Mary Rodriguez, Carmichael, CA. True question asked of me by my very first crush. I remember this time vividly. I was in science class and across from me was the “love of my life”..it was 6th grade. I was really excited to work with him, and when he looked at his friend then back at […]
Anonymous, TX. Said a well travelled Black American female veteran to her biracial, trilingual, and dual citizen son. Behind her, in full agreement, stood her Eastern European Jewish husband. As madly in love as was at first sight, their relationship was taboo, condemned by family and friends alike. Now years later they faced their resultant […]
When I was younger, I always thought that race was real, I was surprised to find that it is not biologically real. Now that I know this I realized that some stereotypes I made about people are not true. I had always thought that if you looked one way then you were from a certain […]
Back when I was a kid, I used to wonder why or how people are different, why do we all have different races? When I was in preschool, my mom would always tell me not to play with kids that were bad. Those kids were black. She said that they were troublemakers, misbehaved, and that […]
R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer It has always confused me when people call others “white”, or “black”, because no one’s skin is “black”, or “white”. Besides, no one names their kids the color of their skin, so why do we call them that? In the past I have made myself […]
R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer Race and racism isn’t something I’ve had really any experiences with all my life. I don’t know anyone, I’ve never heard or seen anything before videos and everything with this project, and nothing has ever happened towards me. The only experiences I’ve had are from […]
Carrie Hunsinger, Wilmington, DE. I am a 1/2 first generation American. My Mother is American (Detroit) and my father is Dutch (Holland). He’s been here almost 60 years and he still speaks with a heavy Dutch accent and therefore I speak English with a bit of a Dutch accent. When 9/11 happened I was in […]
Keira Glover, England. I was sat on the train yesterday reading Tolkiens ‘Lord of the Rings’ when a black woman sat down next to me, she kept leaning over my shoulder so I assumed she was a fan and that she was reading along, I even slowed my pace to give her more time to […]
Jasmine Perry, Cleveland, OH. When it comes to race I honestly don’t know what I am. My families backdrop is kind of patchy, no one in my family knows, my grandma recently found out she was adopted she found out that she wasn’t related to anybody she grew up with. Which means the only clue […]
Audrey Lee Cho, USA. My parents immigrated to America in 1973, with my older brother Lee Wan Young and my sister, Lee Shin. I was named Audrey when I came along a couple years later, and our little brother Tom was born in 1978. My mother tells me they carefully watched American television, sitcoms and […]
Emily Bertot, Clarksville, MD. I grew up in Florida in an extremely non-diverse, middle-class area. Moving up North was a big culture shock, but it forced me to realize how many different types of people there are. I was also made aware of my privilege.
Nicole Valenzi, New Smyrna Beach, FL. My experience with race only started really when I entered public school. Until then, I can count on one hand the number of non-white people I interacted with. My mother told me part of the reason she took us out of our sheltered private school was because I pointed […]
Steve Hammond, Oberlin, OH. The first time I heard the phrase white privilege was at our dining room table. The kids were catching us up with their day at school and I was a bit surprised by something one of the kids had done that involved managing to never go to one of her classes […]
Nathan Krasniak, Moreno Valley, CA. As a young child, my parents instilled a solid work ethic and introduced me to setting goals. 18 years later I am so very thankful! Initially I wasn’t very receptive. I didn’t understand why my friends didn’t have chores and I had quite a bit of them. My parents would […]
Wanda Luna, Canada. Wanda Luna. 41 years old. Mestiza, Chilean born. When I was 4 while playing with my little brother I over heard my aunt say to my mom how bad she felt that I looked indigenous. Many in Chile still favor those with lighter skin and will self identify as white.
Bruce Flippens, Washington DC. I was told that by the first man who hired me when I left the Army. He hired me because of my military background, over the phone through several interviews.
Phillip T., Elk Grove, CA. Prior to going to school I didn’t know a lick of English. My parents spoke to me either in Cantonese or Vietnamese, but when I enter kindergarten I learned English for the first time. I don’t remember much of kindergarten, I don’t even remember her name. I was in E.S.L […]
Eli Russell, Austin, TX. As a writer, these six words are something I’ve said before. I lend it here to hopefully add to the growing conversation, to close the divide in the races, to open racist minds and to unite all Americans, all people across the world in peace. It is up to each generation […]
Anonymous, Sacramento, CA. I remember the time when we just moved here in the United States, we were called “beggars” by an old lady because of the way we dress. Coming from a country where lifestyle was just simple and plain affected our adjustment, and made it hard for us to adopt, especially the place […]
Tina S. Walther, Milan, MI. My mother was pregnant with me when she moved from upstate NY to the south in 1962. While the weather was nice the surroundings were challenging – especially for a white, woman, Catholic, with no accent and someone not willing to have a maid or gardener. So it was time […]
Brenda Becker, Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in a white Queens neighborhood where neighbors worried that “they” would “get in,” and the cool girls had straight sheets of hair. I was delighted to meet and make black friends at my all-girls Catholic high school. It was the 70s, and even as I struggled with my […]
John Stephens, New Market, VA. Many years ago, when I was a young man, I went to see the movie The Defiant Ones with Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier. The film was about two convicts who were both strident racists. They escaped from prison but they could not escape each other because they were shackled […]
Tiffany, Indianapolis, IN. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. But I grew up in the middle class suburbs. My schools were overwhelmingly white. Black was something you saw on the news, heard about from others or saw on Marta. I grew up in a neighborhood where ding dong ditch was called N-word Knocking. […]
Jessica Cooper, Glasgow, KY. The first time I met an African-American individual I was three years old. My mother and I were walking down an isle in the supermarket and I looked up to see a little girl with the prettiest hair. She had braids with beads and ponytails and I loved it. My three-year-old […]
Lance Bergstrom, Seattle, WA. Three Black guys attacked me and a friend one night. I got punched so hard I passed out and fell down. When I tried to tell the police that they were Black my friend told me not to say Black. Very bizarre night to say the least.
Marilyn Anne Kay Wimberley, TX The year was 1968. We were gathered in the formal dining hall of the sorority house, lit only by candles, for our sorority initiation. All white females dressed in matching white gowns. One of my sorority sisters commented, ‘we look just like the Klan.’ This was at the University of […]
Barbara Fought, Jamesville, NY. Faculty The most impacting cultural experience for me related to race was when in the 20s I lived in Detroit, a majority-black city.
Malaika, Suitland, MD. In 2014 I decided to move “down South” because I wanted to escape the higher cost of living (and the crazy, global-warming-induced snowstorms) of the Northeast. I thought moving down South would be a financially pragmatic, yet exciting, thing to do. I found a job down there making decent money and then […]
Susan Duncan, Bristol, NH. When I was in the fourth grade, my family moved from Concord, North Carolina, to Leaksville (now Eden), North Carolina. Our street, Patrick Street, was parallel to Henry Street and the dividing line between the “white” neighborhood and the black/African-American neighborhood. Our next door neighbor, Miss Mary, had a large yard […]
Sophia Leavitt, USA. I haven’t thought much about my race until talking about it in class. Now I realize that there is so much that I don’t know and so much I need to learn.
Amanda Perez, Washington, DC. This was said to me when I arrived for a job interview and they were meeting for the first time.
RuNett Nia Ebo, Philadelphia, PA. I was seven years old and had never heard the word before. Didn’t know what it meant but she made an ugly face when she said it. I knew it had to be bad.
Kim Floyde, Montrose, CO.
Jeremy Murray, Tuscaloosa, AL. Growing up my family moved around the country a lot. My brother and I had to attended many different schools but no matter where we were we always get told the same thing, “you don’t sound like you’re from here”, “you sound so proper”, and the my favorite one “y’all talk […]
Erin Thomas, Riverside, CA. In 1956, when I was in 4th grade (9-10 years old), we had a less-than-kind teacher, but you were taught to respect your teacher, no matter what. We were sitting in a circle on the floor having some kind of sharing session and the teacher had a boy, Dale, stand up […]
Mike Lynch, Madison, WI. I was the only white person at my girlfriend’s family reunion. Before I had a chance to introduce myself, her Great-Aunt asked me, “Are you the insurance salesman, dear?”
Kathy E. McCabe, Columbia, SC. Yes, these were the words running through my mind back in 1968, while standing outside amongst the rest of the junior high school student body. I watched with curiosity as the two black students made their way ever so cautiously off the school bus. Oh, we had been forewarned of […]
Karen Dahn, Athens, OH. I went to Liberia as a Peace Corps Volunteer right out of college in the late 60’s, after having grown up in Montana and gone to school in Colorado with very little exposure to non white people. Being in Africa was a life changing experience. I did not intend to do […]
Edward M Moriarty, Clearwater, FL. A profound change to my thinking of right and wrong, when a FRIEND was removed from a picture of my friends and myself that appeared in my hometown newspaper in 1959 rural Maryland.
Alma Scott-Buczak, Cliffside Park, NJ. I was in the first class of women to attend Lafayette College in Easton PA. It was also the first class to have a concentration of more than 20 students of color. Over the past 40 years I have often been asked to reflect on my experiences as one of […]
Kev Manning, Aptos Hills, CA. My experience has been– culturally, people with more southern (rural?) roots tend to be porch people (and employ languish-avoiding strategies), making them more outgoing, boisterous, and apt to loud outdoor partying, while feeling sorry for their quiet (near death?) neighbors; ….at the same time, people with more northern (urban?) roots […]
Candayshia Loyd, Flint, MI. Growing up I was taught to be a quiet and polite black woman. I had to take persecution from men and I had to do what they said. I’m not someones servant, im not a maid. I’m going to be your Black Women President one day.
Clara Silverstein, Boston, MA. As one of the white children in Richmond, Virginia in the 1970s whose family willingly participated in busing, I had few friends of any race. What we could have used at the time was leadership instead of racist rhetoric, white flight, and school administrators who cancelled all after-school activities. The possibility […]
Matthew Garcia, Salinas, CA. I’m African-American, my mother would have my stay at my baby sitters house after school while she was working. One day my mom picked me up from my baby sitters house but before we left my mom and the babysitter were having conversation. I was playing in the living room when […]
Johnson, USA. I am sick to death of people trying to pretend like there aren’t legitimate reasons for racism. Not always, but they are there. I was raised not to be racist and people say racism is a learned behavior…yeah…I learned it myself from being around blacks. Black people can’t see it like everyone else […]
Colby Finch, Eugene, OR. Im Colby Finch, 16 yrs old. I grew up in foster care, and in the system, I met a lot of people who were colored. I made a connection with another youth. His name was Devonte, and my foster parents at the time were uneasy about people of color. I brought […]
Consuelo, Stone Mountain, GA. This is because the two of the men in my life have dismissed me because I do not fit the ideals of what an ideal women should look like. Their spouses dismiss, disrespect my existence. My father and younger brother believe that white people are the epitome of all that is […]
Catherine Kehl, Cleveland Heights. OH. When we divide ourselves into “us” and “other” we don’t only lose the other, we lose ourselves. I was twenty-seven before I realized that my mother sometimes spoke to me in Spanish not because she’d picked some up in college before travelling in South America in her twenties, but because […]
Samuel C. Johnson, Keezletown, VA. I am a white man now 67 years of age. In May, 1968 (a month after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) I had just completed basic training in the Army in North Carolina, and was on my way to my home area near Philadelphia. I got off […]
Alli Minch, Veneta, OR. When we still lived in California and my biracial twins were very young, a woman stopped me in the store to comment on how cute they were, and asked me where I got them from, since she was interested in adopting. They’re my children, not a designer handbag you can order […]
Andrea Lopez, Sacramento, CA. When confronted with the question of whether or not I’ve experienced racism in my life, I always remember the first time I felt discriminated against. I was about twelve years old and I was meeting my best friend’s father for the first time. She moved to California from Georgia with her […]
Stephanie DeRoose, Baltimore, MD. During a service trip to Washington DC, I encountered many nice and talkative people while I walked the streets. I made a comment to another volunteer and her response was, “It’s because they’re black isn’t it?” I had never experienced such rude commentary and didn’t know what to say. My comment […]
Trey Willy Seale, AL I was small and white. Jenny was old and black. She took care of me when I was little when my great aunts that I lived with were away at work. I played with her grandchildren at our home there in the country. Together we would climb the high magnolias, explore […]
Ron Boose, Atlanta, GA. It wasn’t until 33 years after the first television was invented in 1927 that a black actor and actress were seen on television.
Bryant, Chandler, AZ. I was raised in a family that didn’t think about race. I didn’t connect that I was white and others were black. My family just didn’t think that way, I wasn’t raised to think about the color of someones skin. Only the merit of their actions. The shock that would stay with […]
Barry Watkins, Santa Rosa, CA. My mother took me back when she told me that. She was loving & guileless. She drove off the road when I told her I had Black roommates in SF, though I grew up in Beaumont, TX. I never thought of my roommates as “Black”, they were individuals – Ron […]
M C Antone, Ft Lauderdale, FL. In 1969 I told my parents that I would rather dance with the black kids at a high school dance. My father stated he did not want anyone calling his daughter a “n*****” lover. I retorted “I am and I’m proud of it” Then he struck me. I can […]
Amy D., Royal Oaks, CA. One night in San Francisco, when walking home from my car after a late work night, a man came toward me and tried to steal my purse. My immediate instinct was to resist and call out, hoping for some intervention from those living in the houses nearby. Ultimately he took […]
Steven J. Scott Los Angeles, CA
Leigh Marz, Kensington, CA. I remember visiting my grandma in Arkansas in the summer. She took my younger brother and I to a park so we could play with other children. But when we started to play with some African American kids on the monkey bars it was suddenly “time to go.”
Tunya Marie Loftis, Dallas, TX. I love who I am. I am the firstborn of my mother with four siblings under me. Strangely enough, when I was young, I didn’t know my Mom was white. She was my normal. She was just Mama. Who taught me how to read and color. She did my hair, […]
Colleen Schwab, Seattle, WA. I grew up in a very diverse area of CA where many children were first generation immigrants, and many children were of multi-racial backgrounds, mostly middle to lower class families. And my whole family has grown up with and around people from many different backgrounds. So I had no issue trying […]
Donna Monroe, Indianapolis, IN. It was the summer of 1957. I was riding on a train with my mother when I saw another little girl who was having her hair braided. She was crying. My heart went out to her because I cried when my mom tried to comb the tangles out of my hair.
Susan Crandall, Albuquerque, NM. I was infected with racism early breathing it in almost with my first breath. I was injected with racism early along with my immunizations, this one, though, making me prone to its infection, instead of immune. Although my mother tried to teach me otherwise, racism lives in the voice floating up […]
David Norwood, USA. (Not sure what the rule is on contractions 🙂 I first realized I wasn’t afraid of black people when I was in grad school in Denton TX. A friend and I had just been out at the clubs and were finishing the evening at Whataburger, as was typical in that place and […]
Sandra Durbin, San Diego, CA. It was hard. I was smart, black and female, 18 years old in 1966. I joined the U S Navy, because they promised me college. I give the govenment 3 years, and they give me four years of college. It was horrible. I was given a Captain’s Mast, at 8:30 […]
Jaden Miskowiec, Memphis, TN. I went to homecoming with my best friend, who happens to be black. One woman asked my mother if we were dating because she was concerned about our relationship. First time I experienced racial discrimination (though not the first time I had seen it).
Stan Sankey, Federal Way, WA. While liking all my black friends, many on the national scene are trouble makers. The country is more divided than in many years under Obama and Holder.
Leah Thomas Florissant, MO I grew up in Saint Louis, MO and I moved to a mainly white private school in the 5th grade. I was a “gifted student” according to my public school district and my parents struggled to give me a better education. As I got older, of dating age, I started to […]
Jesus Castro Menifee, CA California Baptist University CBU HIS311 I was born in Mexico and am the first person in my family to have a career with retirement benefits. Proud to be in this country and served in the Military. I now have a family and I am teaching my 2 year old son the […]
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, […]
Patti Bear Middletown, DE This was a exchange when I was in 5th grade, over a call in a kickball game. I know now what I was supposed to call my friend after she called me a cracker but I thought she was making fun of my white face with freckles so I responded with […]
Rosie W. Tucson, AZ When I was in the third grade in the sixties, my best friend and neighbor was Joyce, who was Japanese. She was wonderful. When my mother found out, she let me know, albeit gently and with compassion, that my father would be terribly hurt by my friendship because he had fought […]