘race’ would we turn out to be? Which ‘race’ would we choose? These questions and the dual nature of our identities continue to challenge perceptions.

I’m Black before I’m anything else.

Jan Miles, New Orleans, LA. I’m not a woman–I’m a BLACK woman. I’m not a writer–I’m a BLACK writer. In law school, I was a BLACK law student. If I kill my brother, it’s BLACK-on-black crime. Just as white privilege is societally applied (rather than being internally rooted), blackness is also applied by society. I […]

I’m black; I didn’t experience that.

Terri Davis, Cleveland, OH. I don’t discount the experiences of other black people, I just haven’t had the same encounters. Why do people think that I should have? I suppose I avoid confrontations by not doing things to draw attention to myself. I don’t pay attention to others who may be watching me and waiting […]

I’ll experience this, hopefully they don’t.

Takiyah L., Oakland, CA. If all it takes for me is to take on the burdens of intersectionality, just so my brother and sister, and future generations of Black and Brown youth will not have to experience that, then I am all down for the cause. I would not want them to endure such things, […]

No one knows unless I tell

Natasha Smith, Philadelphia, PA. I am white. I look white. I am white? Pale skin, red frizzy hair, littered with freckles. Often I am asked “Are you Irish?” The answer is “No…” and I wonder if it is the time to go into my family’s racial identity or my own struggles with my racial identity. […]

We assumed their father was black!

Melissa Weir, Trout Valley, IL. We like to think that we are like every other family, whatever that means. But questions like “are those your real kids” or “what happened to their real parents” make that impossible. Nonetheless we are a close, joyful, and fortunate family.

I Am Shattered Pieces Scattered Black

Lauren Anderson Kansas City, MO I’m not sure what I would consider myself. The only thing that I know is that I am brown-skinned, but light-skinned. Many believe I am mixed with another race or other race(s), but my parents are both Black. I’m not really sure what it means to be Black or where […]

Black clients funded our white flight.

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 […]

Mom said I never saw color.

Corrine Ferrell-Macatee, Baltimore, MD. Me, bad bangs, my best friend, little girl with braids, my cousin, cute little Japanese girl. My nana and sister are here too, it wasn’t til I was in my early teens I even realized we weren’t all white, black or Japanese.

I’m Black, But I’m Still Human

Timothy Jodi, Mountain View, CA. Being black or white doesn’t make us any different from others. We are all equal despite our color, gender, and ethnicity. I believe that we have the same equal rights no matter our race is. We are all human being.

In Rwanda they were all black.

Jan Ramer, Indianapolis, IN. I lived in Rwanda for 2.5 years, and got a small taste of what it is like to be in the racial minority. The larger lesson for me was that we humans can define “other” in many ways, not simply the color of our skin, and even more importantly, we CAN […]

The “quiet girl” in the back

Alyssa Banas, VA. Before I attended college, I was known as the “quiet girl” that sat in the back of the class. I loved meeting new people, but I just had a hard time communicating with people without being shy. My teachers always told me to participate in class because the ideas I wrote down […]