Ken Prestwich, Worcester, MA. The Hiroshima family included my first friends growing up on a small farm just outside of LA (they had one too) in the early 50s — the parents, like so many where we lived, had been interred during the war. They were fine people; a second family to me (I am […]
Emily Carter, Needham, MA. I am un-mistakenly white. I have blonde hair, blue eyes, grew up in a neighbourhood full of other white people, and had teachers who were all white. I have an name that is unmistakably white and very easy to pronounce, yet in a classroom filled with children with difficult sounding, Chinese […]
Daniel Karanja, Marlborough, MA. My parents are immigrants from Kenya and I feel this better describes me than just “black”.
Marilyn Gardner, Boston, MA. Born in the United States, Grew up in Pakistan. Hold American passport. Birthed 5 kids on 3 continents. Now trying to make sense of a life in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Michelle C-H Dorchester , MA When I was a little kid, in the 70’s, My family was the only black folks most of the people around us had ever seen. Everyday in my elementary school I got some ignorant comment. “Are you brown cuz you eat brown bread?” and the like. The worst was from […]
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 […]
Bruce Hawkins, Northampton, MA. That doesn’t make me guilty, it makes me responsible. Prison is the new slavery, and the Drug War is modern slave-catching.
Samantha Charter, Phillipston, MA. My six words may seem a little odd until you hear the story behind them. I am white and my boyfriend is not. I grew up in a small predominantly white town and because of this the few non white families in town tended to stick out a little. No one […]
Jacquie Arnold, Hopkinton, MA. I was an A student at Key West High School when I graduated from Key West High School in 1981. While applying to top ranked colleges, my guidance counselor, Mrs. Adair, told me that Stanford University was not for students like me. I’m African American. I knew what she meant. I […]
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 […]
Dev Michel Luthra, Jamaica Plain, MA. I am the child of an Indian (Asian) father and a European mother, both of whom were raised in Africa. I have spent most of my life here in the US. My brother and children were born here. I still struggle with how entitled the white elite is in […]
Cassidy-Rae Bastarache, Gardner, MA I’m white and some people assume that I am privileged and have money based on some of the expensive things that I own and the vacations that I have taken. The truth is that my parents are hard working middle class people who work lots of overtime to give me and […]
Nicholas Howe, Northhampton, MA. Smith College I attended a mixed-race suburban public high school in Connecticut, where I competed on both the swim team and the track team in the late 80’s. Only one member of the swim team was African American, and his race was the elephant in the room that nobody would talk […]
Sarah Diggins, Berlin, MA. I’m almost entirely Irish by heritage (my dad’s side is 100%), but I never really clicked with the culture. I grew up loving Celtic music, looking at gorgeous landscapes of the Irish countryside, and hearing stories about my Irish cousins and ancestors from my grandparents. But when I went to live […]
Teresa, Boston, MA White is the new scapegoat
Terri, West Roxbury, MA Feels like a war happened, I woke up, and my country was taken over, and I have to behave by new standards or else
Yessica Guarin Arias, Boston, MA. Yes, I don’t have the same accent as the actors and actresses on TV. The reason to why is because they were born in a specific part of the country in which I am not from. However, people only hear these people speaking “Colombian Spanish”. When in reality Colombia has […]
LesleyAnn Moore, Boston, MA. Race is beautiful. Diversity fills the globe and allows freedom of expression through its inhabitants. We are born already filled with differences. Our color is our culture, ethnicity, and race. The world is a painter’s palette ready to disperse every shade imaginable. Once we recognize and become accepting of other colors, […]
Christopher Lee-Rodriguez, Boston, MA. We don’t live in a post-racial society. We live in a post-race society. We live in a country where in a short amount of time, there will no longer be a majority race. And race is continuing to be reshaped and redefined. I am half Chinese and half Puerto Rican. I […]
Juan Carlos Greater Boston, MA If you look at me… I look Latino. Not tall, dark features – hair, eyes, skin, wide nose, full lips. If you ask me, my ancestry is African, Incan, Iberian, and Jewish. Those are the ones I know of. I grew up in New England, attending a catholic school in […]
Joseph T Mullins, Beverly, MA
Dustin F. Hecker, Needham, MA. Identity politics will be the death of the grand American National experiment. In my humble opinion, we need to stop focusing on the 2% of our DNA that makes us look different than others and focus on the 98% of our DNA that makes us really quite similar. That does […]
Beatrice Goodman, Becket, MA. !n 1960 my Godfather, the artist David Burliuk once told me that ” soon everybody will be shades of tan – a good thing”. He was a Russian immigrant who painted (and saw) people differently.
Matt JP J, Tewksbury, MA. My grandmother’s father was from Puerto Rico and she never knew him very well. She grew up as Irish with her Irish half siblings. My grandmother likes to view herself as Italian and Irish, rather than sharing her Hispanic heritage with her children. This is due to feelings of abandonment. […]
Virginia, Cambridge, MA. I’m half Filipina. And I’ve always thought of myself as half. But one day at a faculty meeting a colleague told me I “passed” as white. It’s bothered me ever since.
Justin John Banks, Boston, MA. My ancestors were both Native and African American. The U.S. was molded by the labor of both of these brave peoples and although they shed blood and tears in the countries formation, they left their mark on U.S. soil forever.
Anonymous, Northampton, MA. He’s a white European, and has never considered black women to be attractive, apparently until he met me and we got to know each other. Since he is curious about interracial relationships, he’s often on youtube watching videos on black and white couples/babies/marriages. Yesterday, he proudly told me that he watched an […]
Katelyn Tsukada Northampton, MA My mother is of Irish and Italian heritage; my father of Japanese descent. Both of my parents were born in the United States as were their parents before them. Both consider themselves to be American as documented by their passports, drivers licenses and birth certificates. My mother and father speak English […]
Martín De Greiff, Winchester, MA. Just because I am hispanic, does not mean I should be working on your lawn… I was walking one day early in the morning after a run and I noticed some hispanic guys working on a lawn on a house with an odd machine. So I stopped and asked what […]
Annaleis Thibault, Bolton, MA. As a white, middle class american, I feel as though I owe reparations for the crimes committed by my ancestors.
Robert Markel, Charlestown, MA. Raised in a very white town in Chester County Pennsylvania, I had little consciousness of race issues until high school. We had one black student in my class, and he was the Salutatorian. At the end of our senior year at Archmere Academy, several members of the class went to lunch […]
Erin Seaton, West Newbury, MA. I have two great kids. They are smart and kind and thoughtful and sometimes they also fall apart. We are white, and one thing I am constantly conscious of is the fact that when my children do fall apart, in a doctor’s office or library or restaurant, no one is […]
John Connell, Boston, MA.
Beatriz McConnie Zapater, Jamaica Plain, MA. I am Puerto Rican with white, indigenous, Spanish, and African ancestry. When I hear that I do not look Puerto Rican, I ask the person, “How many Puerto Ricans do you know?”.
Jessica Goldhirsch Arlington, MA
Amanda Adams, MA. People don’t realize how deeply ingrained racism is in our country and in the whole world. We can’t ignore such a painful and divisive issue- instead, we must work to overcome people’s hate and ignorance so that we can truly start to judge people only by their character.
Alexia Prichard, Hudson, MA.
Jodiah Toney, Boston, MA.
SM Boston, MA When I was 22, I received my first speeding ticket, which I deserved as I was speeding. It was a speed trap on a major US highway on the way back to Boston. I accepted the ticket without contest, but since it was my first speeding violation I choose to appear in […]
Meryl Poku, Needham, MA. The most hurtful words said to me (white) about my biracial Jewish daughter.
Charles Hirsch Mount Washington, MA I had the wonderful opportunity to grow up in a multicultural community. I attended daycare sponsored by the Jewish Community Center, was a confirmed member of the Congregational church (United Church of Christ), I chose to enroll at Catholic Saint Michael’s college where I learned about Catholicism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. […]
Sam Kadish, Newton, MA. Race is incredibly important to our history. It should be a sidebar in our future. America is the great melting pot; too many people have stopped being proud of that. Race should add color to life; it should add life to culture. America will eventually fail if race remains the first […]
Joseph Palmieri, Framingham, MA. As a white male, I feel like I have been subject to a sort of stigma just like people of other races and genders have. Some may think that white men are relieved from a form of discrimination, but this is not the case. I have been told multiple times that […]
Peg Anderson, Westborough, MA. Mom came here after WWll from Newfoundland, Canada. When I was in the fifth grade she became a citizen. I used to quiz her while sitting on the front steps of our house.
Kelly Le, Chelsea, MA. Sometimes I feel like the only way I can feel beautiful is if a white person tells me I am.
Susanna Gourlay Wilbraham, MA This is a saying my dad taught me. I moved to the USA from Scotland and it was a phrase he told when I was talking to him about how sad it was that people get treated differently based on the color of their skin. The saying means, “We’re all God’s […]
Sergio R Velazquez, Lowell, MA. The label Latino bothers me, same as Hispanic. Both have colonial roots and do not properly represent any specific group or culture. This is why I always select OTHER and fill in Cuban. Just my five cents worth.
Gabby Mbeki, Boston, MA. In the fall of 1997, I started 6th grade at a day independent school in Connecticut. I grew up in a predominately West Indian neighborhood surrounded by faces like mine, but my father wanted me to have a more rigorous education. I entered the school being one of three students of […]
Melanie Gilbert, Boston, MA. Love who you are not what you are.
Kimberly, Pittsfield, MA. My father, whom I don’t know, is black and my mother is white. I was raised in a White, Irish family. Growing up, no one in my family looked like me, but I never noticed until ‘Roots’ premiered on TV. I had my son with a white man, so he is one […]
Robert Carroll Rogers Boston, MA I’m glad you’re doing this. Wounds this deep take honesty, imagination, and all our resources to heal.
Brandon Milardo, Somerville, MA. Me with my parents at graduation in 2012.
Kia Goodell, Hopkinton, MA. Both my parents are white, my mother being an earthy-crunchy liberal, and my father a stereotypical red-neck. Racist comments by him were frequent, and my mother, wanting to make sure I didn’t catch onto that gave me a black baby doll for Christmas when I was two. I opened the present […]
Livia Messenger, Northhampton, MA. Smith College Before I told you my grandmother was from Japan, I wasn’t Asian to you. I’m white. I don’t speak Japanese. I’ve never been to Japan, worn a kimono, or even met my Japanese relatives. I flunked out of calculus – but I suppose my “white side” was holding the […]
Adrian S. Bennett Bremerton, MA I am dedicated to Equality for all persons and the values that make up Diversity. As I journey through my career as an Equal Opportunity Adviser and an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist and Program Analyst, my hardest realization has been that some people will always see me as an oppressor… […]
India Mallory, Dorchester, MA.
Robert Dokes Beverly, MA Maybe it’s the way I present myself, but sometimes people forget that I’m Black. It’s not they are colorblind it’s just they’ve got so comfortable with me being around that people feel they can say anything around me and believe it’s okay
Adrian Headley, Roslindale, MA. Thanks for the wall!
Michael Boyle, Newtonville, MA. If you haven’t read it, read the essay by Peggy McIntosh: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Niall Musonda, Elliott City, MD. My dad’s from Zambia, my mom’s from Massachusetts. A little black, half white, more black, less white. IDK, you tell me?
Meghan, Boston, MA. Right after my mother picked me up from my high school freshman orientation she told me that the Asian and Black girls I was talking to, “Only want to be friends with you because you are white,” and that I need to make sure I talked to more white girls. My best […]
Tess Aaronson, Worcester, MA. I am a race that is not connected to a skin color. Races and cultures are not defined by an individual identifier, but by multiple shadowy characteristics that stereotype. One or many, no matter the amount of signifiers, lines have been drawn for me: who I am and who I am […]
Sally Sampson Watertown, MA http://www.chopchopmag.org/
Avery, Chicopee, MA. I’m white, but many of my friends growing up were children of color. I always thought that we were treated the same because nobody was overtly racist. Then I started educating myself and learned about concepts like dog-whistling and microaggressions. I was stunned to realize that I had been totally wrong the […]
Vishwa Dhuleshia, Shrewsberry, MA. I started Kindergarten knowing how to say only two things in Enlgish: “my name is Vishwa” and “I have to go to the bathroom.” I spent the first 3 years of Elementary school going to ESL classes while my classmates took spelling classes. Those few years I had to face the […]
Amal Nazeem, Shrewsbury, MA. My parents are Muslims from Southern India. Growing up, I had many friends from all over India. They were mostly Hindu and they only knew other Indians to be Hindu. When I told them that my parents were from India, they thought I wasn’t a true Indian. I might have been […]
Jasmine VanExel, Northampton, MA. Smith College
Sierra McGeoghegan, Weymouth, MA. Growing up and even now I am always denied my Mexican heritage by lots of people of all races. I am Irish + Mexican and a few other races. My family treated my Hispanic blood as a taboo, the Latinos I knew as a child rejected me once I shared I […]
Laurence Barry North Attleboro, MA The above is a reference to our double-standard justice system.
Yvette T. Waters, Boston, MA. Diversity is the strength we share for reaching common goals and moving forward. This is the key to the true democracy of our beautiful country.
Moassia Bede, Boston, MA.
Jada Golden Sherman, Boston, MA. I’m so frustrated with people’s limited understanding and acceptance of genetics, and upbringing. The labels ‘white’ and ‘black’ are over-generalized. Especially when now that we have dark parents having white-looking babies, and white-looking parents having brown babies. Not all white people are…white, nor “white-minded”.My mother’s family is African-American, and many […]
Kyle Glasper Houghton, MA Everything I feel I learn in sociology is telling me that as a black male, life has doomed me to the pits. A third of us have been incarcerated or will be and the half of the rest won’t ever go to college. It’s been this way for a while now […]
Liz Pryor, Northampton, MA. Smith College. My mother was white. So was her whole family. After my husband, who is white, proposed, my grandmother cornered my cousin and asked “Does he know about Elizabeth?” My cousin asked back, “Does he know what?” and my grandmother answered, “That she’s Black.”
Annie Berman, Northhampton, MA. Smith College This is what it means to be a good ally. It is not POC’s job to be the only ones constantly asserting that their lives matter. Silence can be a powerful tool of resistance and empowerment, but not when white people who think race does not concern them choose […]
Renee Sumby, Washington, DC. Thanks Michele for an amazing keynote at Society for Human Resource Management’s Diversity & Inclusion Conference in Boston last week. People are still talking!
Laura Reeder, Boston, MA. I teach teachers. I am a teacher. I am exhausted by the confusion that we perpetuate about who deserves to learn and who needs to be schooled.
Canary Lee Burton, Wellfleet, MA. It’s hard to read to hard core hate messages, hopefully they will stay around long enough to learn something.
Nobody’s daughter, Boston, MA. It’s simple, really: Anything over 50% is a majority. Therefore, being 25% black (one black grandparent) does not equal “being black”. I say this because I’m fed up of being told I’m crazy, or getting looks because I’m 25% black AND IDENTIFY AS WHITE. Guess what? My kids are white; I’m […]
Ngan Ly, Boston, MA. I’m Vietnamese.
Natalie Rossi Canton, MA I am 50% Irish, 50% Italian, and 100% Chinese. I am adopted, I live with a white American family. I am Asian and when we went to Flushing NY and I looked at the building beside me and saw all the Asians, I could not find myself. there was a sea […]
Ann-Mary Spellman, Norwood, MA. Dear Michele, Thank you for your wonderful presentation at Boston College and for signing my book. A book that I will treasure forever and refer to for strength as I move forward in my career as a woman, in a mostly male environment. Thank you for the love and connectedness you […]
Josh Staveley-O’Carroll, Natick, MA. I teach at the college level (in Massachusetts, Virginia, South Carolina, and Washington, DC) and consistently my black students are in the bottom half of my class in terms of grades. This effect is especially pronounced in my black male students.
Kristy Luk, Cambridge, MA. I am an Asian-American woman, and my racial identity is not to be used as a weapon of oppression against other people of color. My story, and that of my immigrant parents’, will not be held up as examples of how “some folks can make it, if they try hard enough.”
Josephine Kim, Cambridge, MA. When it comes to race, we need our eyes to hear and our ears to see.
Tom DiMartino, Boston, MA. I had the immense pleasure of listening to Michele speak today in Boston, and the topic of adoption touched me personally. I am a white man with two adopted black sons who mean more to me than anything in this world. The topic is touchy and Michele’s comments on it were […]
Claire Berman Boston, MA I am a white woman and didn’t begin to understand my racial identity until I was in my late twenties. The more I learn about racism and its intersection with other systems of oppression, the more I realize how little I know and how far we have to go. So now […]
Roberta Smith, Boston, MA. During the conversation, once the white guy spoke about self responsibility a lot of black people were visibly upset and I feel, most black people in the audience stopped listening because they were “offended”. The black rapper basically encouraged black people NOT to get involved in government. What if Obama felt […]
J. L. Woodward-Lyons Boston, MA
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 […]
Sara Bee Boston, MA I have been passing as “white” most of my life–on the phone. People of all stripes seem to have misconceptions about what black people sound like, if their reactions to me in person are any indication. This happens especially at job interviews or when I go to see an apartment. One […]
Shaun Boston, MA Why is it that blacks can have their own history month, their own channels, their own scholarships, their own culture…but when i take pride in being white i am “racist”. If i were to say there should be a white television channel that would be “unfair”. If i said whites deserved scholarships […]
Carlos Hoyt, Andover, MA. We entered this cognitive predicament only a few centuries ago, but have since, like the hapless fly, found it impossible to extricate ourselves and have come to regard it as eternal and inescapable.
John Butterworth Boston, MA My mother has just graduated from nursing school in Boston and moved to Maryland in the mid ’50’s with my dad, who was in the Army at the time. Mom found a job at a nearby city hospital in the maternity ward. Mom placed a beautiful newborn in the front row […]